WELS Daily Devotions

Devotion - January 25, 2015

Sun, Jan 25, 2015

If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O LORD, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.

Psalm 130:3-4

Full and Free Forgiveness

Imagine you are taking a look at your checkbook, and you don’t like what you see. Maybe you don’t have to imagine. Looking at the list of deposits placed into your account, you see a problem. The amount of income is not enough to cover your expenses. Frustration! What’s more, you don’t have a solution for reconciling the account.

Imagine if the Lord God kept a record of sins like we keep a record of our finances in our checkbook. We would have a massive debt before God, and have no hope of settling the account with him. We would be helpless and hopeless before God.

But don’t despair; there is good news: with the Lord there is forgiveness. He is our merciful, loving God who paid the debt of sin for us. He charged his Son for our sin; the blood of Jesus was the complete payment that has set us free from the guilt of all of our sins. We are forgiven!

If some kind person made a deposit into your checking account to wipe out your financial debt, certainly you would be happy and thank that person for their help and generosity. How much more will we always thank and praise the Lord for the free and full forgiveness of sins that we have through Jesus!

Prayer: 

Lord God, fill me with the peace and joy of the forgiveness of sins accomplished by Jesus’ suffering and death for me. Help me to thank and praise you for your great love. Amen.

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


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

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

Devotion - January 25, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 24, 2015

Sat, Jan 24, 2015

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God." The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" "Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ).

John 1:29-41


The tourists walked the Wall of China. It was impressive. They told people about it. The motorist saw a tornado touch down a quarter mile up the road. It lifted a couple roofs. It was powerful. She told people about it. He saw someone jump into the raging currents to rescue some desperate children. It was courageous and loving. He told people about the hero.

When you spot something overwhelmingly impressive, you tell people about it. Jesus wasn’t gigantic or overwhelming in a physical sense, but when people saw him, they couldn’t help but tell others about him. John the Baptist saw Jesus. He couldn’t help but tell people and say: “Look, the Lamb of God!” Andrew saw and heard Jesus. He was compelled to run and tell his brother, Peter: “We have found the Messiah!”

Who Jesus is and what he was doing compelled people to tell about him. Jesus had come for sinners (remember the recent Christmas message… “You will call him ‘Jesus’ because he will save his people from their sins.”) John called him the Lamb of God because Jesus would lay down his life for sinners. Jesus would step in the place of all sinners. The Lamb of God would be the ultimate and final sacrifice for all sin. The Messiah—Jesus Christ—would perfectly serve as the ultimate Prophet, Priest and King. No one before or after him came close to comparing with him. Jesus, true God and true man, Savior of the world, was completely “I got to tell you about him.”

And so, John and Andrew did. They told people about Jesus. Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God, the Son of God, and their Savior. Listen to what they (and all of God’s Word) says about Jesus. Take it to heart and trust in him. Tell others about Jesus.  He is their Lamb of God, their Messiah and their Savior, too.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to be the sacrifice to earn forgiveness for all my sins. Thank you for prompting someone to tell me about Jesus. Increase my trust in you and give me courage to tell others about Jesus. Amen.

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


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

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

Devotion - January 24, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 23, 2015

Fri, Jan 23, 2015

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

In Christ Jesus you are free! An earlier verse from Romans chapter 8 tells us: "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (8:1). You are free from condemnation! Free from guilt! Free from every divine consequence for breaking God's law!

But do you feel free? You might not. Nothing is ever easy. You work more than is good for you, and still you wonder if you're really making a difference for anyone else or for yourself. You love the family and friends God has given you, but there are problems in every relationship. You make it to the golden years, but they don't seem all that golden. When Jesus died on the cross, he willingly took all condemnation for every sin ever committed. God is on our side. So why is that we still so often feel small and weak? Why do we still suffer?

Sin is forgiven in Christ, but it doesn't disappear. Sin is still present in our world and in us, and sin hurts. All of creation is groaning under its weight. It shouldn't surprise us that we are groaning too. Believers are no strangers to tragedy and loss.

