WELS Daily Devotions

Devotion - December 19, 2014

10 hours 31 mi

Hymn of the Week

The humble heart and lowly God raises up on high;
Beneath his feet in terror The haughty soul shall lie.
The heart sincere and right, That heeds God’s invitation
And makes true preparation—It is the Lord’s delight.

Prepare my heart, Lord Jesus; Turn not from me aside,
And help me to receive you This blessed Adventtide.
From stall and manger low Come now to dwell within me;
I’ll sing your praises gladly And forth your glory show.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 14, verses 3 and 4)

Prepare for Jesus with a Humble Heart

Valentin Thilo, a German Lutheran university professor, penned this hymn at the height of the Thirty Years’ War when Germany was ravaged by violence and disease. One historian surmised that Thilo was thinking of his sister, the wife of a Lutheran pastor, who died of disease in 1639. It was thought that he was describing her humble and gentle character. He uses language that echoes the song of Mary, another woman of humble and gentle character. “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble” (Luke 1:52).

A humble heart is a heart prepared for Jesus’ coming. If we are full of pride in our own accomplishments, if we imagine we can hold on to the supposedly “good” things we have done as a way to be right with God, we will be sorely disappointed. We get disappointed in ourselves because our best efforts always fall short.

During this Advent season, as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ coming in the Bethlehem manger, we also pray for Jesus to prepare us for his coming into our hearts through his Word. He prepares us by knocking down our pride and giving us a humble and gentle spirit which acknowledges, “I need help. I need a savior. I need Jesus.” He then lifts us up with his good news that he has taken away our sins by his coming to earth as our Savior. He forgives our sins because he paid the full price on the cross.

During the busyness of these weeks of holiday preparation, take a few moments to remember what Christmas is all about. God became man to be our Savior. Jesus came to fulfill promises. He came to bring forgiveness, hope, and life to lost, hopeless, dying sinners. Those who are proud don’t see the need for Jesus. They ignore Jesus’ work and Jesus’ Word. Instead, pray for a humble heart, a gentle heart, a heart that relishes and rejoices in the humble, gentle Savior born in Bethlehem.

Prayer: 

Prepare my heart, Lord Jesus; Turn not from me aside,
And help me to receive you This blessed Adventtide.
From stall and manger low Come now to dwell within me;
I’ll sing your praises gladly And forth your glory show.

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

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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

Devotion - December 19, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 18, 2014

Thu, Dec 18, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Arise, O Christian people! Prepare yourselves today.
Prepare to greet the Savior, Who takes your sins away.
To us by grace alone The truth and light was given;
The promised Lord from heaven To all the world is shown.

Prepare the way before him; Prepare for him the best.
Cast out what would offend him, This great, this heav’nly guest.
Make straight, make plain the way: The lowly valleys raising,
The heights of pride abasing, His path all even lay.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 14, verses 1 and 2)

Prepare for Jesus by Putting Away Sinful Pride

The month (or two) before Christmas is full of preparations: decorating, baking, cooking, shopping, wrapping. Usually our preparations involve getting things ready for others or for some event. But how much time do we devote to preparing ourselves for what Christmas is really all about?

The Advent season, the four weeks before Christmas, is about preparing for Jesus’ coming (the word “advent” means “coming”). We review how God prepared his people of old by giving them promises of the Savior to come.  He also prepared the people of Jesus’ day through the preaching of John the Baptist. John’s mission was to get the people into a spiritual mindset for a spiritual Savior because they were distracted by secular concerns or their own ideas of how they were pleasing God.

What gets in our way of hearing Jesus’ message and receiving Jesus’ saving work? On the one hand, we might get obsessed by the concerns and worries of this world. On the other hand, we fall into thinking that we can please God by what we do. The result is thinking that I don’t need Jesus. I’m just fine on my own. I’m a pretty good person. Why should I pay attention to Jesus? These mountains of sinful pride need to be levelled off.

Preparing for Jesus starts with taking a long look at myself and realizing just how much I need Jesus. Am I perfect in every thought, word and action? Do I really love God with my whole heart, soul, and mind all the time? Do I freely forgive? Do I always put the interests of others ahead of my own? I’m not so fine on my own.

That’s why I need Jesus. And so do you. He came to this earth “to take your sins away.” He does this completely by grace alone, a love which we do not and cannot deserve or earn. As soon as we start thinking that we deserve God’s love, we need to level off those feelings of sinful pride, to “cast out what would offend him,” and to look to “the promised Lord from heaven.”

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, through your Word, help me to pull down the mountains of my sinful pride as I prepare for your coming. Lead me to look to you who takes my sins away. Amen.

