WELS Daily Devotions

No Condemnation – March 28, 2017

11 hours 38 mi

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

No Condemnation
Daily Devotion – March 28, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 8:1
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170328dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Sin deserves condemnation. And not only does sin deserve condemnation, sin gets condemnation. From the biggest of sins to the smallest of them, any thought, word, deed, or attitude that does not measure up to our holy God’s perfect standards deserves and gets condemnation.

As we take an inventory of our lives—examining all our thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes—there’s no question about it. We fail to live up to God’s perfect standards. Ask yourself, “How often have I failed to defend the reputation of a friend? How often have I lashed out in anger at one who hasn’t been very nice to me? How often have I harbored attitudes of greed or lust or resentment or jealousy in my heart? How often have I…”

When honestly we must say “at least once” to any of those questions, we are faced with the reality that we are guilty of sin before our holy God. In fact, because even the best efforts we can muster in our lives are stained with sinfulness, there’s no way around it. We are guilty of sin before our holy God. And our sin deserves condemnation.

So, does that mean we will get condemnation? After all, not only does sin deserve condemnation, sin gets condemnation.

Focus on what God says: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

These words of God are not a misprint. They’re not a lie designed to distract us from the reality of the punishment our sins deserve. These words are God’s truth: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

These words are truth because of the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came into this world to carry our sins. He came into this world to carry our sins to the cross. And as Jesus died on that cross, he paid for our sins with his life.

So, do our sins get condemnation? Yes, they do. But praise be to God, we do not get the condemnation our sins deserve, because Jesus Christ already took our condemnation upon himself. He has paid the price for our sins, and no payment will ever need to be made again.

That’s why “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you carried our sins to your cross and took the punishment we deserved for them upon yourself. Free from the fear of condemnation, lead us to live in ways that reflect the peace and joy we now have in you. Amen.

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

Where Do I Fit In? – March 27, 2017

Mon, Mar 27, 2017

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:24-28

Where Do I Fit In?
Daily Devotion – March 27, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 20:24-28
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170327dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Where do I fit in? It’s a question we’re always asking ourselves.

When we were younger we learned through trial and error, mostly. Maybe we tried our hand at sports or music. Perhaps our energy was spent making grades or friends.

As we mature, we begin to gain some perspective, but we still don’t escape that haunting question. As the stakes grow higher, we’re still fighting for the same old things really—respect, appreciation, and recognition.

For people like us—who are aching to know where we fit in—the disciples’ bickering sounds all too familiar. Salome, the mother of James and John, asked Jesus for her sons to receive a special place of honor. When the other ten disciples heard about it, they were furious. The ten weren’t disappointed by the selfishness of these two brothers—they were mad because they coveted the exact same thing. Throughout human history, power struggles just like this have led to civil wars and divided companies, pulled friends apart and even split families up.

Jesus recognizes why the disciples were thinking this way—and why we do too! He compares their struggle to political power plays among the Gentile rulers. This is how the world operates. That’s why there’s no real peace or security. That’s why people grow suspicious and cynical. Over time, nearly everyone else is seen as some sort of threat.

But God has a better way. He recognizes what the power plays are really about—security, satisfaction, peace. Jesus came in an astonishing way to obtain for us what we crave. God’s Son did not come to be served. He did not come to exert his power and authority. He came to be a servant. Jesus lived humbly and died sacrificially so that you and I can have security, satisfaction, and peace. When God gives us these wonderful gifts through his Son, the rest of life falls into place perfectly.

In Christ, we see where we fit in. We are a part of God’s family—eternally beloved. Jesus assures us that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him and that he flexes his muscles to do what is in our eternal interest.

This frees us up to try our hand at better things. We don’t have to fight for honor or respect or appreciation because we already have them in God. The old haunting question has been cast aside. No longer do we wonder: Where do I fit in? Now we ask: How can I help?

Prayer:
God of all grace, I often feel the pressure to prove myself and to fight for respect. Calm my troubled heart with the gift of your Holy Spirit. Assure me of your abiding and unconditional love and empower me to serve others selflessly. To you alone be the glory. Amen.

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

A Father’s Reckless Love – March 26, 2017

Sun, Mar 26, 2017

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’”
Luke 15:11-21

A Father’s Reckless Love
Daily Devotion – March 26, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 15:11-21
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170326dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Could you imagine what this man’s neighbors might have said? “Parents just don’t raise their kids like they used to. First the boy runs off with the inheritance, and now dad’s running out to welcome him? I tell ya, if that were my kid it would be a whole different story. He’d have to come crawling back on his knees. I’d tell him quite frankly, ‘You blew it! The shame you have brought on this family, you don’t even deserve to stand on my doorstep.’ Maybe, just maybe, if he straightened his life out, stopped partying, and showed up for work every day, I’d think about letting him live in the old shack down by the gate. But to welcome him back like that? Never!”

