WELS Daily Devotions

Antichrist Antivenom – September 29, 2016

Thu, Sep 29, 2016

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
1 John 2:18-23

Antichrist Antivenom
Daily Devotion – September 29, 2016

Devotion based on 1 John 2:18-23
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160929dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Bill Haast did some unique, yet lifesaving work throughout his life. He was the director of the Miami Serpentarium Laboratories, a snack-venom producer. The company would “milk” snakes to produce antivenom and the antivenom would be used to save the lives of snakebite victims. Bill also had an idea for making antivenom in another way. He began injecting himself with increasing doses of diluted cobra venom in order to develop his own immune resistance.

We face very real physical dangers in this life. But we also face very real spiritual dangers. God warns us about them in his Word. He warns us about the deceitful Snake. The devil, who took the form of a serpent in order to tempt the first man and woman, is hard at work to sink his deadly venom into our precious souls. His venom is full of lies about God’s Word and God’s love; the devil’s lies are eternally destructive.

But this deadly venom can also be found in some unlikely places. In 1 John chapter 2 God warns us of antichrists. They don’t look at all like snakes. In fact, verse 19 says, “they went out from us.” These antichristian messengers looked like other messengers going out from Christian churches, except that their message was far from Christian; it was anti-Christian. As verse 22 notes, these messengers were proclaiming lies about who Jesus was. They were denying that Jesus was the promised Savior.

These kinds of lies and those who proclaim them will continue to persist until the moment Christ returns. So God warns us about them. But more than that, he injects our hearts with the perfect “antichrist antivenom.” The antivenom that defeats a lie, terrifies the devil, and disrupts the work of antichristian teaching is the truth. You know the truth which God has given in the Bible. The truth is that Jesus is the Christ, who is victorious over sin, death, and the devil.

Twenty-one times Bill Haast was flown around the world to donate his antibody-rich blood to treat the victims of snake bites. According to his wife, all 21 patients survived. You might say that Bill’s blood had what was needed to defeat the snakes. God has given you what you need to defeat the Snake and all the antichristian lies in this world. He has given you the truth—the truth about Jesus whose blood purifies you from all sin (1 John 1:7)!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, your Word is truth. Continue to protect and comfort me with the truth of your Word. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in September, October, and November are based on the book of 1 John.

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

Healthy Living – September 28, 2016

Wed, Sep 28, 2016

Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come! … You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.
Amos 6:1,4-7

Healthy Living
Daily Devotion – September 28, 2016

Devotion based on Amos 6:1,4-7
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160928dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Healthy living is a mantra these days. Just check out social media, magazine articles, bookstore shelves. Weight loss, food choices, fitness goals, vacations plans, leisure ideas, improving the comfort of your home–all these are part of healthy living, we’re told. Again and again.

But what about our souls?

It’s not a sin to enjoy good food and fine living. But God’s people at Amos’ time were complacent. They lived in luxury while their spiritual lives were deplorable. The body was the picture of health, but the soul was sick and wretched. They kept on feasting and lounging and partying and celebrating and holding jam sessions with their instruments, without any concern for their faith, their status before God, their eternity.

God did not approve. God wanted them to refocus on him and his ways for their own spiritual good. So he warned them that he would end all of their careless lifestyle. They would be carried off into exile.

Today, many of us live in relative luxury. We have more money and food and things than most of the people in the world will ever see in their lifetime. That’s not a sin. That’s blessing from God. But are our priorities misplaced? What about our spiritual life? What about God’s approval?

Jesus said: “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval” (John 6:27).

God approved of his Son Jesus, and he transfers that approval to you and me, through faith. He gives us the eternal food of forgiveness through Jesus. God blesses us with eternal life, paid for by Jesus at the cross.

Feast your faith on that amazing gift. Feast your faith on God’s wonderful promises. Feast your faith on Jesus and his love. That’s healthy living.

Prayer:
Dear Father, thank you for all your rich gifts in my life. You provide so much more than I need. Help me to use it all to your glory, and to keep my focus on you. Feed my faith with your forgiving promises in Jesus. Bring me to your eternal banquet in heaven. 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

Money Trap – September 27, 2016

Tue, Sep 27, 2016

Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:6-10

Money Trap
Daily Devotion – September 27, 2016

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 6:6-10
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160927dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The secret to an effective trap is to keep your prey from seeing the menacing end that lies ahead. Instead of seeing a mouse trap that should scream, “Danger!” all the mouse sees is the piece of cheese. By the time the trap is tripped, it is too late. The mouse is caught. Its fate is sealed.