In today's Bible verse, we find help for any believer in Jesus burdened by the troubles of this life. The apostle Paul says: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Paul is not in any way minimizing our suffering. He is simply reminding us that all who believe in Jesus are headed for the glory of heaven, a glory so wonderful that no suffering in this world can begin to compare.

When you are discouraged, remember this word from God. Remember that the cause of all suffering is sin, and remember God's cure. God has sent us his Son Jesus. By his suffering and death he has freed us from all condemnation. There is no easy path through this sin-cursed world, but by trusting Jesus we are headed for heaven. Even now we have the peace of knowing that God is on our side. Like the psalmist, we can say, "I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope" (Psalm 130:5).

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, have mercy on me in my distress. Forgive my sins. Grant me relief, according to your will. Fill my heart with the sure hope of heaven, through Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 23, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 22, 2015

Thu, Jan 22, 2015

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31

Little kids like to run everywhere. It doesn't matter how short the distance. It can simply be from one side of the room to the other. The three-year-old is more than likely going to run that distance.

Part of the reason they do this is that they have short legs and need to take way more steps to cross the room than fully-grown people do. But, they also run because they just have lots of energy. As an adult, can you imagine every step you take being a running step? You would probably be ready for a nap well before lunch.

Yet even those children with seemingly endless amounts of energy grow tired after a while. Eventually they grow into adults, and their levels of energy decrease and weariness sets in more quickly.

What a beautiful promise we have from the Lord that he will give us renewed strength!  To "run and not grow weary"—it sounds too good to be true. Yet, it's a promise from the Lord so we know that it is.

Those who know that Jesus is their Savior, who treasure the full and free forgiveness that is theirs because of his death on the cross, can walk with a little extra spring in their step. The pressing weight of sin and guilt does not slow them down, and they know that their relationship with the almighty God is one that is defined by his love, and will last forever.

When that relationship is fully enjoyed inside the gates of heaven, then their youth will truly and fully be renewed. None of the physical problems, none of the aches and pains that seem to grow more severe with age will be present there. Knowing that day will come gives the believer in Jesus a little extra energy in life as well.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, you know that I am tired. Keep my eyes focused on the eternity in heaven that your Son, Jesus, won for me through his death on the cross. There I know that my strength will be renewed and I will never grow weary again. Until I get there, give me strength and energy as you have promised. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 22, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 21, 2015

Wed, Jan 21, 2015

The LORD says, "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

Isaiah 49:6

Jesus is our humble servant

Would you enjoy work as a servant? Most of us would choose a job in which we have some authority and privilege rather than submission and humble service.

What did Jesus choose? What did his Father choose for him? It was submission and humble service for Jesus instead of authority and privilege. He willingly took up the station designated in Isaiah’s prophecy: "the servant of the LORD."

Isaiah chapter 49 marks a new emphasis in that book of prophecy. Whereas earlier chapters focused on God's deliverance of Israel from Babylonian captivity, this part focuses on the spiritual deliverance of God's people through the Servant of the LORD.

Here we find the servant of the LORD, fully equipped and competent to deliver Israel. Jesus kept this word of prophecy in his humble service to free us from the guilt of sin and curse of eternal death. He explained, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as the ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).

He did this not just for the people of Israel ("too small a thing") but also for you and me, for the entire world. He served in the lowliest way, bearing the burden of all sinners on his cross to restore us to life with God forever.

Praise to you, Savior Jesus, for coming to be our humble Servant and bringing us the light of salvation!

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, make me aware each day of the humble service you offered me to rescue me from my sin. Fill me with the light of your salvation. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 21, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 20, 2015

Tue, Jan 20, 2015

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

Acts 16:25-34


“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” This is the most important question in the world. It cuts to the heart of the most important issue of life—the matter of eternal life.

At the critical moment of life and death, there was only one correct answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” Human philosophies could not answer the jailer’s question, so Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.”

At the heart of the “word of the Lord” is the message that through faith in Jesus who lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death on our behalf, we are saved from sin—from the effects of sin (guilt and shame) and from the final result of sin (punishment in hell). Paul and Silas do not tell the jailer to “do” anything. He is to believe what Jesus has already done for him. There is no other way to be saved.

