WELS Daily Devotions

The Lord’s Prayer – Address – May 5, 2016

Thu, May 05, 2016

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven.’”
Matthew 6:9a

The Lord’s Prayer – Address
Daily Devotion – May 5, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 6:9a
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160505dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus teaches us to pray “our Father” because we have been adopted as his children. As God’s children, we are worthy to bring our prayers and petitions to him because God has declared us holy, free from sin which separated us from him. The Holy Spirit brought us to faith in Jesus so that the righteousness of the Son of God became our own. Since we are justified by faith before God, we can pray to God, our heavenly Father. We can approach him boldly in prayer because of our special relationship with him by faith in Jesus.

God is honored when we come with our prayer. He is not bothered as though we are pestering him with our requests. The fact that we recognize our dependence upon God and put our trust in him to give us what we ask, brings glory to God. So we are invited to pray to him for anything and everything. Nothing is too small or too big for God to accomplish for our good. He is our perfect Father, and in Christ we are declared to be his perfect children. Thus we can be confident that he will hear and answer our prayer.

Our heavenly Father answers the prayers of his children out of his great love for them in Christ. He knows exactly what his children need, and he graciously grants them his blessings. Jesus explained, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)

The knowledge that God has justified us through Jesus and that he loves us with a perfect love gives us the boldness and confidence to pray, “Our Father in heaven.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you invite me to believe that you are my true heavenly Father and that you have made me your true child by faith in Jesus. Help me always to be bold and confident in my prayers to 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 PDF

“Giants” but not “Gods” – May 4, 2016

Wed, May 04, 2016

When the crowd saw [the miracle] Paul had done, they shouted…, “The gods have come down to us…!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes… The priest of Zeus… and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, … they rushed out into the crowd, shouting: “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.”
Acts 14:11-15

“Giants” but not “Gods”
Daily Devotion – May 4, 2016

Devotion based on Acts 14:11-15
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160504dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

It is a common expression: “He is a ‘giant’ in his field.” That’s a person of exceptional importance and reputation. Paul and Barnabas were “giants” in the field of Christian missionary work. They were not “gods.” The citizens of Lystra had observed the healing of a crippled man by the apostle Paul and drew a faulty conclusion.

Only God can do miracles. He chose to validate the message of the early Christian Church by working miracles through his messengers. (Mark 16:20, Acts 14:3, Hebrews 2:4) Paul and Barnabas were messengers of Christ, not gods from Greek mythology. However, they were “giants” in their field.

Can you be a “giant” of Christian missionary work? You need not be such in the eyes of the world, but perhaps in the eyes of a child, a co-worker, a family member.

Hermes and Zeus were worthless idols! Yet the people of Lystra sincerely believed in them. Today, there are those who sincerely believe in worldly philosophies, basing their moral values on them. Sincerely believing in something does not create truth or value. The “living God” of the Bible has revealed therein what is true and of real worth.

The “living God” is the heavenly Father, Creator of heaven and earth, who planned the gift of salvation for sinful mankind. The “living God” is the Son, the risen Christ, who paid for the gift of our salvation with his holy life and innocent death. The “living God” is the Holy Spirit who gives the free gift of salvation to sinners, creating saving faith by means of the gospel.

Can you be a “giant” in someone’s life? Can you humbly and urgently tell them, “turn from these worthless things to the living God”? You can.

Prayer:
Lord God, help me speak the gospel of your salvation. If that makes me a “giant” in someone’s eyes, to you 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 PDF

Source of Light – May 3, 2016

Tue, May 03, 2016

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
Revelation 21:23

Source of Light
Daily Devotion – May 3, 2016

Devotion based on Revelation 21:23
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160503dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The man was desperate to build a fire. You could see the worry on his face and hear the strain in his voice. He was tired. He was cold. But his campfire would not light. It would not light because even the dead leaves he gathered were too wet to burn. And nighttime had already come.

A while ago, The History Channel ran a series that featured 10 men left to fend for themselves on the northwestern corner of Vancouver Island. The northwestern corner of Vancouver Island is pure wilderness. Massive trees and brush are everywhere. It’s crawling with cougars and wolves and bears. And it’s wet. It receives more rainfall per year than any other place in the Northern Hemisphere. Every man there had survival training, but each was on his own, as each was isolated from the others by miles. The question posed by the series was simple. How long could each man last before giving up?