In this portion of God’s Word, a seasoned pastor named Paul is warning a young pastor named Timothy about the trappings of wealth and having a lifelong ambition of being rich. Wealth can be like a piece of cheese. We want it so badly that we don’t realize what we stand to lose in getting it.

Do you know people who have given up too much in an attempt to get rich? How about the person whose marriage failed because of working 60+ hours a week in an effort to get the big promotion? Or the worker who always had time for work, but never for family. Now the children are resentful and have ceased to communicate. Perhaps you know people like this, or maybe you know this type of pain firsthand. As bad as these consequences can be, though, an even greater pain would be to have riches destroy one’s relationship with God.

Paul’s words to Timothy are meant to warn us. But they are also meant to encourage us. We are encouraged to fight greed with contentment. One way to pursue contentment is to count blessings. We do well to remember that God takes care of all of our physical needs. He gives us food and clothing and provides all that we need for our body and life.

As great as it is to have our daily needs met, an even greater source of contentment comes from the spiritual needs that have been filled by Christ. Every day as we consider the wrongs that we have done, even the sin of being greedy, we know that Jesus has forgiven us. He took all our sins to the cross and paid for them there. On a daily basis we can count our blessings of love, care and concern that come from our gracious God.

Take the apostle Paul’s advice and save yourself from a lot of misery. Be content with the blessings God provides and give thanks for the physical and spiritual gifts he gives to you. Pursue godliness with contentment.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, help me to count my blessings every day. Keep me from falling into the trap of always wanting more. May I always be content with the good gifts that you give to 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

The Lord Helps – September 26, 2016

Mon, Sep 26, 2016

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.’”
Luke 16:19-25

The Lord Helps
Daily Devotion – September 26, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 16:19-25
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160926dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Behind the gate, life was marvelous for the rich man—fancy clothes, fine food, and scores of friends. On the other side, a diseased derelict had been cast aside by those who could not—or would not!—take care of him any longer. The filthy rich lived alongside the filthy wretch.

One day, things changed dramatically. Lazarus died and was brought to heaven. The rich man died and was sent to hell. This time, Lazarus is comfortable and the rich man is suffering. Again, the gulf between the two is troubling.

What are we to make of all this? Does God love poor people best? Does he hate rich people? No. Abraham himself was a rich man. Jesus’ point is not about how God views the haves and the have-nots. The blessed live with the helpless, because this is how life works. This is how we really are.

Like the rich man, you and I are often blissfully unaware of all God’s blessings to us. Even if we do not wear expensive clothes or splurge on fancy meals, we have been given far more than we need.

But like Lazarus, we are also in desperate need—totally vulnerable and helpless. Spiritually speaking, we are covered with the sores of our sins and shame. Sin makes us lonely and miserable. We cannot help or heal ourselves.

So God sent some much needed relief. God’s Word says: “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). This is how God healed us. He sent his Son, Jesus, to suffer the pains of hell in our place so that we might be helped. The righteous Son of God stretched out his hands to comfort miserable sinners like us.

It is nice to be blessed by God with a pleasant life. But, just as it did for the rich man, these things will pass away. We might suffer great losses in this life. If not, death will one day take away all the delights of this world. It is better by far to be the ones God helps. When we are hurting or alone, when we feel like no one understands our struggles or can do anything to help, we remember Lazarus—the one God helps.

God has helped you. Jesus stands by your side. And in death, Christ will not just address one of your struggles or meet only one of your needs. In heaven there will be no more sadness or crying or pain or sin. There is a great difference between life now on earth and the life to come in heaven!

Prayer:
God of grace and mercy, you have given me so much more than I realize. Thank you for all your blessings to me, but thank you most for helping me—for saving me—through your Son, Jesus Christ. 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

Worth the Sacrifice – September 25, 2016

Sun, Sep 25, 2016

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”
Mark 9:43-44

Worth the Sacrifice
Daily Devotion – September 25, 2016

Devotion based on Mark 9:43-44
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160925dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

There are certain lessons which make me wonder, “Why did Jesus say that?” Did he really mean “cut off my hand?” What happens as sin continues in my life? Does the other hand get cut off? Do the arms, feet, legs, and finally, the head follow?

Jesus is not teaching self-mutilation. Nor does he teach that this will get me into heaven. Instead his lesson makes very clear the danger of sin—that if I continue in the course of sin, it can destroy my faith, separate me from God, and land me in hell frever.

My sinful thoughts and desires lead my hands to offend and my eyes to lust and my feet to stray from the way God teaches me to live. And I admit that I am prone to commit some particular sins. This is why Jesus uses the illustration of “cutting off one’s hand.” My Lord teaches me that to avoid falling into them, I need to separate myself from them.