The jailer is in one moment a desperate, guilty, enemy of Christ and in the next a forgiven, loving servant to Christ. This is the power of Christ and his salvation. If you know it, share it. If you do not, keep coming back to hear “the word of the Lord”. It is for you and your household.

Prayer: 

Lord, thank you for your word which is the word of salvation. Thank you for giving us life in a world of death. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 20, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 19, 2015

Mon, Jan 19, 2015

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:4-11


You hear one voice in the desert. You hear another voice from heaven.

It’s the first voice you might not listen to. Who would listen to a guy who preaches in camel’s hair and eats locusts? Who would listen to a guy that calls you a snake and a sinner (Matthew 3:7-10)? Your initial thought, as you listen to this voice, is to scoff and argue. But the more you listen, you end up crying for mercy instead. The voice in the desert speaks the damning truth. It cuts you to the core. You recognize the poison in your heart—poison that blasphemes, hates, lusts, and envies—and you are brought to your knees to confess that you deserve eternal punishment for your sins.

But the voice in the desert points to more than your sin. The voice in the desert points to the One so powerful, that no sinner is worthy to untie his sandals, and yet so powerful that he overwhelms and overcomes sinful hearts with his Spirit of grace. He points to the One who is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

Now you couldn’t be more ready to listen to the voice from heaven. As water runs down Jesus’ face, the Father’s voice from heaven declares his approval and confidence in his Son, because he purposely and willingly gives him as the sacrifice for your sin. His life for yours! His death instead of yours! Even the Holy Spirit descends with approval. And yes, you hear the voice from heaven correctly, it pleases God to do this for you. Through faith you will not perish but have eternal life.

Because of such love, out of the overflow of the heart, another voice speaks. It’s your voice. It echoes the voice from the desert and the voice from heaven. It shows sin and shares saving love with others. It points people to Jesus.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, may I never lose sight of my need for a Savior from sin, and may I never let go of the fact that Jesus came for me and saved me. In his name. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 19, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 18, 2015

Sun, Jan 18, 2015

Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

Matthew 3:13-15


Mark was struggling to finish his project. The deadline was Friday, and it was already Thursday. He knew for weeks the deadline was coming, but he procrastinated. Now that he was under pressure, he looked for every short cut he could find. It was to no avail. Just before he was completely exasperated, the project manager came into his room. Immediately he recognized Mark's problem. Instead of letting him suffer with his problem, he sat down with him. His first words were simple. You have to do it the right way. Once Mark accepted the manager's corrections, everything came together and the project was completed on time.

Jesus' words to John the Baptist convey the same lesson. In order to secure forgiveness and rescue for every condemned sinner, Jesus' work had to be done the right way. This meant there were no short cuts. There were no reasonable alternatives or substitutions. Quite simply, there was no other way for this precious work to be done than the way God the Father prescribed. This is a truth I need to recognize and trust.

I may be tempted to believe there are other ways to be saved. My flesh will lead me to think I can put off the opportunity to learn of Jesus' work, because there is always time. The world will make me think God will accept me the way I am, because I am better than others. The devil will even try to make me think there has to be some kind of a short cut, because a lifetime of faithfulness seems too restrictive. Unfortunately, none of these are true. All, finally, lead to frustration and God's condemnation.

There is only one way to the Father, and that way was secured by Jesus. He alone was able to do the right thing in the right way. He provided his Father with the perfect payment through his sinless life and death to secure my release. There is no other way to be reconciled with God than through the precious work accomplished by Jesus.

The Bible is clear. Jesus began his ministry with his Father's approval (Matthew 3:17). He also finished it with the same approval (Matthew 17:5). He did everything his Father's way. Jesus provides not only the right way to heaven, but the only way, and that is the way for me.

Prayer: 

O dearest Jesus, because you said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," give me the strength of faith I need to trust and follow you. Lead me through this life to eternal life where I will praise you forever as my Savior and Redeemer. Amen.