The love of this father goes far beyond what we would expect. It is reckless, maybe even foolish. But that’s how God loves us. He loved us even though we were dead in our transgressions and sins. He sent his one and only Son to die for us while we were still sinners. Why? Because he was filled with compassion for us. His love goes far beyond anything we could expect or imagine.

This reminds us that we can always return to our heavenly Father. Whether we have been living in open rebellion like the lost son, or we have been rebelling with secret sins that lurk deep within our hearts, we can always say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you,” and be confident that God in his grace will run to us with his arms wide open.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to see that your love is so boundless that it accepts even me. Lead me to repent of the sins in my life and to commit myself to you. Through Jesus my Savior, I pray. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Praise the God of Our Salvation – March 25, 2017

Sat, Mar 25, 2017

In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song: he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name: make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.”
Isaiah 12:1-5

Praise the God of Our Salvation
Daily Devotion – March 25, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 12:1-5
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170325dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but there are some things for which even a picture is not good enough. When your new born child squeezes your finger for the first time, how can you put that feeling into words? Can that even be captured with a picture? When the doctor says, “Your cancer is gone,” is there any way to describe that feeling? What Isaiah is trying to explain in our devotion today is even more difficult to put into words. He is a sinner standing in the presence of a righteous God. He knows that he deserves God’s anger and punishment. But something startling happens. God turns away his anger. Instead of punishing him, God rescues him.

Of course, Isaiah is talking about what God does for us in Jesus Christ. Jesus came and rescued us by paying for our sin. Jesus bore the punishment for our sin, and now instead of facing God’s anger, we have full forgiveness and life everlasting. How does one express the amazing relief of that enormous load being lifted off? How does one express the sheer joy of that forgiveness?

Expressing heartfelt thanks to God for his salvation is what Isaiah is doing here. You can almost see him running up and down the streets, leaping for joy, trying to tell people how it feels to be saved. Fear is gone, only trust remains. The Lord is the true strength of his life and the song in his heart. God sustains him with the living water which he draws from the well of salvation. So he gives thanks to the Lord by singing his praises and proclaiming the good news of salvation to everyone.

Isaiah is expressing his gladness over all the glorious things that the Lord has graciously done for him. Listen to Isaiah shouting and singing for joy, and join him in praising the God of your salvation.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 242)
Oh, that I had a thousand voices to praise my God with thousand tongues!
My heart, which in the Lord rejoices, would then proclaim in grateful songs
To all, wherever I might be, what great things God has done for me.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Fortified – March 24, 2017

Fri, Mar 24, 2017

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Fortified
Daily Devotion – March 24, 2017

Devotion based on Joshua 1:9
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170324dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

It is reported that the fortification of food began in the 1920’s as a way to address nutritional deficiencies. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines “fortified” as the addition of vitamins and minerals to a food product that were not originally in the food. To this day, breakfast cereal boxes shout out, “Fortified!”

As strong in faith as Joshua was, he had his human “deficiencies.” God was promoting him from leader of Israel’s army and aide to Moses to be Moses’ successor! His assignment: Lead the Israelites across the Jordan River to take possession of the land promised by God to Abraham. The Canaanite cities were large, walled, and inhabited by powerful, warlike people. Joshua needed to be “strong and courageous.” He needed to be “fortified.”

How about you? Each of us needs to be fortified to deal with life’s battles, fears and discouragements. What fortification does God offer you? “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” he promised Joshua. In the New Testament, Jesus, the Son of God, who has saved you from what your sins deserve, and promises you an eternal home in the “Promised Land” of heaven, says to all his followers: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). In the New Testament book of Hebrews, the writer quotes God and the conclusion drawn by the psalmist: “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

God promises you his divine presence and providence (that is, his intervening and providing), plus guardian angels. He gives you the Holy Scriptures “which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The Bible’s inspired truth fits you to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-16)

Yes, you have deficiencies. Yes, you have sins to confess. But trusting in Jesus you have full and free forgiveness. Day by day you will be “fortified” by the presence and Gospel promises of your loving God. Shout out your confidence, “I am fortified!”

Prayer:
(Psalm 46:1):
Lord God, you are my “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in March reflect on Truths for Today.

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

Not Having It Your Way – March 23, 2017

Thu, Mar 23, 2017

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
Romans 15:1-3

Not Having It Your Way
Daily Devotion – March 23, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 15:1-3
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170323dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Have it your way.” For over 40 years, Burger King encouraged us to order food the way we want it. It was perhaps a catchy slogan, but Burger King was by no means the only voice in our culture telling us to make ourselves happy. Our society is all about instant, self-gratification. On a daily basis we are bombarded with messages and commercials and slogans, all encouraging us to take care of ourselves first and to make ourselves happy.