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

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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

Devotion - December 18, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 17, 2014

Wed, Dec 17, 2014

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.

Isaiah 61:10


Every year as Christmas approached, my mom would take me and my two brothers shopping for Christmas clothes. She insisted that we had to look our best for the Christmas Eve service and for pictures afterward. And so each year Dad and Mom would drag three unhappy boys to some department store for an evening of trying on clothes. And the best or worst part of it, depending on your perspective, was that all three of us had to match. We usually ended up with identical or very similar outfits.

Do you have your Christmas clothes picked out this year? What about your spiritual clothes? Our Savior is going to return soon and he will take back to heaven with him only those in the most pristine white garments. What kind of clothes have you picked out for yourself today? Are you wearing the ugly robes of shame and guilt over the sins of last night? Perhaps you have chosen for yourself darker garments of jealousy and anger. Could it be that your clothes are permanently stained by the repetitive sins of greed or lust or worry? Maybe you are sure that your clothes look really pretty clean compared to those around you, but they smell of pride and arrogance. Mom always said we should look our best for Christmas, but our best isn’t good enough for heaven and it never will be. Our sin-stained clothes are only good for the eternal incinerator in hell.

As you prepare to celebrate Christmas, give thanks that Christ has provided new clothing for you. God’s Word says: “For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.” Through his suffering and death on the cross, Christ has taken away our sin-stained garments and removed them from us. Through his perfect life in our place Christ has earned our forgiveness and salvation. Jesus has taken his robe of righteousness and wrapped it around us. In Christ, you and I are dressed for heaven. Give thanks to Jesus for your Christmas clothes—his garments of salvation which he has won for you.

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, thank you for earning salvation for me through your life and death in my place. Help me to always appreciate what you have done for me. Help me to live as you have clothed me—as a forgiven and righteous child of God. 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 - December 17, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 16, 2014

Tue, Dec 16, 2014

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Some Final Encouragement before Christmas

Christmas is right around the corner. Only a few days left to get ready. Some of the final verses of 1 Thessalonians serve as good encouragement for the final days leading up to Christmas and really for any day of your life.

For many, the Christmas blues are a real issue. Winter weather, hectic schedules, social pressures, missing loved ones who are gone or live far away, and other family issues that seem to get magnified this time of year. For Christians though, this time of year should be one of the most joyful if our focus is right. Cherish the message that comes from God’s Word. Wrapped in that message are the most beautiful of Christmas presents, bought by Christ and carried to us by the Holy Spirit. The message prepares you for the real Christmas and for the real joy that God wants you to have in Christmas. It is the joy of peace with God even when conscience accuses. Don’t despise the preaching of that message as though it were old news not worthy of hearing again and again.

Test all the customs of Christmas in your heart and home, and hold fast to those that focus on Christ. Shun the evil that many pass off as Christmas Spirit. True Christmas Spirit is the joy of holiness in God’s sight because of sin washed away by Jesus. It is the joy of knowing that God is faithful and will not leave us or forsake us no matter what happens to us in this life. It is the joy of knowing that as we get ready to celebrate again the birth of the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, we don’t need to be afraid that he is coming back again on Judgment Day. That day is right around the corner, but through faith in our Savior Jesus we are prepared and can look forward to an eternal future in heaven. God will not disappoint or fail to keep his Word!

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, keep me focused on the true joy of Christmas–your Son, my Savior–Jesus. Help me to celebrate this gift at this time of year and always. 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 - December 16, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 15, 2014

Mon, Dec 15, 2014

Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

John 1:19-27

Proper Perspective Provides Perfect Christmas Preparation

For most of us, Christmas preparations are in full swing. Although preparing for Christmas can be hectic, it can also be an exciting and enjoyable task—smelling Christmas cookies as you bake them, trimming the tree, smiling as you find just the right gift for that special someone.

The Lord knows all about preparing. Over and over in the Old Testament he prepared his people for the eventual arrival of their Deliverer—the One he would send to rescue them from their sins and restore their relationship with their Maker. Just before Jesus began preaching and teaching, the Lord sent a special man to prepare people for Jesus’ arrival on the scene. We know this man as John the Baptist.

The reason John was such an expert at preparing people for Jesus is that John had proper perspective on things. John said that he was not even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. This was not false modesty. John knew exactly where he stood with God. John knew he had offended God with his sins. John knew that he desperately needed someone to rescue him from those sins. So, when Jesus arrived, John was relieved and thankful and thrilled.