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


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

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

Devotion - January 18, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 17, 2015

Sat, Jan 17, 2015

"I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand."

Isaiah 42:6

Holding Your Hand

“I wanna' hold your hand.”  Remember that Beatle’s tune?  We appreciate a personal touch. But in this verse of the Bible from Isaiah, the picture isn't so much of romantic lovers, but of the parent who is taking the child by the hand. Can you picture it? The parent along with the toddler needs to cross the street, so the parent takes the toddler by the hand, guiding and protecting.

Surprisingly, in our Bible reading, the picture is that God the Father is the parent, and it's Jesus' hand which is being held. It reminds us that Jesus—the true God—became truly human, with our human weaknesses and needs. And so God the Father guided him, protected him, indeed, "held his hand" as he walked Jesus through life and finally to his death on the cross. The Father was guiding, protecting and holding his Son through it all.

But to what end? It was all for YOUR benefit, and MINE!  It was all so that forgiveness and eternal life could be won for YOU and for ME!  The Father held the hand of the Son, guiding him, directing him, caring for him, but ultimately with your interests in mind.

Now God the Father, because of the work of his Son, can look at you and say, "I wanna' hold your hand, too."  And he does!

Prayer: 

Lord, I am encouraged to know that I can count on you for help in my life.  Take my hand and lead me.  Give me the assurance that as your child by faith in Jesus, you are guiding me through every circumstance and pointing me on my way to heaven.  Amen.

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


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

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

Devotion - January 17, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 16, 2015

Fri, Jan 16, 2015

Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:5


“I hope we have decent weather for our trip this weekend.” “I hope the wait at the restaurant isn’t too long tonight. I don’t want to miss the movie.” “I hope I get a raise this year.” “I hope the test results come back negative.”

There are many things that we hope for in our lives. Sometimes our hopes and dreams are realized. When they aren’t, disappointment, ranging from mild to heart-wrenching, is the result.

We have become accustomed to our plans giving way to disappointment in our lives. We are all too familiar with the fact that things don’t always turn out the way that we hope they will. So the gift of hope that does not disappoint us sounds pretty wonderful.

That’s exactly the gift that God gives—hope that never disappoints. It’s a hope that is better described with the word certainty.

“I hope God still loves me after what I have done.” “I hope God is in control because I sure am not.” “I hope to go to heaven when I die.”

These “hopes” will not end in disappointment. There is no uncertainty. They are guaranteed by God’s love.

The amazing love that sent his Son to be born into our world, the sacrificial love that sent him to the cross to be punished for all sins—this love guarantees that your hope is certain. You have forgiveness! You have life! You have God’s love! Through the faith that the Holy Spirit has worked in your heart, you know it to be true.

In a world that is so filled with disappointment, it is wonderful to know that we have a God who is faithful. It is comforting to know that we have been given the gift of sure and certain hope.

Prayer: 

Gracious Lord, you know all of my hopes and dreams that have resulted in disappointment and heartbreak. Please send your Holy Spirit to comfort my heart and give me joy in the certain hope that comes from you. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 16, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 15, 2015

Thu, Jan 15, 2015

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:18


What are you eagerly awaiting? Perhaps you were one who was eagerly awaiting Christmas … but now the bills have arrived. Or perhaps you were eagerly awaiting the arrival of 2015 … but now the new year perhaps doesn’t look so hot. Or perhaps you had eagerly awaited that promotion … which never came. Or perhaps you had eagerly awaited that promotion, it came, and now you wish you could have the old job back. So often the things we are eagerly awaiting disappoint us, either by not materializing or by not living up to expectations.

But for the believer in Jesus, there is always a future hope which is worth eagerly awaiting! You have the amazing advantage that you know how your life will culminate: you will go to heaven. Every believer in Jesus will go to heaven. No, it’s not a “maybe” or a “might be;” it’s a “for sure,” because Jesus really died and Jesus really rose from the dead. Jesus did pay for your sins, Jesus did earn salvation for you. Because of that, you always have hope, you always have a future worth eagerly awaiting, a glorious future in the mansions of heaven.