Sadly, our quest to please ourselves often involves hurting or neglecting others along the way. When we are in me-first mode, we are generally oblivious to the needs and concerns and feelings of others. We jump in line first. We make others wait. We fail to help those who need it. We vent about our problems but give little attention to the problems of others. Having it our way often means we fail to show Christian love and service to the people God has placed in our lives specifically so we can serve them. We are so sinfully selfish. The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans chapter 15 that this is not right. Selfish living is not God-pleasing living. Truthfully, it deserves God’s eternal punishment.

There is a better way. Paul writes, “Even Christ did not please himself.” It’s remarkable to look at Jesus’ life and see the way he was so selfless. Jesus did not live his life to please himself. But it would have been so easy! When he was hungry in the wilderness, he could have instantly produced food for himself, rather than trust in his heavenly Father to provide. When he was in the upper room, instead of serving the disciples and taking care of them so well, he could have made the disciples wash his feet and wait on him hand and foot. And when Good Friday rolled around, he could have insisted that all his followers die instead of him. But instead, he willingly put us first and died on the cross to take our sins away. Jesus did not make his life all about himself. Rather, his life and death were all about us. Because he was so selfless, you and I are forgiven and saved and on the way to heaven through faith in him.

Let the selfless love of Jesus motivate you to be different. Out of love for Jesus, don’t try so hard to have it your way. Rather, as Paul says, “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for living such a selfless life for me and for willingly giving that life on the cross in my place. Motivate me with your love today to put others first and to serve them as you have served me. Amen.


The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in March reflect on Truths for Today.

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

Hear and See – March 22, 2017

Wed, Mar 22, 2017

“For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. But those who trust in idols, who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame. Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see! Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD? You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.” It pleased the LORD for the sake of his righteousness to make his law great and glorious.
Isaiah 42:14-21

Isaiah 42:14-21
Daily Devotion – March 22, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 42:14-21
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170322dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

If you just read or heard these words from the Lord recorded in Isaiah and the message didn’t sink in, focus on the verses again. These are very important words. Words of promise and warning. Words of comfort and judgment.

That’s you: blind in sin, living in a dark world where death eventually devours everyone–eternally. But listen to the message! The Lord will lead people from spiritual darkness to the light of salvation. And look! He can’t wait to rescue you. He says, “Now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.” Oh, there may be obstacles to your salvation that seem insurmountable, but consider what the Almighty does: He levels the mountains, dries up the pools, and makes the rough places smooth. Nothing will stop him from his work of winning salvation for you. Nothing. The Lord declares, “These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

But make no mistake, those who reject God’s salvation will be judged—“those who trust in idols, who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame.”

These words read like a giant orange caution sign along the road of life. “This life ends. You can’t stay here forever,” it says. Someday we will all stand before the throne of God’s judgment. So, hear and see! Salvation is God’s work and it has been done. He accomplished his will and fulfilled his promise—he sent Jesus.

Jesus is the world’s Savior. He is your Savior! Make it your goal, today and every day, to walk in the light of Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Dearest Savior, shine the light of your salvation into my heart. Amen!

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

You are Light in the Lord – March 21, 2017

Tue, Mar 21, 2017

You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 5:8-14

You are Light in the Lord
Daily Devotion – March 21, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:8-14
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170321dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

If you get up early to go outside and wait for the sunrise, you know what it’s like to sit in darkness. Until the light comes, you can’t see anything because the darkness hides things and obscures things and makes things impossible to see. Until the light comes, you can’t do anything, because the darkness covers things and confuses things and makes things impossible to do.

But then, just as you think the darkness couldn’t get any deeper, you finally see it. The horizon begins to brighten in the east, and dawn begins to break. The sun begins its ascent into the sky, and its light is now cast all around you. It’s a total transformation! Everything you couldn’t see before is now visible. Everything you couldn’t do before is now possible.

In the Gospel of John, we hear Jesus say, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). It’s a beautiful name for Jesus: “the Light of the World.” In the same way that the sun breaks the darkness of the earth as it rises in the east every morning, so too has Jesus broken the spiritual darkness that once covered our world and our life.

Through his life and work, all of us who were once living in the darkness of sin can now look to Jesus, the Light of the World, and see forgiveness. All of us who were once facing the darkness of eternal death as the consequence for sin can now look to Jesus, the Light of the World, and see eternal life. It’s a total transformation! Through faith in Jesus, there is now no more curse of sin, no more power of death, no more eternal darkness. Only free forgiveness. Only full life. Only everlasting light.