Do you want to be properly prepared to celebrate Christmas? Baking cookies and trimming the tree and shopping ‘till you drop are all fine and fun. But, to be TRULY prepared, adopt the proper perspective of John. See yourself as the unworthy sinner you are. See your Savior as the One who loves you still. Then, like John, you will be relieved and thankful and thrilled when you see your Savior arrive.

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, I know that, like John, I am not worthy to even untie your sandals. But I also know that this is why you were born in Bethlehem. I know that through your perfect life and innocent death you have washed away my sins and made me worthy in God’s sight. Thank you. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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

Devotion - December 15, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 12, 2014

Fri, Dec 12, 2014

Hymn of the Week

We hail you as our Savior, Lord,
Our refuge and our great reward.
Without your grace we waste away
Like flow'rs that wither and decay.

Stretch forth your hand, our health restore,
And lift us up to fall no more.
Oh, make your face on us to shine,
And fill the world with love divine.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 16, verses 3 and 4)

On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry

I recently watched a news story about a young woman who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. She was a member of her high school’s track team, but she didn’t let her disease deter her from running. However, when she ran, the rise in body temperature caused her to lose feeling in her legs and feet. In spite of the odds, she became the best runner in her division by her senior year.

What touched me the most about the story was the role that her coach played. At the end of every race, he was ready to catch her as she collapsed at the finish line. As she cried, “Help me,” he would carry her off the field. Once in a safe place, he made sure that she had enough water and ice to reduce her body temperature quickly.

What a beautiful picture of our compassionate God. David is right when he sings, “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:2,3). If science never finds a cure for your ailment, if your disease ends in death, if you are never able to overcome completely the sin which weakens you, you still have the victory through your Lord Jesus Christ.

In baptism, the Holy Spirit gives you the ultimate preventative medicine from the wasting disease of guilt. He saves you by connecting you to the once-for-all, penalty-paying death and the resurrection of Jesus. In Christ, no one in heaven or hell can condemn you. The Holy Spirit continues to work through that good news message of Jesus Christ. He lifts you up after you have fallen, stretching his hand over you to heal your hurt with the balm of his forgiveness. Because of Christ, God will always look favorably on those who trust in him, filling your soul with his grace.

Prayer: 

All praise to you, eternal Son,
Whose advent has our freedom won,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Spirit evermore. Amen.

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

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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

Devotion - December 12, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 11, 2014

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

Hymn of the Week

On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Come, then, and listen, for he brings
Good news about the King of kings.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 16, verses 1,2,5)

On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry

Long before online blogs and viral video, nightly news and morning newspapers, people got the day’s updates from the town-crier.

John the Baptist was the wilderness-crier. Rich and poor traveled from every direction, over narrow mountain paths, through the Judean desert to the banks of the Jordan River to hear him. Some may have come merely because of his strange wardrobe or his diet of honey-dipped locusts, but all stayed to hear his message: “Get ready for the coming King!” It was joyous news, but not everyone was glad to hear it.

Jesus is coming! How do we receive that happy news? Are we among those doing the mad dash and grab, because their eyes and ears find greater joy in holiday savings? Or, do we gladly give our attention to the voice of the One and Only who matters, and prepare ourselves accordingly?

Then cleansed be ev'ry life from sin
And furnished for a guest within,
And let us all our hearts prepare
For Christ to come and enter there.

When company comes for Christmas, you spend the time wisely before their arrival. You clean the house well ahead of time and keep on top of the dust and clutter right up until the doorbell rings. But you also make sure that you are well-rested for that day.

Now is the time to get excited in preparing for our Lord’s return. Dust away the cobwebs from your Bible and brush up on what it says about your Savior. Discard the sin that clutters your life and the skeletons hiding in your heart so that nothing can bar Jesus from entering. Open the blinds on the windows of your mind so the warm light of God’s love can flood in. And get some rest through the forgiveness and righteousness which come through faith in Christ Jesus. 

Jesus is coming! The hard work has been completed by him already. He has paid for your sins by his death. And he lives that you may live with him. That is great news. Receive it with joy!

Prayer: 

All praise to you, eternal Son,
Whose advent has our freedom won,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Spirit evermore. Amen.

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

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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

Devotion - December 11, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 10, 2014

Wed, Dec 10, 2014

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.

Isaiah 40:1,2


The POW labor camp wore him down day after day. How long would the warfare continue? How long before he returned home? Would his hard service ever end?

And then the day finally came. What comfort to hear the war had ended! What comfort to hear he was headed home! What comfort to be in the embrace of his family again!

Sin took the world prisoner, including our own heart and soul. Sin drove us. How much must we do to make up for our wrongs? How hard must we labor to make things right?