One thing became clear. Without a fire—without a source of light and warmth—the darkness and the cold and the wild animals that surrounded them became too much. Without a source of light, they would not last.

The same holds true for you and me—your soul and mine. Without a source of light, the darkness and the cold that surround us in this broken world becomes too much. Without a source of light, we are lost.

Enter Jesus, the Light of the World. He pierced the darkness of our sin. Through his death on the cross he went to the source of our darkness and destroyed it. Then he rose from the darkness of his tomb. And now, through faith in him, you and I can bask in the light of his forgiveness.

But here’s what we need to remember. When the rains come, when the storms blow, when the troubles of life pour down on us in sheets, the source of our light will not go out. The source of our light will not go out because the source of our light is Jesus himself.

In Jesus you are secure and warm and safe. So breathe easy. And sleep well.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my light. In your forgiveness and grace I am warm and safe. 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 PDF

A Better Peace – May 2, 2016

Mon, May 02, 2016

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27

A Better Peace
Daily Devotion – May 2, 2016

Devotion based on John 14:27
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160502dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I long for peace, just as everyone else in the world. I also want to see peace in my own life. But there is this frustration: Where can I find real peace? If I rely on what the world offers, I will be disappointed. Its peace is like a morning fog which disappears with dissention and strife. So where can I find a true and lasting peace?

As Jesus prepared his disciples for their life after his departure, he offered them his peace. That peace would not be found in what the world would offer. What Jesus promised them was a better peace, a peace that would calm their troubled hearts and allay their fears. It is also what he offers me today.

Jesus’ peace is better because it tells me I do not have to be consumed with worry when the world is filled with chaos. He rules over all things and assures me everything will work out for my good.

Jesus’ peace is better because it tells me I am no longer at odds with God because of my sinful rebellion. He washes away my sin, declares me to be his own, and promises me a place in heaven.

Jesus’ peace is better because it tells me that this world and its wicked ways will not torment me forever. He daily guards my heart and life, and he promises nothing will overcome me.

Jesus’ peace is better because it addresses real needs and provides real solutions. He invites me to come to him in prayer whenever I am weary and burdened.

Jesus’ peace will always be better than what the world gives because he established it through his selfless sacrifice and his loving faithfulness. Through Jesus I will always know peace.

Prayer:
O dearest Jesus, you have established peace and you have given it to me through faith. Help me find that peace whenever the devil threatens me, whenever the world rages against me, or whenever my sinful flesh leads to doubt and fear. 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 PDF

God’s Love Changes our Lives – May 1, 2016

Sun, May 01, 2016

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:7-12

God’s Love Changes our Lives
Daily Devotion – May 1, 2016

Devotion based on 1 John 4:7-12
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160501dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Dad, how come every song is about love?” Even my 11 year-old daughter recognizes that there is no topic quite as popular as love. It’s the theme of an entire genre of movies, the driving force behind many poems, and the basis for interesting conversations at work. Love. We can’t seem to get it off our minds. Yet do we really know what love is?

The apostle John says that “God is love.” He explains, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” God’s love is more than an abstraction, more than a feeling, more than a philosophical concept. It is a definite reality in Jesus Christ. Here we see what love really is. In Christ we learn that God’s love is sacrificial, unconditional and totally undeserving. God loved sinners so much that he sent his one and only Son to suffer and die for us, so that we might have life with him forever. This is love. It reaches down from heaven and changes our lives.

Those who know the love of God want to love others. At the end of the wedding ceremony the pastor sometimes tells the bridegroom, “You may kiss the bride.” The groom usually doesn’t feel like this is some burdensome obligation that he has to carry out. Instead he rejoices because it’s exactly what he wants to do! It’s kind of the same when John encourages believers to love one another. Since we have experienced God’s love in our lives through Jesus Christ, since we know that he has forgiven our sins and made us his children, this is exactly what we want to do. We want to love others as God has loved us. Amazingly, when we do, others might see God’s love in us. They might see this love and wonder about its source. It’s then that we can point others to God who loved us enough to send his Son to die for the sins of the world.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, we thank you for demonstrating your love for us in Jesus Christ. Help us throw off our selfish sinful nature and to love others as you have loved us. May this lead others to see your love! 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 PDF

A Close Knit Family – April 30, 2016

Sat, Apr 30, 2016

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love.”
John 15:9

A Close Knit Family
Daily Devotion – April 30, 2016

Devotion based on John 15:9
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160430dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Anyone who knew the Smith family was amazed at how close knit they were. The parents were actively engaged in their children’s activities. The children genuinely appreciated their parent’s company. This closeness was seen in everything they did. From going to worship on Sunday mornings to going on vacations in the summer, they made certain they remained close. Even when they sat down for dinner in the evening, they did not allow any distractions. There were no televisions or radios playing, no texts received, and no phone calls answered.