Oh, what an impact this has on every single day of your life! In the darkness, you can’t see. But in the light you can! In the darkness, you can’t function. But in the light you can! And you? “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” And because you now are light in the Lord, you now can “live as children of light.” It’s a total transformation! “You are light in the Lord.” So, now, you can live like who you are.

“Fruitless deeds of darkness” aren’t a part of who you are anymore because “you are light in the Lord.” “What the disobedient do in secret” isn’t a part of who you are anymore because “you are light in the Lord.” What now characterizes your life instead? “The fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.” These are the things that now characterize your life in Christ, because these are the things that now characterize who you are. “You are light in the Lord.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Light of the World, and you have made us light by bringing us into the light of your forgiveness, mercy, and love. Bless and keep us today and always as you give us the strength to now live like who we are by faith in you, our Savior. Amen.

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

Why? – March 20, 2017

Mon, Mar 20, 2017

As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
John 9:1-7

Why?
Daily Devotion – March 20, 2017

Devotion based on John 9:1-7
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170320dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Often, when we see someone struggling or suffering, we wonder: Why? Why is that man homeless? Why is that woman sick? Why does that family fight so much? Whenever we see unpleasant situations—whatever they might be—we wonder why.

But why do we want to know why? It makes us feel better, safer, and more secure when we can root out the cause. If a man is homeless because he has abused drugs, we feel out of harm’s way. If a woman is sick because she ignored early symptoms or her doctor’s advice, it’s easier to convince ourselves that we will escape her condition. If a family fights because of the sinful way they treat one another, we might consider ourselves distant from such troubles.

Jesus speaks about sin’s connection to struggles and suffering in the case of the man who was born blind: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” he said. Not every hardship is caused by a particular sin. The struggles and sufferings that many people experience are beyond their control.

So why was he blind? That man was blind for two reasons. The first reason was because he was born in a sinful and cruel world. The impact of sin is terrible and enormous. It can be sickening and distressing. Suffering is the result of living in this sinful world, but Jesus teaches that not every experience of suffering in our lives is due to a particular sin we have committed.

The second reason this man was blind is far more beautiful. He was born blind so that God could work through him. Jesus saw him and had mercy on him. He reached out to the man and healed his physical malady. Through this miracle Jesus revealed his power as the Son of God to give sight and heal.

But the work of God wasn’t done there. Jesus came to this earth to suffer for sins he did not do—all the sins of the world. Our sins caused his pain, his suffering, and his death. But he was wounded willingly to heal us from our sin-sick condition and free us from the power of sin. This is why God sent his Son. Sin destroys but Jesus restores.

Prayer:
Jesus, we know that, by nature, we are blinded by sin. Thank you for reaching out and healing us from our blindness through your Son and your Word. Open our eyes that we might see Jesus as the light of the world. Amen.

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

God’s Perspective – March 19, 2017

Sun, Mar 19, 2017

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Luke 13:1-5

God’s Perspective
Daily Devotion – March 19, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 13:1-5
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170319dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Should God see things the same way I do? I might be tempted to think he should. Really bad people should be punished more severely. Really good people should be awarded more generously. There is only one problem. When I try to make God into something that makes sense to me, I make God out to be someone that he is not.

The Lord needs to see things from his perspective, and then, act accordingly. This was Jesus’ point when he addressed those who had questions about the people who experienced tragedies. The obvious conclusion was that they must have done something really bad to suffer in this way. Jesus corrects this faulty observation by returning to God’s perspective.

Jesus used words that were simple and direct. Don’t worry about those who died, rather worry about yourself. His concluding words were emphatic: “Repent or perish.” Jesus offered God’s perspective in a “nutshell.” He doesn’t fret about who is better or worse. He doesn’t agonize over which sin is greater or lesser. His perspective is to the point: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 6:23).

God’s perspective is what I need to take to heart. Instead of worrying if others are really bad, or if they are worse than I am, I need to recognize my personal accountability. I need to be in a right relationship with God. I also need to understand its God’s perspective that I be perfect (Matthew 5:48). God accepts nothing less.

The only way I can be declared perfect is through Jesus. As I repent of my sin, I need to draw on the holiness he secured for me through his perfect life, his innocent death, and his victorious resurrection. Then, and only then, can I stand before God as he desires.

Repent or perish. Looking at my life from God’s perspective is terrifying. It leaves no room for alternatives or arguments. This is exactly the way God intended it, and it makes me recognize the undeniable truth: I am powerless to change my sinful situation; I am incapable of attaining the perfection God demands; I am in desperate need of a Savior. Mercifully, God provided that Savior by sending his Son, Jesus Christ. As I repent of my sin and look to him for forgiveness, I will not perish, but I will have eternal life.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, open my eyes to see my sin and guilt. Then, point me to the Savior you have provided. Purify me and make me yours for this life, and for eternal life. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Watch Your Footing – March 18, 2017

Sat, Mar 18, 2017

If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12

Watch Your Footing
Daily Devotion – March 18, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 10:12
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170318dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In the book, The 19th Hole, author Carol Mann recounts how golf legend Arnold Palmer will never forget the day he lost his footing.