Knowing our eternal hope through Jesus helps us to keep a proper perspective on this world, with all its ups and downs. Whether the thing we’re eagerly awaiting thrills us or disappoints us, we’re still going to heaven. The future hope is certain, and it will not be cut off!

Prayer: 

Focus me, O Savior, on my eternal home in heaven. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 15, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 14, 2015

Wed, Jan 14, 2015

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD.”

Isaiah 60:1-6


Bugs of all shapes and sizes are drawn to light. If you’ve ever spent any time outdoors in the summer, especially in the evening, then you know how true it is that outdoor lights attract bugs.

Not that we want to compare ourselves to insects, but there is something to be said about the draw of light. If you think about it, a light shining in a dark place is going to draw attention, naturally. The same is true about the Light of the world. The world was steeped in the darkness of sin. God’s Word says, “A darkness covers the earth, thick darkness is over the peoples.” That darkness was sin. But notice what happens when a light appears:  We’re called to arise. We’re called to shine. We’re told that “nations will come to (the light) and people to the brightness (of the light). That light is none other than the Light of the world, Jesus. Only Jesus can bring the world out of darkness into his wonderful light. Only the truth of Jesus can bring people from the ends of the earth to look for his light. Only Jesus can prompt the praises of nations. Only Jesus.

Only the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah, the promised Savior could prompt such a reaction. Friends, the same is true today. Proclaim Jesus. Proclaim that the Light of the world has come.  Proclaim Jesus, and “you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy.”

Prayer: 

Jesus, Light of the world, shine in our hearts and lives and bring forth the joy and peace that only you can give. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 14, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 13, 2015

Tue, Jan 13, 2015

Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Ephesians 3:8

Privilege

In the world of classical music, a contralto singer by the name of Marian Anderson was a giant. The beauty of her voice enthralled audiences around the world. She sang in the White House for Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. She sang for the King and Queen of England. She brought tears to the eyes of a world-renowned voice teacher. A legendary conductor declared that Marian Anderson possessed the finest voice of the century.

Perhaps even more stunning, however, was Marian’s profound gratitude for what she had. A reporter once asked Marian to name the greatest moment in her life. Her answer said a lot about her and a lot about the sense of gratitude that empowered her throughout her career. When the reporter asked Marian Anderson to name the greatest moment in her life, she said it was the day she got to go home and share the news that her widowed mother wouldn’t have to do other people’s laundry anymore.

The Word of God before us comes from the apostle Paul. Paul was one of the greatest proclaimers of Jesus Christ the world has ever seen. Throughout his years of sharing the gospel, however, Paul endured difficulties and hardships of every description. Nevertheless, Paul never forgot the high privilege he possessed. He had tasted the sweet forgiveness of sin his soul had through faith in Jesus Christ. To know he now had the honor to carry that good news to others—such an honor filled him with a gratitude that empowered him throughout his ministry.

You and I have that same privilege. Like Paul, you and I have savored the forgiveness we possess through faith in Jesus. And now it is our high honor to share that good news of forgiveness with others. True, God has given each of us different gifts. But whatever those gifts are, we can use them to touch another soul. As Marian Anderson once said, “Everyone has a gift for something, even if it is the gift of being a good friend.”

And so take the gift you have. Praise God for it. And use it for the privilege to bring someone else into contact with Jesus Christ.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of sharing Jesus with others. By your gospel, fill my heart to overflowing with gratitude. Fill it every day. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 13, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 12, 2015

Mon, Jan 12, 2015

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

Matthew 2:1-2

Further Instruction Required

It is easy to marvel at the journey of the Magi. They went to great lengths, faced many challenges, and endured many hardships. Even after all of that, upon their arrival in Jerusalem they didn't achieve their goal. They still had to ask, "Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?" They required further instruction to find the answer to their quest.

Like the wise men, I too search for the one who is born King of the Jews. While my journey is noble and sincere, if I rely only on my own efforts and knowledge I will fail to find him. Further instruction is required.