While most people considered their closeness an exception, the Smiths regarded it as normal. When pressed for their reason, they simply said, “It is important, so we make it happen.”

Today families are being fractured and forced into many different directions. Is there any wonder why the goal to remain close knit is a priority? Is there any wonder why it is even more important to pursue this goal as a member of God’s family?

God the Father went to great lengths to adopt me and bring me into his family. When I had no thought of loving him, he loved me and even sent his Son to reveal it. This meant Jesus had to live a life of total obedience and complete faithfulness which ended with his death on the cross. In this way, Jesus accomplished everything God the Father required for my rescue from sin and its punishment. Jesus also accomplished what was needed for me to be called God’s child and a member of his family.

As a part of God’s family I need to take Jesus’ words to heart. He says, “Remain in my love.” If there is anything that will keep me closely knit to my heavenly Father and his family, it is Jesus’ love. It is this love which binds me to every believer, as well as to my Father. It is this love which guards me when the devil tries to lead me astray. It is this love which opens my eyes to the importance of daily repentance, forgiveness, prayer and the study of his Word. It is this love which comforts me with the promise of a blessed reunion in heaven. There I will be reunited with all the members of God’s family, and I will live with my heavenly Father and my loving Savior forever.

While I may desire a close knit family for this life, I may or may not attain it. In contrast, because of God’s love in Jesus, I know I can remain a close knit member of God’s family.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, I thank you for making me your child through faith in Jesus. I also ask you to keep me close to you in this life until I join you in heaven. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Life’s Foundation – April 29, 2016

Fri, Apr 29, 2016

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Life’s Foundation
Daily Devotion – April 29, 2016

Devotion based on Proverbs 22:6
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160429dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The young couple’s level of excitement could not have been much higher. After a few years of saving and watching their spending, they were about to become homeowners. They had found their “dream home,” made an offer, and were about to close the deal when the inspector’s report came back. The house that looked so beautiful on the outside had foundation issues. After some tear-filled discussions, the couple decided to back out of their offer and begin searching for another house.

We understand the importance of a good foundation. The last thing a homeowner wants to hear is that their home’s foundation needs some attention. That can be a very expensive project. It’s also one that can’t really be ignored because no one wants their house to start looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or worse… begin to fall down.

What is important for buildings is important for people as well. The Bible tells us, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” The things that children learn when young become the foundation on which the rest of their lives are built.

Table manners, a good work ethic, respect for others, how to be wise with money—these are all lessons that we want to pass on to our children. But there is something even more important when it comes to their training. What better foundation can we give children for their lives than an understanding of their relationship with Jesus, their Savior?

This is too important to simply let children “decide for themselves what they want to believe.” They need to be taught the truth—the truth that will become the all-important foundation for the rest of their lives.

The truth is that they, like all of us, need a Savior. That Savior is Jesus. He loves them more than anyone else in the world does. He proved that love by dying on the cross in their place in order to remove their sin and guilt forever. That love never changes, and because of it, Jesus has promised to guard and protect his children forever.

The best gift that we can give children is teaching them about their Savior’s love and how to live their lives for him out of thanks for all he has done. According to God’s promise, this training will provide a solid foundation for the rest of their lives.

Prayer:
Jesus, you are my Savior. Help me to share you with the next generation. In your name I ask it. 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 PDF

A Promise of Rest – April 28, 2016

Thu, Apr 28, 2016

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

A Promise of Rest
Daily Devotion – April 28, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 11:28
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160428dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When I was young, I worked in a lumber yard. One of my jobs was to restock the cement bags which were delivered on pallets. Each of the bags weighed over 50 pounds. They had to be stored inside so they wouldn’t get wet, and the storage area was inside a small shed. While we could use a forklift to take the pallet to the door, we had to physically lift each bag, hoist it onto our shoulder, walk into the shed and place it onto another pallet inside. It was hard work! By the end of the day, I was weary, burdened, exhausted!