It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament. Palmer had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a satisfying tee shot. As he approached the ball, he saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned Palmer over, stuck out his hand and congratulated him for the win he was about to secure.

Palmer later said that as soon as he shook his friend’s hand, he knew he was in trouble. After that congratulatory handshake, he lost his mental footing. He hit his ball into a sand trap. Then he put it over the edge of the green. Then he missed a putt. He lost the Masters.

For us as Christians, the temptation can be strong for us to assume that we can coast through our Christianity: We know the Bible stories. We attend church more often than not. We’re on friendly terms with the pastor. After a while our idea of Christianity can begin to resemble our life insurance policy. It’s nice to know it’s in our filing cabinet if we need it; otherwise we don’t give it much thought.

And that’s when we can lose our footing.

Christianity is not some cultural formality through which we coast. Nor is it some life insurance document we store away for emergencies. Christianity is about our relationship with the One who has rescued us from the guilt of our sin.

Lost your footing? Come to Jesus. Repent. Be renewed in his forgiveness. And remember that your intense need for him never ends. Never!

Prayer:
Forgive me, Lord, for all the times I have forgotten how I need you every moment of my life. Empower me to stand in you alone. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Beneficial – March 17, 2017

Fri, Mar 17, 2017

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Beneficial
Daily Devotion – March 17, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 8:28
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170317dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

How do we know that God works “for the good” of Christians “in all things”? Wouldn’t “all things” include not only the good and beautiful but also the evil and ugly things in today’s world? How can disasters, sicknesses and sorrows, along with the evils done to Christians, plus the sins done by Christians, be turned around to bring a beneficial outcome?

God cannot mean that “all things” are pleasing to him or according to his will. The holy God of the Bible is never the source of evil, nor is evil his will. He said plainly, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)

Yet, holy God endured the sin of Adam and Eve, and has permitted sinful mankind to think, say and do evil throughout history. Judgment Day is coming, but clearly, God does not force anyone to trust in him and love him. Rather, he graciously offers forgiveness. Sinners are “called” to repentance and faith in Jesus, the Savior. The Holy Spirit creates that saving faith by the good news of the Gospel. The consequences of sin, which we may suffer, become opportunities for those called “according to his purpose” to mature in faith. At times, God does permit, even sends, circumstances that discipline his children. (Hebrews 12:1-13)

Beyond that, the apostle Paul concludes: “How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33) God declared through the prophet Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Ultimately, then, we know that our gracious Lord makes all things serve a beneficial purpose, only because we know him and his promises. Paul asks: “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?” (Romans 8:32)

God gives you the best, eternal life through Jesus, so he will give you the rest of whatever you need to make it through this life. Though often not an easy road, God makes “all things” somehow beneficial. You know that because you know him!

Prayer:
Loving Lord, even when it hurts I know that you will make it beneficial. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in March reflect on Truths for Today.

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

Having It All – March 16, 2017

Thu, Mar 16, 2017

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26

Having It All
Daily Devotion – March 16, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 73:25-26
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170316dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke chapter 16 is a great illustration of the truths in Psalm 73.

From an earthly standpoint, the rich man had it all. According to estimates, the cost of an average wedding in America today is over $30,000. Brides, grooms, and their families often spend lavishly to have a “once in a lifetime” celebration. But that kind of lavish spending is not something they could keep up day after day. The rich man could. Jesus explained that this man lived in luxury every day (Luke 16:19).

Lazarus, however, did not. From an earthly standpoint, he didn’t have much. He was a beggar covered in sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table (Luke 16:20-21). But from an eternity standpoint, Lazarus had everything. Jesus explained that when Lazarus died, he was carried to Abraham’s side in heaven. Lazarus shared the same faith in his Savior as Abraham and so he shared the same eternal destination as Abraham. In heaven, he no longer hungered, thirsted, or lived with sores, but lived with his Savior forevermore!

How about the rich man? This man who “had it all” on earth, lacked what he needed for eternity. He had no faith in his Savior and so when he died, his soul experienced the torment and agony of hell.

Which of the two men truly had it all? Which life would you desire?

If we are honest, we must admit that we can be short-sighted and earthly-minded at times and pine for the life of that rich man. But take a look at Lazarus in eternity! We often waste time and energy pursuing earthly desires and being worried about temporary things that the second we die mean absolutely nothing. So read the climax of Psalm 73: God is the strength and portion of our hearts!