In my search I need to avoid the temptation to be satisfied with a king and god of my own making. This kind of deity and ruler would delight my sinful flesh, but it would accomplish nothing to bring me closer to the true God. Once again, further instruction is required.

The only way I can find the true God and his Son is to go directly to the Scriptures. In the Bible, God's inspired book for instruction, I come to know who God truly is. I also come to understand what he has done for me. He sent his Son to this earth to be more than a king of one nation of people. God sent Jesus to be the King of kings and Lord of lords, "so that every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Philippians 2:10,11). What is even more important is that through the instruction of God's Word I come to know what Jesus has done for me. His unquestioning obedience to fulfill his Father's will in my place. His sinless sacrifice on the cross to secure my release from guilt. His innocent death to rescue me from the power of the devil. His victorious resurrection to proclaim my freedom from death and the grave. He did all of this so that I could come to him and worship him.

In order to know Jesus as my Savior I need to be guided to him. Without the instruction God the Father has provided in his Word, I would remain lost and condemned to a fruitless and futile search. This is why I rejoice, because God has provided all the instruction I required.

Prayer: 

O gracious Lord, heavenly Father, I rejoice in your Word of Truth. Through the Word I receive the instruction I need to know that Jesus is my Lord and my Savior. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 12, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 11, 2015

Sun, Jan 11, 2015

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

Isaiah 61:10


Some have said, “You are what you wear.”  If you are dressed in a clown suit, you probably are a clown.  If you’re wearing a baseball hat, team jersey, baseball pants and cleats, you probably are a baseball player.  If you are wearing an orange jump suit, you probably are a prisoner.  If you are wearing a beautiful white dress, you probably are a bride.  You are what you wear.

We needed new clothes to wear.  Why?  Because, by nature, we are sinful, dirty, greedy people who are wearing sinful, dirty, greedy clothes.  And, quite frankly, that looks terrible!  Nobody looks at a sinful, dirty, greedy person and thinks, “How gorgeous!”  Instead people think, “How nasty!”  That’s a realistic description of us and our sinfulness.  We need help!  

What has God given us to wear instead?  “He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,” Isaiah writes.  The LORD himself has given to us his garments of salvation; he has dressed us in his robe of righteousness.  “Righteousness” is a word that means “perfection.”  How did he do this?  First, Jesus lived a perfect life; he was robed in righteousness.  Then Jesus lovingly made a trade.  He dressed us in his perfection and clothed himself with our sinfulness.  Taking our sins on himself, he suffered the punishment we deserved.  By his death, he paid for our sins so that we will never have to.

As a result, we can delight greatly in the LORD!  Martin Luther put it this way: “In his righteousness I live, not in mine.”  In the end, who are we?  Check out Isaiah’s description of our clothes once again.  We are saved.  We are perfect in God’s eyes.  We are what we are wearing—beautifully perfect in the pure clothing given to us by God himself.

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, thank you for becoming what you were not, so that I might become what I was not.  Give me great joy as I remember who I am through you—one who is clothed in a garment of salvation and arrayed in a robe of righteousness for all time.  Amen.

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


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

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

Devotion - January 11, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 10, 2015

Sat, Jan 10, 2015

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

Acts 10:34-35


Are you a “Christian-By-Association”? In other words, do you consider yourself a Christian because you can point to your familiarity with the trappings of Christianity? Perhaps you can rattle off happy memories of going to Sunday School or a Christian Day School. Perhaps you can recall what it was like to be in the children’s Christmas program on Christmas Eve. Perhaps your parents and grandparents were active in the church life and you’ve inherited some family connections and personal relationships with various pastors and teachers.

If that’s all you’ve gotten out of your exposure to Christianity, however, you’ve got nothing.

God does not show favoritism. It does not matter to God how active your parents were at church. It does not matter to God how many songs you sang in Christmas Eve services of your childhood. It does not matter to God how many pastors and teachers you know by name. If you or I think God will accept us because we’re familiar with some trappings of Christianity, then we are not hearing him. Our ears are closed. And a moment is coming when we’ll be in for a real shock.