The burdens of sin are far worse. Sin brings strife in my relationships. I end up burdened by guilt because of my own failures in those relationships and I’m burdened by the failures which those people have done to affect me. Those constant, nagging sins which are so hard to fight against—they wear me out! One day I fight against them, and maybe again the next day, and then I fail yet again. Oh, how I hate it! How it burdens me! The results of living in a sin-filled world are oh-so-wearisome too. Physical aches and pains which seem to get worse with age, failing eyesight and hearing, arthritis which wracks the joints, the death of loved ones—it’s all hard! It’s wearisome! It burdens!

So it’s with joy that we hear Jesus’ invitation, “Come to me.” Yes, there is a place of rest. Yes, there is a place where the burdens of this world can fade to the background. Yes, there is a place where my wearisome struggles can be set aside. “Come to me,” Jesus says. “Come to me.”

And when we do? Oh, a wonderful promise awaits! “I will give you rest.” Jesus’ promise is that those sins which plague us—they’re forgiven. Jesus’ promise regarding those sins which we struggle with, but so often give in to—he has defeated sin for us. Jesus’ promise regarding those aches and pains of life—they’ll give way to a glorious life eternal. “I will give you rest.”

So come! Come to Jesus by opening up his Word. He talks to you through that Word! He gives you the rest that you need! He promises!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when life wears me out, lead me back to you ever again, that you might give me the rest I need. In your saving name I pray. 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 PDF

The Best Good News – April 27, 2016

Wed, Apr 27, 2016

On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying. Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'” When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:44-52

The Best Good News
Daily Devotion – April 27, 2016

Devotion based on Acts 13:44-52
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160427dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

We’ve seen the football player down on a knee in the end zone in front of his girlfriend. Then we see her tearful acceptance of his marriage proposal—a happy, happy day! But what if she said “no!” and turned him down in front of thousands in the stands and millions watching at home? Then the good news of anticipated marital bliss is no longer good news.

The best good news is the good news that is taken to heart. Just a week earlier the apostle Paul had declared the good news of resurrection life in Jesus to church-goers in Pisidian Antioch. Like a man offering a sincere marriage proposal, Paul expected the people there to eagerly say, “Yes, we would love to spend our life together with Jesus the one who lived, died and rose for us and for our salvation.”

However, among the Jews, Paul’s own people, this was not the response. Instead they “heaped abuse on him…stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their region.”

Among the Gentiles, though, there was a heartfelt reception of the good news “and the disciples were filled with joy…” The best good news is the good news that is taken to heart.

It is my sincere prayer that you not only hear the good news of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, but that you joyfully take it to heart and eagerly say by faith, “Yes, Lord, I will live with you now and forever!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, send your Holy Spirit so that all who hear the good news of your resurrection victory no matter who they are or where they are may take it to heart and live with you forever. 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 PDF

Heaven is My Home – April 26, 2016

Tue, Apr 26, 2016

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”
Revelation 21:2-4

Heaven is My Home
Daily Devotion – April 26, 2016

Devotion based on Revelation 21:2-4
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160426dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“There is no place like home.” That is especially true when we ponder the promise of our heavenly home. No earthly home compares to that home.

Although our earthly homes may be places of happiness and peace, sadly, they can also be places of unrest due to sin within us and around us. Tears often flow because of troubled relationships. Suffering occurs from pain and sickness. Grief fills the heart when death makes its unwelcome presence.

Our heavenly home will be a place of unbroken peace. There, God promises that anxieties and hardships will no longer trouble us. In undiminished peace we will joyfully live as we witness firsthand how God wipes away all tears and has destroyed death forever.

Heaven is also where God’s presence is with his people. We find great comfort knowing God is with us even now as we dwell on earth. However, in heaven we shall have the privilege of seeing him as he is (1 John. 3:2). Currently, we live by faith knowing that God is present. Our faith will be turned to sight when God makes his permanent dwelling with all believers in heaven.

How can we be certain that we will live in that home of unbridled bliss? Such certainty is not found in us or our works. Our certainty is centered in Christ Jesus, our Savior. He is the one who made his home among us on earth. He is the bridegroom who lived the perfect life. He now credits his perfection to his bride—all believers—beautifully dressed with his holiness. He loved his bride so dearly that he willingly gave his life for his bride upon the cross. Jesus brings his bride over the threshold from death to eternal life, having forgiven all her sin.

As we look forward to heaven, our hearts are filled with joy to live as his blood-bought bride. Our lips also long to tell others of the eternal home God has prepared for them through Jesus.