We could elevate the peaks of our pride by convincing ourselves that our best efforts will get us through. We could trust in the advancements of humanity to eventually smooth out the world's problems. We could face the harsh meaninglessness of life and simply live for the thrill of each day until we sink into the depths and just want it all to end.

Don't follow those paths, dear friend. Yes, our lives dry up like grass and even our greatest glories are like flowers that wither in the wind. But one thing does last. One thing remains sure and certain: “The word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

What does God’s word say? “Your sin has been paid for.” That's why God the Son came into this world. He became flesh and blood to pay the price that we cannot pay. His blood is holy, for Jesus never sinned. He blood is precious, for it is the blood of God. And that's the price he paid for you: his holy, precious blood.

What comfort! No matter what you face in this life, cling to the word of your God, cling to his tender words of comfort. He has paid the ultimate price for you and me. The glory our God has prepared for us far outweighs our present suffering. He is the Shepherd who carries us in his arms to take us home. What comfort!

Prayer: 

O Lord Jesus, prepare my heart to rejoice in the comfort your word brings. 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 - December 10, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 9, 2014

Tue, Dec 09, 2014

[The Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

Pivot Point

How long has it been since you’ve sat down to watch a movie version of A Christmas Carol—the story of Ebenezer Scrooge? If it’s been a while, find one and watch it.

As you do, think about your own life. Even though Ebenezer Scrooge seems like an extreme case of self-absorption, there’s plenty in his life that can hit a nerve. Recall that he receives visits from three Christmas spirits. The Spirit of Christmas Past replays for Ebenezer how his selfishness has ruined past relationships. The Spirit of Christmas Present reveals to Ebenezer that others have suffered because of his thoughtlessness. And the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come shows him a dark future where his death raises mere apathy from others, his life a sad waste. As you view these scenes and think about your own life, you may well wince—not just for Ebenezer, but for how you have failed others in your own life.

Throughout most of the story, Ebenezer just feels pain and regret for what he has done and what he has failed to do. Only towards the end of his final encounter with the last Christmas spirit does he have a pivot point—a change of heart. And the one thing that brings about that change of heart is hope. He realizes that the dark future he witnessed is not what will happen, but what may happen if nothing changes.

Which brings us to your life and mine. Hope has entered our lives too. The hope we possess, however, is far greater than anything described in a Dickens novel. Our hope is Jesus Christ. And because it is Jesus who has entered our lives, the hope we have is not just some indefinite possibility that our futures might change for the better. Rather, Jesus turns our hope into a firm, solid expectation. He lived a life of perfect faithfulness on our behalf. He suffered and died for every moment in which we have failed others. And now he lives. He lives to cleanse us of our sins. He lives to refresh us in his Holy Spirit. He lives to empower us by his gospel.

Because of Jesus, you and I have a pivot point every day. To him we run in repentance. In him we savor his forgiveness. For him we live by seeking to touch the lives of others.

Fictitious ghosts won’t give us a change of heart, but Jesus does.  Thanks be to God for the hope that we have in him!

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, bring me to repentance every day. Forgive my sins. Nurture my zeal to touch the lives of others for 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 - December 9, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 8, 2014

Mon, Dec 08, 2014

The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Mark 1:1

The Beginning

There are some phrases used in the Bible which can quickly catch my attention.  One of those is "in the beginning."  These are the very first words of the very first book of the Bible, and they explain how everything came to be.  Similar words are used by Mark, but not in the context of creation.  They are used to signal the beginning of God's work to rescue the lost.

Prior to the coming of Jesus into the world, God used promises to guide his people.  He also used many visual helps which included a system of sacrifices.  As people faithfully listened to the promises and offered their sacrifices, they expressed their trust in the Lord and what he would do for them.

Mark's record of the life of Jesus signals a dramatic change.  He shifts the believer's focus away from the sacrifices and promises to their fulfillment.  Mark announced the coming of Jesus and the good news of God's forgiveness and peace.  It wasn't that the assurance of forgiveness and peace didn't exist prior to Jesus' coming, but now there was no mistaking what God had begun.  Today, I need to rely on this precious proclamation to address my sin and guilt.

Where do I look when my guilt gnaws at me?  Where do I look when my conscience is seared by the blazing testimony of God's justice?  Where do I look when my self-earned goodness leads only to despair?  There is only one answer, and it is Jesus.

This is the answer Mark provides and proclaims.  His words are the call to look at what God has done.  With his Gospel account he reveals what Jesus did from the beginning of his earthly ministry to the end of it.  He reveals Jesus’ humble coming and his faithfulness to his Father's will.  He reveals Jesus’ powerful acts of love and unsurpassed words of compassion.  He also reveals Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection.  This is the good news I long to hear, and desperately need to hear.