To “have it all” in life is to have God in your life. One day the clothes will fade. One day our lives on this earth and even the earth itself will pass away. But the life which our Savior died and rose to give us for eternity will not. He is our strength each day. He is our portion for all eternity.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship – A Lutheran Hymnal: 434)
Lord, you I love with all my heart; I pray you ne’er from me depart; with tender mercies cheer me. Earth has no pleasure I would share; heaven itself were void and bare if you, Lord, were not near me. And should my heart for sorrow break, my trust in you no one could shake. You are the treasure I have sought; your precious blood my soul has bought. Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Lord, my God and Lord, forsake me not! I trust your Word.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in March reflect on Truths for Today.

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

Is It Worth It? – March 15, 2017

Wed, Mar 15, 2017

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
Genesis 12:1-5

Is It Worth It?
Daily Devotion – March 15, 2017

Devotion based on Genesis 12:1-5
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170315dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I don’t envy Abram. Just the thought of moving is enough to make me tired–the sorting, packing, and cleaning. But moving at age 75, when many are starting to enjoy a slower pace of life, and going to an entirely new country that you have never even visited and where you don’t know a single soul–well, like I said, I don’t envy Abram.

But this is what God commanded him to do. God commanded Abram to move. And God gave him some gracious assurance as he began his journey. “I will bless you,” “I will make you into a great nation,” and “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” In other words, God promised that Abram’s obedience to God would be worth it. Good things would happen because God would faithfully fulfill his word.

But I wonder, as Abram led his family across the unfamiliar desert sand, if Abram ever doubted. I know that we often can. We can sometimes wonder if following God’s instructions is really worth it.

When children grow up and walk away from God, a parent can wonder if it was worth it taking them to church, praying with them, and reading the Bible with them when they were young. When you see people caught in a sin, you might wonder if it’s worth it to say something, especially if previous attempts to speak with them have soured your relationship. When you can’t seem to overcome one particular sin, even after you’ve prayed and cried for long stretches of time, you might begin to wonder if it’s worth it to keep trying. After all, so far you haven’t seen anything good come from it.

But consider just how many of the good things God promised Abram were actually seen by him during his life on earth. Abram was confronted with many challenges in the Land of Canaan. When Abram died, he was a father and grandfather of a large family, but hardly a “great nation.” And Abram certainly didn’t see the birth of his distant relative Jesus, which is exactly what God was talking about when he said that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through [him].”

Godly obedience isn’t like a vending machine where you put in the right change and immediately get every good thing for which you were hoping. It’s an act of faith; trusting that it’s the right path, just because God says so, even when the only thing that you see come back is nothing but frustration or pain.

And Abram isn’t the only one who knows how hard a journey that can be. Even his distant relative Jesus experienced it. As he hung on the cross, Jesus felt pain that you and I simply cannot imagine. But he did not move from that place. He stayed, because he wanted us to see not only that our place in the Promised Land of heaven is waiting, won for us by the perfect life and innocent death of Abram’s seed, but also so that we would know that every act of obedience in grateful response to his love would always be worth it.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for the gift of eternal life in heaven. As we journey through life to our Promised Land, may we always follow in obedient faith as you lead the way; through Jesus our Savior. Amen.

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

Picnic Table – March 14, 2017

Tue, Mar 14, 2017

What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Romans 4:3

Picnic Table
Daily Devotion – March 14, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 4:3
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170314dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In your imagination, take a trip to a place that really exists. The place is a small, modest park covered in green grass. In that park are a few picnic tables. One of the picnic tables is under a shade tree. Have a seat. Take a sip from the coffee you’ve purchased from the nearby market. And as you sit there, in the shade, sipping your coffee, let your eyes rest on the massive, stone structure that looms above you.

You have traveled to present-day Palestine. You are in the ancient city of Hebron. And looming over you is an archaeologist’s dream. It is a fully intact building, constructed over 2,000 years ago by none other than Herod the Great—yes, the same Herod who was in power when Jesus was born.

The significance of what you see does not stop there, however. Below the main level of this old building there is what is called the Cave of Machpelah. And according to the Bible (Genesis 25:7-10), the Cave of Machpelah is the very place where Abraham was buried.

With all that in mind, take a moment to do a little reflection. Do a little reflection as you picture yourself quietly sitting in that small park. As you think about Herod, you might consider the shocking shortness of human authority and power. For although one of his buildings remains, Herod has been gone for a long, long time. Or as you think about the bones of Abraham, you might think about the frailty of human life in our fallen world. For although Abraham lived a good long life, his run of years on this earth still came to an end, just like everyone else.

Or, as you sit there, you could also think about what it was that Abraham believed. You could think about the message of the gospel.

The apostle Paul reminds us that “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” When God gave to Abraham the promise that the Savior of the world would one day come, Abraham believed that promise. And through faith in that coming Savior, God declared Abraham righteous. He declared him forgiven. He declared him washed clean of his every sin—all on the basis of what Jesus Christ would one day do on Abraham’s behalf.