Prayer:
O risen Savior, I thank you for the strength your eternal Word gives me as I live each day on earth. Even now, dry my tears with the comfort of your unfailing love as I longingly await my eternal home with 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 PDF

Limitless Love – April 25, 2016

Mon, Apr 25, 2016

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34

Limitless Love
Daily Devotion – April 25, 2016

Devotion based on John 13:34
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160425dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The thing about love is that it almost always has limits.

You might really love someone or something but there is probably a limit to that love. You may love a certain food, but you will only pay so much for it. Perhaps you love a certain sports team, but after so many losing seasons you may just give up. Even in a marriage, one of the more infinite loves, we say our vows with, “Till death do us part.”

Even though almost every love we know has its bounds, we still crave truly limitless and unconditional love—a love without any end.

God filled our desire for limitless love by sending Jesus to win eternal life for us. God didn’t set a limit or an end to his love. With his limitless love Jesus came to live and die for us to take away our sins and wrongs and to win for us a place before God forever. This love will never end.

Now, when God commands us to love one another as he has loved us, he gives us no small task. He says to love with the love that he has shown to us.

How can we do that? We can do the kinds of things that will make sure even death will not limit our love. If you want to love your spouse, pray for and encourage their faith. If you want to love your child, make sure that they grow up in a place where their faith can be nurtured. If you want to love your neighbor, do the kinds of things that allow you to share with them the hope you have in Jesus. Helping those you love to be in the Word of Christ and to follow his commands is one of the greatest expressions of love because it is the only thing that is truly limitless.

God loved you in the ultimate way by winning eternity for you. Go and love people by sharing that message with them.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus. Help us to love with the limitless love you have shown to us. Amen.

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

Vines, Branches and Fruit – April 24, 2016

Sun, Apr 24, 2016

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

Vines, Branches and Fruit
Daily Devotion – April 24, 2016

Devotion based on John 15:5
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160424dev.mp3
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I need Jesus for everything in my life. This truth is made abundantly clear when he says, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” The point of the illustration is one I need to take seriously. Just as a branch gets everything it needs for life by its connection to a vine, so I need to be connected to Jesus to receive everything I need for life.

While the picture may be simple, its implications are sweeping. Without Jesus I have nothing, and I can do nothing. I have no true peace, no real joy, no full forgiveness, and no heavenly hope. Without Jesus I am without God’s promise of protection and guidance, and I have no one to be my mediator and advocate. Without Jesus I can do nothing to please God or merit his favor.

This is why I need to understand the importance of a close relationship with Jesus. Again, it is like a vine and branch. Without a good graft to the vine, the branch will wither and die. So I need to be carefully and securely grafted to Jesus. This is more than a passing acquaintance or a general knowledge of some facts. It means I know from the Bible what he has done for me, and will continue do for me. It also means I can trust him implicitly and without hesitation. The result of being so closely grafted to Jesus is that I will naturally produce the “fruit” which he desires. This is more than the humanitarian good the world requires and praises. This fruit is the very work which pleases him and which reflects his own unselfish love for me.

This is why I need Jesus to be the most important thing in my life, and why I can never doubt the necessity of his presence or his power. The moment I am tempted to have doubts or question the importance of his presence, I need to recall his words–“without me you can do nothing.”

With a simple picture of vines, branches and fruit Jesus presents a beautiful lesson on what he offers me for this life, as well as for eternal life. I need to learn that lesson well. I also need to rely on Jesus for everything, just as a branch relies on the vine.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, I rejoice because you offer me life and strength and help. Give me the trust I need to rely on every gift you provide in your love. Then, let me serve you in goodness and love as long as you give me life here on earth. 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 PDF

More than a Song – April 23, 2016

Sat, Apr 23, 2016

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

More than a Song
Daily Devotion – April 23, 2016

Devotion based on 1 John 3:18
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160423dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

If you know the music of the 1970’s, you know the late John Denver. During that decade, John Denver wrote and sang one hit song after another, songs like “Rocky Mountain High” and “Country Roads.” Perhaps his most enduring is “Annie’s Song,” written to his wife.

By Denver’s own admission, he was unfaithful to Annie. After a period of separation, they reconciled and were ready to move forward again as husband and wife. It was during this time that Denver’s emotions moved him to write and sing what he was feeling. It is said that it took him all of about ten minutes. In ten minutes’ time, “Annie’s Song” was born.