What matters to God is our relationship with Jesus. What matters to God is our trust in Christ as our Savior from sin. What matters to God is the forgiveness we possess through faith in Jesus’ perfect life and death in our place. What matters to God is that our personal eyes of faith are fixed upon his Son.

No favoritism. Only Jesus. And Jesus alone makes all the difference in the world. Your world too.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, forgive me for all the times I have not focused on your Son. Wash me in his blood. Renew my zeal for the gospel. Amen.

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


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

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

Devotion - January 10, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 9, 2015

Fri, Jan 09, 2015

Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.

Psalm 98:1


Have you ever noticed how much music and singing is associated with the Christian religion? There are Christian radio stations that are singularly dedicated to playing songs dedicated to Jesus. Christian worship includes music played on various instruments and sung by trained vocalists. Many Christian churches encourage the people in the seats to join in singing hymns and psalms. Have you ever wondered why? I’ll bet you have, especially if singing’s not your thing.

Why do Christians sing? The words of Psalm 98 give us the answers. The first one is this: the LORD wants us to. But the reason for that is deeper than you might think. The LORD certainly loves music and takes delight in the beauty of melodies and harmonies that please the ear. Undoubtedly he takes pleasure in beautiful music produced by trained musicians and practiced vocalists. But there is so much more! He is much more interested in the content of our songs than in the music mastery or flawless performance.

He encourages his people to sing a “new song.” And then he tells us what that new song is. He doesn’t hand out a piece of music with notes and performance directions. He tells us that the new song he desires is one that declares the marvelous things he has done. He has worked salvation. He has carried out a saving act. He hasn’t done it for himself (as though he needs saving), but he has done it by himself because those who needed him to save them couldn’t do it by themselves.

God saves. Like a well-trained Navy Seal team sent on a rescue operation he invades enemy territory to deliver from captivity. Like a brave firefighter he enters a dangerous situation to rescue from the flames. Jesus Christ entered our world as a baby in Bethlehem. He grew from childhood to manhood, all the while perfectly carrying out his Father’s will. As a relatively young man he willingly went to a gruesome death. He did it all to save sinners who couldn’t save themselves. He came into our dark world to deliver us from death and eternal condemnation. When he rose from his tomb, he declared that death is defeated and the devil rendered powerless. He came to seek and to save those who were lost, including you and me. And that’s worth singing about!

Whether you are a good singer or not; whether you can read notes and sing in a choir or whether you can’t carry a tune…the Lord wants to hear you singing a new song of thanks and praise to him as the one who has marvelously saved you!

Prayer: 

Lord, you have provided us with the words of a new and marvelous song through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Help us to sing your praise with joy and thanksgiving all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 9, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 8, 2015

Thu, Jan 08, 2015

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 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, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Revelation 21:1-5


The Scriptures teach that our present world and all of God's original creation will be destroyed at the end of time. God will, however, make a “new heaven and a new earth.” The apostle John was granted the vision of these things fulfilled, and he saw the “new Jerusalem” which is described as "a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." At the end of time Jesus Christ will come in glorious procession attended by his angels to take his bride—the Church of all believers—to his heavenly home for an eternal wedding feast.

The heavenly wedding feast of Christ and his church is when the “dwelling of God is with men.” The redeemed will see God. In his first epistle John wrote: “We shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The Church will no longer walk by faith, but by sight. And God's covenant of grace will be established with them forever, for “they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

The description of bliss for God’s people in this new heaven and earth is comforting: “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” It is this glorious prospect that for centuries has sustained Christians in the midst of their earthly trials and sufferings. One day we will have the bliss of heaven where there will be no sin and no effects of sin. Nothing will dim the perfect bliss which God has planned and prepared for his faithful people.

Jesus himself gives us assurance that what John saw in his vision will indeed come to pass. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” All this will take place because Jesus is in charge of making it happen. He is the one who has all power in heaven and on earth is the one making all things new. Jesus' words bring us much comfort and encouragement. No matter what the world situation looks like, no matter what types of persecution or hardship enter our lives, Jesus is in control and guiding everything for our good so that finally heaven and all its bliss will be ours. Jesus declares, “These words are trustworthy and true.” We can count on it...Jesus is “making everything new”…for us!