For that reason, Abraham is now in heaven. For that reason, his bones will one day be raised to eternal life. And by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, you possess the exact same promise.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in my place you lived a perfect life and went to the cross for my every sin. You did it for Abraham. You did it for me. Now we both have life in you. Thank you. Amen.

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

More than a Prophet – March 13, 2017

Mon, Mar 13, 2017

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.”
John 4:19

More than a Prophet
Daily Devotion – March 13, 2017

Devotion based on John 4:19
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170313dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The woman with whom Jesus started a conversation came to an astonishing conclusion. With great awe she confessed Jesus was a prophet. She was amazed by his knowledge of her life and his proclamation of the truth. While the woman was impressed with what she heard, she failed to realize Jesus was more than a prophet. This is why Jesus continued to reach out to her. It was this added instruction which brought her to a knowledge and confession that I need to make regarding Jesus.

There are times when I see Jesus only in a limited capacity. Most of my conclusions are based on my immediate needs. If I am sick, I want him to be a physician. If I am troubled, I want him to be a problem solver. If I am uncertain, I want him to be a reliable advisor. If I only see Jesus in this light, I am no different than that woman. This is why I need to turn to God’s Word.

It is from the Scriptures that I learn who Jesus is and what he came to do. Yes, he is a prophet who has brought me the good news and truth of God’s Word. He is also a priest. At his Father’s command he came to this earth to offer the sacrifice needed to take away all my sin. He offered that sacrifice, and it was his very life on the cross. Jesus is also a king. By virtue of his victory over every enemy which strikes fear into my heart, he established his divine rule. Now, there is courage to face death and the grave. Now, there is strength to overcome the weakness of my sinful self. Now, there is confidence to withstand every deceitful and destructive device of the devil.

It is because Jesus is my Prophet, Priest and King that I can live my life filled with peace and the certainty of heaven. But I can only enjoy this blessed assurance when I confess that Jesus is more than a prophet.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship – A Lutheran Hymnal: 358)
O Jesus, Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, my Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring.

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

The LORD’s Call to Repentance – March 12, 2017

Sun, Mar 12, 2017

Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you.”
Jeremiah 26:12,13

The LORD’s Call to Repentance
Daily Devotion – March 12, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 26:12,13
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170312dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What do you do when your child runs out into a busy street? Do you ignore it? Of course not! When you see your child run into that busy street, you call her back because you love her.

Our heavenly Father loves us perfectly. When we sin against him, he calls us back because he knows that sin is always harmful to us. At first, sin may seem fun, just like playing in a busy street might seem fun at first. But as long as we play in the street of sin, we are in danger of losing our life–our eternal life. So, loving Father that he is, God calls us to repentance.

God has always done this for his people. In Old Testament times he sent prophets like Jeremiah to call his people to repentance. Jeremiah told the people of his day, “Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you.” However, instead of heeding God’s warning, the people wanted to put Jeremiah to death.

What will you do when God sends his messenger to warn you about your sin? He may use a friend, a family member, or a pastor. Will you attack the messenger rather than listening to the message? Will you say something like, “Who are you to tell me what to do? You’re not so perfect yourself!”

We pray that God forgive us for the times we have not listened to his messengers when they have warned us about our sin. We pray for God to help us turn from our sin when he calls us to repentance. And we pray that God grant us the confidence to know that when we turn back to him, he is waiting with open arms and a forgiving heart.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, your death on the cross has paid for my sin. May this truth give me confidence to turn from my sin, knowing that you are there to welcome me with open arms. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Our Lowly Bodies – March 11, 2017

Sat, Mar 11, 2017

The Lord Jesus Christ…will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20

Our Lowly Bodies
Daily Devotion – March 11, 2017

Devotion based on Philippians 3:20
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170311dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

A handful of you will live your lives free from serious illness or injury. And when you die, you will die quietly in your sleep. For the rest of us, however, it’s simply a matter of time before each of us experiences the hard truth that our bodies are frail, weak and lowly vessels.

All it takes is one nasty bacterium, one malignant cell, one stubborn virus. All it takes is a second of inattention behind the wheel or a moment of distraction at the worksite, and before you know what’s happening, you find yourself lying in a hospital bed with barely enough strength to sit up. It’s then that you understand how vulnerable your body really is. And if you manage to avoid all this, there is always the slow-motion collision your body has with old age.

No matter how fit we are, no matter how strong or athletic or vigorous we are, the bodies we have are still lowly bodies. They are lowly and weak because of sin.