The beginning.  These are very specific words and very descriptive words.  The beginning of the gospel of Jesus is the beginning of my hope, my comfort, and my peace with God.  It is also the beginning of my confidence of life in heaven.

Prayer: 

O dearest Lord, I thank you for sending Jesus into the world to be the Savior of all, and I thank you for revealing him to me as my Savior.  Give me the faith I need to trust him in all things for this life and for the life 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 - December 8, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 5, 2014

Fri, Dec 05, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God
Was the Word of God made flesh,
Woman’s offspring, pure and fresh.

Wondrous birth!  O wondrous Child
Of the virgin undefiled,
Though by all the world disowned,
Yet to be in heav’n enthroned.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 2, verses 2 and 3)

After Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord promised Eve that one of her offspring would be the Savior. But the Savior had to be perfect, and all of Eve’s offspring were born sinful. How could the Lord keep his promise?

He chose a woman, Mary, sinful from birth, a descendant of Eve, to be the mother of the Savior. Before she had sexual relations with a man, the Holy Spirit placed a baby into her womb. Mary was the mother of the baby, so the baby was human. God the Holy Spirit acted in the role of father, so the baby was divine. He did not come from a union of flesh and blood, so he was not born sinful. He was pure and fresh.

And he never sinned. He always thought the right thing, he always said the right thing, and he always did the right thing. He refrained from doing everything he was supposed to refrain from doing. You would think that he would have been popular, but people hated him. He was a threat to the established order. When he came under attack, people disowned him. In the end, as he suffered the pains of death, he was separated even from his Father in heaven.

Only sinful people die. Jesus did not sin, so when he died, he declared that his death counted for the sins of the whole world. It is absolutely wondrous and wonderful. Jesus the Savior is the name that is above every name. He sits enthroned in heaven, and he will return. He is coming soon.

Prayer: 

Savior of the nations, come;
Virgin’s Son, make here your home. Amen.

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

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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

Devotion - December 5, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 4, 2014

Thu, Dec 04, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Savior of the nations, come;
Virgin’s Son, make here your home,
Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.

From the Father’s throne he came
And ascended to the same,
Captive leading death and hell—
High the song of triumph swell!
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 2, verses 1, 4 and 5)

It’s very clear that people want Christmas to come. Stores have been decorated for Christmas for nearly a month already. Christmas music has begun to play, and there are lots of plans for Christmas get-togethers.

It is not so clear that people want Christ himself to come. Maybe his presence would ruin the party, since he would expect certain behaviors that don’t seem as fun to us as what we usually want to do.

But Christians call on him to come. We know that he calls us to repentance, but we also know that he brings what we need the most, forgiveness of sins. He earned that by coming as a true human being, starting out as a baby. We marvel that he chose to come that way, but we understand that it was an important part of being the Savior of people from every nation.

He could have stayed in heaven, never taking on human flesh. But he came anyway, suffered and died to take the punishment for our sins, and defeated both death and hell. Then he ascended into heaven.

We call on Christ to return for Judgment Day. We call on him to come into our hearts by the preaching of the Word and by the sacraments. We call on him to come into the hearts of everyone who do not believe that he is their Savior.

Prayer: 

Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.  Amen.

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

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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

Devotion - December 4, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 3, 2014

Wed, Dec 03, 2014

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Isaiah 64:1


The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said; ‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to men!’”

Undoubtedly, each of us has shared those feelings at some point. Death rips away a loved one. Family strife spoils holiday festivities. Conflict at work leaves us bitter. Even remote world events can suddenly shatter our peace.

We call out to God, “Rend the heavens, O Lord, and come down. Put an end to the hatred and wickedness. ‘Come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you’ (Isaiah 64:2).”

But where would that leave you and me? If the Holy One lays bare our hearts and exposes every thought, attitude, motive, and emotion, how could we endure his coming?

For you see, “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6). If wrong shall fail and right prevail, where does that leave sinners like you and me?

All human ingenuity and effort leaves only false hope or despair. Instead, we join Isaiah and say to the Lord God, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).

And what did our God do? He rent the heavens and came down, but not in power and glory. He came as a little baby. The Father sent his Son to become one of us. Jesus is Emmanuel, “God with us.” He carried our filth to the cross. There the Lord of glory died for you and me. Who could have ever imagined that? But God has revealed it through his Word. The Father raised his Son from the dead so that we may believe that Jesus is the Lord our Savior.