Prayer: 

Jesus, thank you for the encouragement and comfort that finally everything will be new when you come and take me to be with you in heaven. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 8, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 7, 2015

Wed, Jan 07, 2015

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.

Micah 5:2-5


“On earth, peace to men.” That’s what the angels promised when Jesus was born. But a cursory glance around our country shows anything but peace. Violence is everywhere. Even peaceful protests are hardly peaceful. When we’re faced with a situation like the one we’re facing, one of two things can happen: it can either bring people together or tear them apart. The latter seems to be happening more and more each day.

Where’s the peace the angels promised? The peace that the angels promised was not a physical, earthly peace. That kind of peace rarely exists, and it’s pretty simple why that’s true. Benjamin Watson, a tight end for the New Orleans Saints, captured the problem with one simple phrase. He said about the growing violence in communities all over our country, “It’s not a skin problem, it’s a sin problem.”

And that’s the truth. The reason there is no peace on earth is because of sin. Adam and Eve shattered the peace between God and men when they chose to listen to Satan instead of God. Since then, there’s been a lack of peace on earth. But God promised to change that. He promised to bring peace again to earth, not physical peace, but spiritual.

God brings peace to the hearts of men through Jesus. Jesus came as that promised one, the one born as an infant in Bethlehem. He came to bring peace to the earth by living and suffering and dying for a world full of sin and sinners, sinners like you and me. Because of Jesus’ perfect life and innocent death and glorious resurrection, we have peace. We have the peace of knowing that there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves because Jesus has done everything. We have the peace of knowing that we don’t need to satisfy God’s wrath against our sins because Jesus has washed them away. We have peace because Jesus has set us free.

That peace is yours in Jesus! That peace is what the angels announced. That peace is yours now and always!

Prayer: 

Jesus, give the world the peace that only you can give. Help everyone turn to you in repentance and rejoice in your forgiveness. You are our peace! Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 7, 2015 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - January 6, 2015

Tue, Jan 06, 2015

Because [Jesus] himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 2:18

Resolution

A week ago at this time the talk shows were all abuzz about New Year’s resolutions. By now, however, such talk has already faded.

But before 2015 gets any older, let’s take that idea of a New Year’s resolution and give it a moment of serious thought. Some time ago a Christian magazine by the name of Discipleship Journal gave its readers a chance to rank the top temptations that challenge them most. Here are the results. Coming in at number 9 was lying. Number 8 was gluttony. Number 7 was envy. Number 6 and Number 5 were a tie between sexual lust and holding a grudge. Number 4 was laziness. Number 3 was self-centeredness. Number 2 was pride. And the top temptation ranked Number 1 by the readers of this magazine? Number 1 was materialism.

What is the Number 1 temptation that attacks you in your life? Perhaps the readers from Discipleship Journal have already mentioned it. Or perhaps the temptation that most often comes looking for you is something completely different.

Even more important, however, is what the survey revealed next. It revealed that, in the view of the readers, there was one over-riding factor that always made their temptations much more difficult to resist. They noted that their temptations were far more potent whenever they had neglected their time with Jesus.

When the Messiah entered our time and space, he set aside the full use of his power in order to live and die as our Substitute. This means that his blood from Calvary’s cross has washed away the sins of all our broken promises, all the ways we have failed to do what we should have done. It also means that his perfect life on our behalf has covered us in the robe of his holiness.

And it means something else. It means that, when it comes to those temptations that work the hardest to vex you and trap you, there is no greater Friend, there is no greater Champion to have by your side than Jesus Christ.

So resolve to spend more time with your Savior by giving attention to his Word. God’s forgiveness in Jesus will empower you to do this. Jesus, who overcame all temptations, is able to help you when temptations confront you.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, I need you. I need you more than anything or anyone else on earth. Move me by your gospel to spend more time with you—and that means more time in your Word. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - January 6, 2015 --Daily Devotion