Doctors take no pleasure in amputating arms and legs that are hopelessly infected; they only do it to save the patient’s life. Jesus is talking about spiritual surgery. For my eternal good, he tells me to cut myself off from sinful habits and turn away from sinful practices.

I know too well, though, how difficult it is to deny myself something that my sinful heart desires or refuse to follow where my sinful desires urge me to go. But I can do this through Jesus who gives me strength. I can make this kind of sacrifice by trusting in Jesus’ undeserved and sacrificial love for me. His love brought him to this earth to live under the demands of his Father’s holy Law—he never gave in to the temptations to sin. His love led him to the cross to suffer and die to take away my guilt for all the times that I do give in to sin. His love drove him to endure the very pains of death and hell so I could have eternal life.

Jesus’ love lifts me up and gives me the strength to deny what my sinful heart tells me is precious or profitable. Jesus’ love leads me to follow him regardless of the cost, because when all is said and done, it is worth the sacrifice.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship: 125)
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ, my God.
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a tribute far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.


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

Wash Your Hands – September 24, 2016

Sat, Sep 24, 2016

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:8

Wash Your Hands
Daily Devotion – September 24, 2016

Devotion based on James 4:8
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160924dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

A hospital in our area has a special unit for premature babies. Before you enter this unit there is a washing station. Above the washing station there is a sign for everyone to see. The sign simply says this: “If you could see the germs, you’d wash your hands.”

That sign says a great deal in just a few words. It declares that if you and I could only see the masses of dangerous germs crawling over our hands, we’d recognize what deadly business these germs can be and we’d do what’s necessary to wash them away.

Sin can be like that. Our noses can get so used to the stench of our sinful habits that we can’t even smell them anymore. Our ears can get so used to the ungodly screech of our sinful thoughts that we can’t even hear it anymore. And our eyes can grow so accustomed to the bacterium of sin crawling over us and through us that we can’t even see it anymore.

“Wash your hands, you sinners,” James tells us. But how? And with what?

When it comes to your sin and mine, the answer is not some antiseptic that squirts out of a hospital dispenser. When it comes to your sin and mine, the answer is blood, the blood of the Son of God.

Jesus saw our filthy hands, our sinful hands. He knew we were helpless to wash them clean. And so he did what we needed him to do. He sacrificed himself; he shed his blood to wash away our sins. His blood cleanses us. It makes your life and mine fresh and forgiven, clean and new.

And so let’s wash our hands every day. Wash them in the cleansing blood of our Savior, for “the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purifies us of all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, it is your blood that washes me clean. Move me by your Spirit to come to you every day. 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

The Most Amazing Kind of Love – September 23, 2016

Fri, Sep 23, 2016

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15,17

The Most Amazing Kind of Love
Daily Devotion – September 23, 2016

Devotion based on 1 John 2:15,17
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160923dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Do not love the world or anything in the world.” Could God have asked anything more difficult of us? There are so many things in this world to love! Good things. Bad things. Things that we need. Things that we want. Things that we have no business longing for.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world.” What are you in danger of loving too much? Perhaps it is money and things money can buy. Maybe it is the new all-terrain vehicle or fishing boat that you just can’t live without. Then again, maybe it is the praise and admiration of your coworkers and the image that you portray for all to see. Or is it your family? Your love for them is so great that it dwarfs even the love you have for your Savior. Just maybe, the one that you are in danger of loving too much is you. So much so that you will do whatever it is that makes you happy and makes you feel good, even if it goes against God’s will for you as his child.

The danger in loving this world and the things of this world is that such love replaces the love we ought to have for God. If we are found to love the world above God, we will miss out on an eternity with our Savior in heaven.

God had a different kind of love for the people of this world. It wasn’t an idolatrous kind of love, rather a saving kind of love. “God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s love for you in Jesus is the most amazing kind of love there is. It moved him to sacrifice Jesus in your place in order to win for you an eternity of peace and joy in heaven. This love will never end and you will continue to bask in it forever and ever.

Keep that in mind the next time you are falling in love with the things of this world. None of those worldly possessions will last. The only love that endures to eternity is the love God has for us in Jesus. Love him above all else today and every day.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, heavenly Father, thank you for your love for me in Christ Jesus. Help me always to love you first and best. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in September, October, and November are based on the book of 1 John.