Jesus wore our filthy rags. Through faith in him we have his clean clothes, his right record. Clothed with his righteousness, we wait for him. He will rend the heavens once more, this time in power and glory. He will destroy this present world and bring us who are waiting for him into his new creation.

Prayer: 

O Savior, keep me ever faithful and patient until you rend the heavens and come down. 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 - December 3, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 2, 2014

Tue, Dec 02, 2014

[The Lord Jesus Christ] will keep you strong to the end…

1 Corinthians 1:8

Strong to the End

By the summer of 1805, a man by the name of Lewis had had enough. For well over a year, he and his partner, William Clark, had been leading several dozen men across the western half of the United States. No American had ever explored this territory. Over the past year they had encountered all kinds of unexpected setbacks, brutal difficulties, exhausting stress. And over the past several weeks they had been struggling through an entire range of mountains until their energy level was gone.

But now the worst was over, Lewis thought. Climbing ahead of his men, he was about to reach the top of the highest mountain pass. As he did, he had every reason to believe that when he reached the top and looked beyond, he would see only gentle, descending slopes leading all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

But when he got there, he received the shock of his life. As he stood on the top of that pass and looked beyond, he saw more mountains. Many more. Mountains as far as he could see.

Has that ever been you? Perhaps that is you right now. Perhaps you have been struggling through mountains of difficulty only to look beyond and see more mountains. Maybe it’s the frantic crises at work that never seem to stop. Maybe it’s the financial troubles that never seem to end. Maybe it’s the cancer treatments that just keep coming. Maybe it’s the family member who keeps breaking your heart. Maybe it’s a fear of loneliness that stretches as far as your eye can see.

But as you stand there and look at those mountains, there’s something else for you to see. It’s Jesus. He’s not beyond those mountains. He’s right by your side. He is not some distant Sunday School story. He is your living Lord, your best Friend. For all the times you have doubted him, he has washed you clean in his blood. For all the times you’ve been afraid, he has been your Champion. For all the times you’ve been weak, he has been your Strength.

Lewis and his men completed their journey. You will too. You will because Jesus, your Savior, walks beside you. He will keep you strong. He will keep you strong to the end.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, as I view the mountains I have yet to climb, help me to see that you’re right by my side. Deliver me from my fears. Be my Strength. 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 - December 2, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - December 1, 2014

Mon, Dec 01, 2014

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come - whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone, 'Watch!'"

Mark 13:35-37

Keep a Careful Watch

John was a night watchman. Although many people teased him about his job, he took it very seriously. He carefully watched the video monitors, and when the time came, he diligently made his rounds checking all the doors.

After ten years of service, the president of the company called him into his office. There he openly praised John for his untiring diligence. During those ten years there were no break-ins, thefts, or vandalism. Not only did John receive an award for his faithful service, he also received a bonus and a raise. When asked to say something, all John could muster was, "I was only doing my job." John's story needs to be my story.

Jesus has given me a clear command. He warns me to keep a careful watch. So, my first priority is to be ready for the day of his return whenever it may come. This means being prepared in the evening, at midnight, or at dawn.

The only way I can be ready and keep a careful watch is through the working of Jesus' precious gifts. Through his undeserved love and promises I am refreshed every day. I am always ready for the next challenge. Through his never-failing strength and presence I am renewed. I can persevere through every confrontation. Through his unconditional promises and forgiveness I am reconciled. I can live with the confidence nothing will every separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Savior.

Yes, it can be challenging to keep a careful watch and always be ready. The devil constantly seeks to distract me, tempt me, and lead me into a false sense of security. Jesus, on the other hand, is always there to overcome the devil’s deceitful devices. Because of Jesus’ ever-present help and strength, I can live with confidence and courage. I can also keep a careful watch for his return.

Prayer: 

O precious Savior, your Word tells me you will return in glory. Although you do not reveal when, you do tell me to be ready. Bless me through your rich grace so that I not only rejoice in your coming, but that I live every day keeping a careful watch. 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 - December 1, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 28, 2014

Fri, Nov 28, 2014

Hymn of the Week

The joy of all who dwell above, the joy of all below
To whom he manifests his love and grants his name to know.

To them the cross, with all its shame, with all its grace, is giv’n;
Their name, an everlasting name; their joy, the joy of heav’n.

They suffer with their Lord below; they reign with him above,
Their profit and their joy, to know the myst’ry of his love.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 217, verses 3-5)

Follow the Leader

Maybe you played the game “Follow the Leader” when you were younger. It’s pretty simple. One person is chosen as the leader. Then everyone who is playing has to mimic exactly what the leader does and go where the leader goes.