But it was just a song. Denver’s unfaithfulness continued. Eventually, that and other issues ended their marriage.
It’s one thing to sing about love. To demonstrate it with actions is something else. It’s one thing to talk about faithfulness. To live it is something else.

It’s one thing to open up a hymnal and sing about our love for Jesus. To show our love for him by how we treat those around us–that’s something else. For that reason, you and I must confess the many times we have failed our Lord; the many times we have sung the song and nothing more.

That’s why Jesus’ love for us was more than a song. It was action. It was commitment. It was faithfulness to the end. Because it was, he went to the cross in our place. He paid the debt of our sin in full. He did what had to be done.

As a result, you and I are forgiven. The stain of our failure is gone. We are at peace with God. And with it he gives us his Spirit, so that our love for him may now begin to blossom and grow.

So we move beyond a song, beyond words, and we love with actions. Just as Jesus loves us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you love me. Move me to love you in my actions toward others. 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 PDF

Out with the old; in with the new – April 22, 2016

Fri, Apr 22, 2016

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Out with the old; in with the new
Daily Devotion – April 22, 2016

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:17
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160422dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

It had become kind of embarrassing. The shoes had served me well, but the scuff marks were getting pretty bad. No matter what I did to clean and polish them they still looked dirty. I had to walk carefully around puddles because a hole had formed in the sole of the left shoe. It didn’t matter how nicely I dressed, with those shoes on my feet I just felt a little grubby.

Finally, after putting it off longer than I should have, I bought a new pair. Ah… they were comfortable, and I didn’t have to worry about my socks getting soaked every time it rained. Now I was confident that I looked decent when I needed to dress up. I actually found myself walking with more of a spring in my step, confident in my brand new shoes.

If new shoes, or new clothes can have that kind of an impact, what would it be like to be a completely new person? Those who know Jesus and trust in him as their only Savior from sin and death don’t have to wonder. God’s Word tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Jesus died to remove your sin forever. Every impure thought, every hurtful action, every regret-producing decision, and shame-inducing failure—all have been washed away by the blood of Jesus. Everything that would make you look dirty and dingy in the eyes of your perfect Creator has been done away with. The old has gone!

Those who are in Christ—who believe that his blood washed away sin—have been made new. You can walk around confident that you look good to God. He sees you as his holy and perfect child, washed in the blood of his Son and made new.

Through faith in Jesus, you are a new creation!

Prayer:
Jesus, my Savior, thank you for removing the old and making me new. Help me to live as the new creation you have made me. In your name I ask it. 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.

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Say what? – April 21, 2016

Thu, Apr 21, 2016

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Say what?
Daily Devotion – April 21, 2016

Devotion based on Zephaniah 3:17
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160421dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I encourage you to stop, go back and reread the passage above, and reread it slowly.

It’s amazing, isn’t it? I know my sins, my shortcomings, my failures, and I know them oh-so-well. I deserve God’s anger, God’s punishment! And yet what does my God say?

He says he will stay with me. He says he will save me. He says he will delight in me. He says he will quiet me with his love. He says he will even rejoice over me! Wow. Amazing love, amazing grace.

Let’s unpack just one phrase, which translates “he is mighty to save.” The Hebrew more literally says, “The strong one, he is saving.” The Hebrew word translated, “strong one” has the idea of being a hero. So, what do heroes do? Heroes do heroic things! And what did our hero choose to do as his heroic action? His heroic act was to save us! He chose to come to this earth, to live, die, and rise, all so that we could have life eternal. Yes, the hero chose to focus his heroic activity … on saving you, on saving me.

I don’t know about you, but it sure leads me to say or at least to think, “Say what?” It seems too good to be true!

But thank God, it’s the truth!

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, as you have promised, stay with me, save me, delight in me, quiet me with your love, rejoice over me. Amen.

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

Real Easter Encouragement – April 20, 2016

Wed, Apr 20, 2016

After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to [Paul and his companions], saying, “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.” Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said:…“Brothers, children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: “‘You are my son; today I have become your father.’”
Acts 13:15,16,26-33

Real Easter Encouragement
Daily Devotion – April 20, 2016

Devotion based on Acts 13:15,16,26-33
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160420dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Have you noticed in and around these days of Easter that a lot of Easter cards are getting just as nonsensical as many Christmas cards? They express sentiments that have nothing to do with the real event. For example: “Bunnies are cuddly. The large and the small, but I like chocolate ones the best of them all.” Without disrespecting chocolate lovers, it is fair to say that this message has nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

In the town of Pisidian Antioch (southwestern Turkey today), God’s representative, the apostle Paul was asked to share a message of encouragement for the people gathered at the local synagogue. The church-goers were looking for real encouragement and Paul did not give them greeting card pabulum. He gave them real Easter encouragement.