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

I Write to You – September 22, 2016

Thu, Sep 22, 2016

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.
I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
1 John 2:12-14

I Write to You
Daily Devotion – September 22, 2016

Devotion based on 1 John 2:12-14
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160922dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

There is something special about receiving a personal letter from someone who loves you. I don’t know about you, but whenever I receive a personal letter from someone near and dear to me, it’s the first piece of mail that I open.

If you are like me, then I have good news for you! Someone near and dear to you has written a personal message for you. Every time you open the pages of the Bible, you get to hear the voice of your loving God writing to you. He really emphasizes that in these verses. Six times he says, “I write to you…”

Part of the joy of receiving a personal letter is reading what a loved has to say. So what does your loving God have to say to you? He writes to tell you who he is. You might think, “I already know who God is.” That’s great! But God also writes because he knows who you are too.

As a sinful person, God writes to tell you that your sins have been forgiven. And he wants you to know why they have been forgiven. You are not forgiven because of anything you have done, but for the sake of Jesus and what he has done! God also writes to tell you, whether you are young or old, that he’s been around since the beginning and he will keep you strong until the end. As you age, he doesn’t. As you face new challenges and temptations with every age and stage of life, he keeps Jesus’ victory over the evil one fresh in your heart all along the way.

God writes to you. Treasure his personal message. And then keep reading his Word, because he has much more to tell you!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you have written that I might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing I might have life in his name. Continue to strengthen my faith with the message of who you are and what that means for me now and forever. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in September, October, and November are based on the book of 1 John.

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 Bottom Line – September 21, 2016

Wed, Sep 21, 2016

Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”—skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat. The LORD has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.”
Amos 8:4–7

The Bottom Line
Daily Devotion – September 21, 2016

Devotion based on Amos 8:4–7
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160921dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What’s the bottom line? It’s a powerful motivator.

700 years before Jesus was born, God’s people were motivated by the bottom line. The LORD gave them the Sabbath Day and the New Moon Festival, to help them focus their hearts on him. But they didn’t care about worshiping the LORD. Those sacred festivals were just speed-bumps in their money-making schedule. So they grudgingly shut down business. But when those rest-days were over, they were back at it—price-gouging, short-changing, exploiting. They didn’t care about their fellow Israelites or the poor among them.

But the LORD did care. The LORD promised under oath that he was keeping careful track of all his people’s sins.

What’s the bottom line in your life? Serving God? Taking time to feed your faith with God’s Word? Serving people around you who need your help? Or do your money concerns cut into concern for God and his Word, and for those around you?

God promised on oath to keep track of all those sins.

But that’s good news. He did keep track of all people’s sins, of all your sins. He totaled them all up, and handed the bill to his own Son. Jesus went to the cross to settle up. He gave his own innocent life, his holy, precious blood, to pay for the sins of the world, to pay for your sins.

So what’s the bottom line? Zero sin remains on your account with God. He has forgiven all of it through Jesus! Jesus rose from death to prove it!

And that’s a powerful motivator! The bottom line of forgiveness sets you free to devote your heart and concern for serving God and the people around you.

Prayer:
Lord, forgive my materialistic motivations. Thank you for wiping out my debt of sin through Jesus. Focus my heart and life on you. Use me to help those around 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

A Better Place – September 20, 2016

Tue, Sep 20, 2016

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
1 Timothy 2:1-6

A Better Place
Daily Devotion – September 20, 2016

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 2:1-6
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160920dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“What can I do to make this world a better place?” A look at the sad, scary state of current events, both local and worldwide, can lead one to wonder, “Is there really anything I can do that will make a difference?”

Yes, there is. The apostle Paul says to us, “Pray.” Paul urges us to pray for everyone. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, citizens of our country and for people around the world. Pray.

Especially pray for all those in authority. Pray for local authorities and national authorities. And pray for kings and authorities around the world. Whether it is the authorities at home or abroad, Paul doesn’t say, “Ridicule them.” He doesn’t say, “Put them down.” He doesn’t say, “Make sure everyone knows their faults.” He says, “Pray for them.” Pray for them so we can live peaceful and quiet lives.

When we live peaceful and quiet lives, we can live in all godliness and holiness. And then we can proclaim the real difference-maker, Jesus. God wants all people to be saved. That happens when people come to a knowledge of the truth. Not just any truth, but the truth that Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and people. The truth that Jesus Christ is the one who has established peace between God and all people. The truth that Jesus Christ is the one who has opened heaven for us. He did that by giving himself as a ransom, by taking our sins upon himself, by offering his body and blood for us on the cross.

Life with Jesus—that’s what truly makes this world a better place.