In the same way, in our Christian lives we follow the leader, Jesus. He is the source of tremendous joy and comfort in our lives, because in following Jesus, we follow our Savior who loves us so much that he suffered and gave his life on the cross for us. He’ll never lead us in the wrong way. But following Jesus also means that we will follow him in suffering. He told his disciples in Mark 8, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” For some Christians that has meant giving up their very lives rather than turn away from their Savior. For others, the suffering is less severe, but it is suffering nonetheless. Some believers follow Jesus even though that will mean that others may think less of them or stop associating with them altogether. For still others following Jesus may mean being ridiculed or called names.

So why follow Jesus if it means suffering? Because Jesus said to those who suffer for following him, “Be faithful to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). His head was once crowned with thorns. Now Jesus wears a crown of glory as he reigns in heaven. In the same way, to his people who wear the thorns of suffering now, he promises for them the crown of everlasting life in heaven.
 
Jesus, our Savior, is our leader, and he calls us to follow him from cross to crown.

Prayer: 

Help me follow you, dear Savior, through the suffering of life now to the glory of the life you have prepared for me in heaven.  Amen.

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

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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

Devotion - November 28, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 27, 2014

Thu, Nov 27, 2014

Hymn of the Week

The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned in glory now;
A royal diadem adorns the mighty victor’s brow.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 217, verses 1,2,6)

The King of Kings for You

History is full of them: emperors and kings whose rule and authority were absolute. If you were to go back through the thousands of years of recorded history, you would find that the old saying rings true, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. There are many examples of such rulers in our world today as well. They thirst for even more power, more influence and more wealth—all at the expense of the people under their tyrannical reign.

So would you like to live under the rule of a king whose power and authority are absolute? “No” might understandably be our initial answer. But consider another king, a king under whose rule we already live.

This King is none other than Jesus, and he is different. His concern isn’t for himself. It’s for us. He set aside his glory as the Son of God and came to earth to save us from sin and death. His head was crowned with thorns, his body nailed to a cross and he suffered the anguish of hell so that all our sins would be forgiven.

And now Jesus sits on the throne in heaven, as the Bible says, “…far above all rule and authority, power and dominion” (Ephesians 1:21). He truly is King of kings and Lord of lords, ruling over everything in this world. Yet he doesn’t rule over us for the sake of his own power or prestige. His concern is still for us. Every event in this world from the great to the small he bends so that they fit with his will to bring his believers to heaven. And so we sing with joy…

Prayer: 

The highest place that heav’n affords is his, is his by right,
The King of kings and Lord of lords and heav’n’s eternal light.

The cross he bore is life and health, though shame and death to him;
His people’s hope, his people’s wealth, their everlasting theme.

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

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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

Devotion - November 27, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 26, 2014

Wed, Nov 26, 2014

“ ‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. … I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.’”

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23-24

God’s Own Shepherd

Would you trust someone who was totally incompetent to work for you or with you? Would you give them total control? Probably not. The worldly proverb says, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!” While we aren’t here to debate if such a statement is in line with Christian humility, there is at least this truth in the proverb: “If I do something myself, it will be done to my standards!”

When God observed his people in Ezekiel’s time, he saw leaders, shepherds, who weren’t cutting it. He had entrusted to them the care of his chosen, dearly loved people. He had entrusted their spiritual lives to them, and they were failing their people and failing God. They refused to lead in the way that God wanted them to, but rather they led the people to follow after their own desires and to seek their own definition of happiness.

Too often we act like sheep without a shepherd. Though God places shepherds all around us, though he shepherds us with his Word, too often we follow our own noses and chase after our own desires. Like those shepherds of old, we deserve to be shoved aside. We deserve to lose our place in God’s flock and our place in this world.  We deserve to suffer and to die for our sins.

But God doesn’t treat us the way our wanderings deserve. God says: “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.” In fact, in these eight verses, he says I (or my) 16 times. “I will do it. I will fix it. I will make it right!” says the Lord. God wanted it done right, so he did it himself.

“I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them.” God sends a Shepherd-King. He sends David. David was a great King, but he was dead for 400 years when these words were written. The Shepherd-King that God would send was a descendant of David. This is Jesus, God’s Own Shepherd.

Jesus shepherded us as he laid down his life to protect his sheep from sin and death. He died so that we could live. And even now he rules and reigns, guards and guides, in this life and even through the valley of the shadow of death. Safe in his care he leads us, from this world into the green pastures of everlasting life in heaven.

Rejoice!  It’s a good thing to have Jesus as our Shepherd and King!