When the Son of God entered our time and space, he took on a human body; he became a human being. In that body he lived a sinless life on our behalf. Then he allowed sinners to nail his body to a cross. On that cross, Jesus’ body carried the sins of the whole world and paid for them in full. And three days later Jesus rose from death, his body glorified.

What does this mean for us? God’s Word says that “the Lord Jesus Christ…will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Remember this when you look in the mirror and see your frailty. Remember this when you’re lying on a hospital bed. Remember this when you feel too weak to leave your home. Remember this when the body of a beloved Christian wears out and dies.

In this fallen world, our bodies are lowly bodies. But for the Christian, the world to come will be different. God’s Word says so.

Prayer:
Sustain us, Lord, as we grapple with our lowly bodies in this fallen world. Thank you for your promise to transform our lowly bodies to be like yours. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Unconditional Love – March 10, 2017

Fri, Mar 10, 2017

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
Deuteronomy 7:9

Unconditional Love
Daily Devotion – March 10, 2017

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 7:9
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170310dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Little Sara spent the afternoon watching video of her parents’ wedding, marveling at how beautiful Mommy looked in her dress and how young and handsome Daddy was too. Her mother smiled over her shoulder and said, “After all these years, your dad and I still love each other very much.”

“Oh, I know,” answered the precocious kindergartner, “You’re married. You have to love each other.”

The young girl had picked up on the vows spoken that day by her parents, promises to love and cherish each other forever without any conditions or excuses. In the covenant of marriage, a man and woman enter into a solemn agreement with each other that is not meant to be erased by conflicts, eroded over time, or dissolved even by mutual agreement. This is possible only when husband and wife understand that marital love is not exclusively an emotion but also a commitment to action. Their vows of marriage set the parameters for how their love for each other will be expressed: “To be faithful … in sickness and in heath … as long as we both shall live.”

Maybe some will think the little girl in this story to be naïve about how adult relationships work. But it is with that same childlike faith that the Lord God directs us to consider his relationship to those he loves. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses reminded the Old Testament believers that the Lord was “their” God, committed to them. Yes, the people had been disobedient and unfaithful to him, but God had made his solemn vows to their ancestor Abraham. He had entered into an agreement which was extended to every generation of believers since then. God promised to send a Savior who would be a blessing to people of every nation. In the sacrifice of this perfectly innocent Savior, Jesus Christ, there is forgiveness for all that we have done wrong. All our unfaithfulness and disobedience which brought us shame have been paid for by the death of God’s own Son.

The passage of time and the weakness of our commitment to God cannot change his faithful love for us. Take a moment today to remember some of God’s many promises and renew your commitment to respond to his love with a thankful love of your own.

Prayer:
Lord God, I marvel at your promise to love me despite my many weaknesses. Forgive my sins and let your love be reflected in all I do today. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in March reflect on Truths for Today.

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

The Place of Grace – March 9, 2017

Thu, Mar 09, 2017

[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
2 Timothy 1:9

The Place of Grace
Daily Devotion – March 9, 2017

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:9
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170309dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What tasks do you have before you today? This weekend? This year? Whatever they are, you get into trouble (as do I) when you forget the place of God’s grace.

God’s grace is not a response to my life; my life is a response to God’s grace. When I forget that, I—sometimes blatantly, sometimes subtly—view the tasks before me as a way to earn God’s favor. I think, “Surely my attendance must count for something. Certainly God must take into account all the hours I have invested. Indeed, I am in a better place than those who do not participate as much as I participate, or offer as much as I offer, or work as hard as I work.”

When I remember, however, that apart from God’s grace all my righteous acts are like filthy rags, this self-righteous approach leaves me with nothing—at least nothing worth having. So I must remember the place of God’s grace.

My life does not prompt God’s grace; God’s grace empowers my life. When I forget that, I can begin to look at the tasks before me with fear and trembling, sometimes even shame. I say, “I’ve never done this before. How am I going to be able to do that? Aren’t there others better qualified or more experienced? What if she criticizes me? What if he ignores me? What if someone mocks me?”

In the tasks you face today, this weekend, or this year, remember the place of God’s grace. God’s grace is not a response to your life; your life is a response to God’s grace. He has saved you and called you to a holy life—not because of anything you have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given you in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

Remembering the place of God’s grace cuts off the inclination toward sinful, self-righteous claims and feeble attempts at false humility. In this grace you find forgiveness for haughty sentiments as well as the feigned humility which is nothing more than a fragile shell covering the corruption lying beneath the surface. With this grace you are empowered to respond with words and actions that glorify God and serve those around you.

That’s a good place to be.

Prayer:
Lord God, by grace you have made me your own and prepared me for the tasks ahead. Your Sprit gives me power, courage, and the self-discipline to do what you have for me to do. Enable me, therefore, to go confidently and speak boldly, in Christ Jesus. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in March reflect on Truths for Today.

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