The encouragement was centered not in anything the people were going to do or think, but in that which was done for them. God’s Son, Jesus, was an innocent man executed by the Romans. That doesn’t sound encouraging unless we know the added details that this was done to fulfill the words of the prophets and that Jesus did this in the place of sinners as a perfect sacrifice for sin.

The observable, historical fact that God raised him from the dead confirms God’s acceptance of the sacrifice and declares Jesus to be the true Son of God. Furthermore, Jesus’ promise “Because I live, you also shall live” is anchored upon this truth. “What God promised…he has fulfilled…by raising up Jesus.”

And so the resurrection of Jesus from the dead became the very foundation of the Christian church then and now. With or without chocolate bunnies, this is the real Easter encouragement: God raised Jesus from the dead and all his believers live because of it.

Prayer:
Lord God, we thank you for the promise of resurrection life that is ours in Christ, whom you raised from the dead just as you said you would. Lead us to rest our own future resurrection hopes on the encouragement these words bring. 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 PDF

The Perfect Attire – April 19, 2016

Tue, Apr 19, 2016

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands…they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:9,14

The Perfect Attire
Daily Devotion – April 19, 2016

Devotion based on Revelation 7:9,14
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160419dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“What will I wear?” Do you ever stop to ask yourself that question as you arise to begin the day? Will dress clothes be required for a formal occasion? Or will casual clothing be appropriate for working in the garden on a beautiful spring day?

“What will I wear in heaven?” The Holy Spirit answers that all-important question. In the book of Revelation we peer into heaven to view the countless believers gathered before God’s throne. There they stand, dressed in glorious white robes of perfection and holiness.

How can I be sure that a robe of such pristine beauty will be mine in heaven? I am stained by my sin from head to toe. I humbly confess that no amount of my effort or good works can begin to remove my soiled, sinful nature. On the day I die someone may decide how to dress my lifeless body in the casket, but how can I be sure I will wear the white robe that will never perish, spoil or fade?

Trust in the Lamb who promises a white robe to all who believe in him. Jesus is the one who has forgiven all your sins by his blood shed on the cross. The Savior is the one who rose triumphantly from death to assure you that you too will rise from the grave, victoriously arrayed in the white robe he has prepared for you.

What is more, Jesus has already given you the white robe of his perfection through Holy Baptism. The Lord God no longer sees the stain of your sins. He sees you clothed in the perfect life of Jesus now credited to you. He sees the robe washed in Jesus’ blood now covering you.

As you await eternal life in heaven, live each day in the certainty of your Savior’s love for you. Though the number of believers in heaven is countless, yet rest assured of the robe he has personally won for you. Joyfully live as one of his white-robed people, faithfully serving him, and eagerly looking forward to the perfect home of heaven he has graciously prepared for you.

Prayer:
Lord, renew my faith each day through your Word that I may gladly anticipate the day when I will join all the white-robed believers before your glorious throne, ever praising 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 PDF

God Knows Who You Are – April 18, 2016

Mon, Apr 18, 2016

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
John 10:27-28

God Knows Who You Are
Daily Devotion – April 18, 2016

Devotion based on John 10:27-28
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160418dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

If you have ever had to be picked up from an airport or train station, you know that weird feeling as you walk out of the terminal into the crowd of people who are all there waiting for someone. You quickly scan the room as you search for the person who knows you. You are counting on them being there and so, for a moment, you hope that they didn’t forget or get stuck in traffic or just didn’t show up. And there is a feeling of relief and joy as you finally make eye contact with the one person in the crowd who knows you, who is there to pick you up and take you where you need to go.

It is easy to look at the crowds of people who make up our life and wonder, does anyone know us? Sometimes it seems that even our own close friends don’t know us and our own family doesn’t understand us.

The good news is that as we look through the crowds of this life we see one person who does know us—Jesus Christ. He knows who we are and he knows our fears. He knows our strengths and he knows our sins. He knows our past and knows our future.

The really good news is that he knows us and he still loves us. Jesus laid down his life for us that we may have eternal life. He died and lives again to show us the full extent of his love for us. He invites us to hear his voice and to follow him.