Prayer: 

Thank you, Lord God, for making Jesus our Shepherd-King. We praise you for securing our salvation and shepherding us in this world and for promising us the green pastures of heavenly peace. In the name of our Shepherd-King we pray, 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 - November 26, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 25, 2014

Tue, Nov 25, 2014

For [Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26


Are you worried about the right things?

We can worry about so many things! Putting food on the table, paying the bills, staying safe from crime, not getting Ebola, net neutrality, passing the math test, taking care of elderly parents, meeting with the lawyer, not falling off the ladder, and on and on.

Are we worrying about the right things?

A good friend of mine is dying from cancer. Can you guess what he’s worried about? He’s worried that his wife doesn’t know where all the financial information is. He wants to make sure that before he dies, she knows what bills to pay and where the funds are. He is not worried at all about dying–or what happens after death–or facing God to be judged–or where God will send him for all eternity. My friend is not worried because he knows Jesus has conquered death.

In 1 Corinthians 15, a missionary called Paul wrote that Jesus rose from the dead and will raise us from the dead. In verses 25 & 26, Paul promised that Jesus will quietly rule this world until it becomes obvious on the Last Day that all his enemies must obey him.  The last enemy on Jesus’ destruction list is death.

My friend knows that he will die in the next few months. He knows Jesus will wake him from the dead to be judged. You might think my friend would be terrified because he has done a lot of bad things in his life. His Christian faith did not make him immune to being selfish, stubborn, thinking poorly of others, wanting his own way. God should condemn him for his sins.

But my friend is not worried. He knows Jesus sacrificed himself to wash away all sins. So my friend knows God will approve of him. My friend knows God will welcome him into heaven. My friend knows that he will live forever and ever in the joys and glories of being with Jesus. My friend knows Jesus has conquered death for him.

My friend is not worried about dying or judgment. Jesus has given him the peace of sins forgiven and eternal life guaranteed.

Jesus has done the same for you!

Prayer: 

Jesus, don’t let me worry about death. Remind me every day that you have forgiven all my sins. Remind me also that if you have conquered death for me, then I don’t need to worry about anything at all!  Thank you, Jesus! 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 - November 25, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 24, 2014

Mon, Nov 24, 2014

Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Matthew 27:27-31


Children raised on fast food sit in front of a home-cooked meal. They stare at the chicken breast and baked potato and ask: “What is it?” The only potatoes they’ve known are cut and deep-fried. And, as far as they know, chicken only comes in the form of patties, nuggets and fingers.

Sometimes we get such a strong and wrong picture of what something should be that we don’t even recognize the REAL THING when it’s sitting right in front of our face.

What does a king look like? The people of Jesus’ day “knew” that a king looked like the rulers of their day. They figured a king must always appear rich, powerful and honored. When they saw Jesus, they did not see a wealthy or powerful or respected man. They reacted wrongly and sinfully heaped abuse on Jesus with their cruel words and angry fists.

We dishonor Jesus, our King, too, but with quite different tactics. We call Jesus our King (you may be singing that in a Christmas song or two soon.) But how often have we let our lives or circumstances mock the rich grace and unlimited power of our King? When it comes to following our King, do we chose our whims and worries instead of our King’s commands and promises? We chose lust instead of purity; cursing instead of prayer and blessing; coveting instead of contentment. We chose worry instead of trust; fear instead of faith; hate instead of love.

Thank God that Jesus chose to be our King by his love and work on our behalf. In today’s section from God’s Word, Matthew tells us that Jesus did what only our REAL King could do. He allowed himself to be dishonored because our sin dishonored God. Jesus allowed himself to be mocked, beaten and doomed to death because that’s what we deserved. Only our real King could step in and do this perfectly in our place. Only his death could lift the death penalty that hung over our heads.  This is what our REAL King looks like.

You know your real King. Don’t let imposters sit on the throne of your heart. No matter the temptations, the hardships, the uncertainties and the suffering you face, they are not your king. They are imposters. You have a king–the Real King–Jesus!

When temptations and suffering flood into your life, Jesus may seem distant, weak or uncaring. But remember, you’ve seen this before. When Jesus stood on trial, he did not look like the REAL King. Even as Jesus suffered and died, he was our all-powerful, gracious God. Jesus’ death and resurrection give us forgiveness, eternal life and peace. Your King promises you power for living for him, and his constant care and presence in your life now. Only your Real King could give such great gifts. When you see Jesus, you see your REAL KING.

Prayer: 

Jesus, you are my King. In love for me, you did what no king should have to do–you suffered and died for a rebellious servant like me. Thank you for your forgiveness and care. Fill me with your love and faithfulness so that I always serve and honor 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 - November 24, 2014 --Daily Devotion