The best part is that he has a plan to pick you up and take you where you need to go. He promises that no one will snatch you out of his hand and that you will have an eternal life that will never perish.

Jesus knows you and he will take you home.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for your Son Jesus who knows me, who saved me, and who gives me eternal life. Give me faith and confidence in Jesus and help me to hear his voice and to follow him. 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 PDF

A Joy Story–Faith Is Rewarded – April 17, 2016

Sun, Apr 17, 2016

The woman came and knelt before Jesus. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”
Matthew 15:25-28a

A Joy Story–Faith Is Rewarded
Daily Devotion – April 17, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 15:25-28a
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160417dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

My wife and I have two dogs which we love very much. They are well cared for. Believe me! They lack nothing! And they are also very confident of our love for them. They don’t worry about where their next meal is coming from, or even when! And if there is something they want, they are quite determined in making sure that we know about it! Rarely if ever do they give up before they obtain what they want. In fact, our dogs’ trust in our ability to take care of their needs is almost, without fail, rewarded.

In the words of Scripture before us today, we hear a brief conversation between a Canaanite woman and Jesus. She came to him with a need that she was confident he could—and would—satisfy. Her daughter was “suffering terribly from demon possession” (Matthew 15:22). “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me,” she cried out to Jesus. But he didn’t answer her. His disciples suggested that he send her away, but she would have none of that. With great persistence she went to her knees and repeated her plea, “Lord, help me!” Finally, Jesus responded, but not as we would expect. Jesus said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

When my wife makes popcorn, our pet dogs are right there waiting patiently. They are also persistent. They don’t give up until they receive a little reward for their perseverance. They also linger beneath the table in our kitchen when we eat, filled with hope that something will manage to descend to the floor. As my wife often says, “They live in hope.” And I can assure that their hope does not disappoint them.

Jesus’ words—harsh as they seem—gave hope to that woman. She understood in his words a willingness to provide for her needs. “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

The Canaanite woman’s account in the Bible is a joy story. “Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’” Jesus loved that woman very much and helped her. And this teaches us that faith in Jesus’ ability and his desire to respond to our needs, both small and great, is not in vain. Jesus loves us and will help! His greatest helpful act was to save us from the punishment of our sins through his death for us. Now faith in Jesus assures us of everlasting life with God. Trusting in Jesus as our Savior makes our life and faith a joy story, too!

Prayer:
Jesus, the most important thing for me is to have faith in you as my Savior. Through testing and trials lead me to cling to the precious promises of your Word so that my faith will be sustained until the end when you will take me to the glory of heaven. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Child of God – April 16, 2016

Sat, Apr 16, 2016

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are.
1 John 3:1

Child of God
Daily Devotion – April 16, 2016

Devotion based on 1 John 3:1
http://wels.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160416dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Tim Hansel, in his book, Holy Sweat, tells the story of a walk he once took with his young son. The two of them were out in the country, climbing around on some small, rocky cliffs. Tim had his back to his son for a few moments. Suddenly he heard his boy yell, “Hey Dad! Catch me!” Tim whirled around and looked up just in time to catch his son. You see, his son had yelled, “Hey Dad!” and then he had jumped.

Tim was so shocked at first that he could hardly talk. Finally, when he found his voice, he blurted out, “Zac! Can you give me one good reason why you did that?” His son responded with a calm voice. He said, “Sure, because you’re my dad.”

Think about that for a moment. As far as the boy was concerned, his dad was trustworthy. Therefore, no matter what the circumstance, he trusted that his dad would always catch him. He knew who his father was, and that was that.

Now let’s talk about you. As you read or listen to these words, what kind of fear are you carrying around in the pit of your stomach? Is it fear about something at work? Fear about a lab result you’re waiting for? Fear about what others think of you? Is it fear about money? Fear of looking foolish? Fear of getting old? Fear of being alone?

Remember who your Father is. God sacrificed his own Son to adopt you into his family. Then he raised his Son to life to assure you he meant what he said.

Does this mean you should jump off a rocky cliff and expect someone to catch you? No, not at all! But it does mean that God will never drop you. It does mean you are his forgiven child. It does mean you can finally stop being afraid.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, through faith in Jesus I am your child. Because of who you are, I am safe, I am secure, I am never alone. Fill me with your Spirit. Drive out my fears. Empower me to live my life fully for you. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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