Prayer:
Lord God, guide and bless all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Then guide and bless us as we proclaim Jesus, the difference-maker for this life and for eternity. 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

Merciless Master vs. Gracious God – September 19, 2016

Mon, Sep 19, 2016

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Luke 16:13

Merciless Master vs. Gracious God
Daily Devotion – September 19, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 16:13
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160919dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

We tend to live urgently. Deadlines, high-priority messages, and target dates have many of us working at an unsustainable pace. When we finally catch our breath, we wonder how we’ll survive the next big push.

Pressing deadlines and demanding supervisors make it challenging to have a life outside of work. Often we try to do two things at once—or more! We bring our phones to the dinner table. We reply to emails during soccer games. Even when we’re finally unplugged, date night is ruined by the overflow of office stress. What is the return on our investment? Divided attention, disappointment, and sometimes even divorce. Our closest relationships suffer the most when work and life are not properly aligned.

So why do we live this way? Money is enticing because it offers potential. If we had more, we could do more. More money means a better house or car. To us, better stuff means a better life.

Jesus warns that money is a merciless master. Serving money will destroy you because it always demands more. More of your time. More of your skills. More of your energy. More of you.
Money wants exactly what God wants—you. That’s why Jesus says “You cannot serve both God and money.”

God and money interact with you in polar-opposite and incompatible ways. God never makes totalitarian demands to get the best of you. Rather, our Lord is totally devoted to giving you what is eternally best. So he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into this world of pride and selfishness, greed and self-indulgence to make the supreme sacrifice. The Son of God became our servant. The Lord of all glory, power, and wealth made himself humble, weak, and poor so that he could give us his greatest treasure—his righteousness. He died on the cross for all our sins to freely give us what money could never buy—eternal life in heaven. In Christ, we’ve traded in urgency and pressure for unconditional love and lasting peace.

Moved by our Lord’s unconditional love, our eyes will be locked on Jesus; we will serve him, not on our hectic schedules. Our closest relationships can blossom because work and eternal life are properly aligned. Even when the pace quickens, God directs our focus heavenward and transforms our attitudes toward the temporal. We’re content with our present circumstances. We’re excited about our eternal future. We rest without anxiety. In Christ, we enjoy unmatched peace.

Prayer:
Lord of life, you continue to take care of all my needs. Thank you. Give me peace and fulfillment as I serve you in my workplace and my home, in my community and in my church. 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

Imitating Jesus – September 18, 2016

Sun, Sep 18, 2016

[Jesus and his disciples] came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Mark 9:33-35

Imitating Jesus
Daily Devotion – September 18, 2016

Devotion based on Mark 9:33-35
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160918dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

During his earthly ministry Jesus used a number of unique pictures to describe himself. These were usually preceded by the words, “I am.” With them Jesus not only united himself with his Father (John 14:10-11), he also revealed what he came to do. Consider just a few of those pictures. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). “I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12). “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11). Each conveys a vivid picture of Jesus, and an important truth regarding his precious work. Still, there was one statement he never made. The words “I am the greatest” were never uttered by him. Everything Jesus did revealed he was the “servant of all” (Mark 10:45).

It is Jesus’ title of servant of all which offers me great comfort and peace. As true God and true Man Jesus was the perfect Savior I, and all people, needed. He served me by earning the perfect obedience I could never attain. He served me by securing the forgiveness I never deserve. He served me by offering eternal life even though I was dead in my trespasses and sin. He further served me by sending his Holy Spirit to lead me to trust him and his precious work.

It is also Jesus’ title of servant of all which moves me to serve and praise him in love. In love for the Twelve Jesus gave them an alternate way to live their lives. The disciples were not immune from the influence of the world. They craved the title of greatest. They longed to have others serve them. They believed they deserved more because of the status they held as Jesus’ disciples. Jesus showed them this was not his way. Instead of desiring to be great, Jesus told them to imitate him as the servant of all. Jesus tells me the same thing.

While Jesus’ words war with my flesh and with the perspective of this world, I know this is one way I can thank, praise and love him. Simply put, I trust the undeserved love he showed me, and I love others. I trust the selfless service he offered me, and I serve others. I trust the humility by which he reached out to me, and I reach out to others.

It is said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” While my desire is to imitate Jesus, it is not simply to flatter him. It is to live for him who first served me and rescued me.

Prayer:
O precious Savior, you came as my faithful servant. Help me live a life of love and faithful service devoted to you, and directed to all people. 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

Wisdom – September 17, 2016

Sat, Sep 17, 2016

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
James 3:13

Wisdom
Daily Devotion – September 17, 2016

Devotion based on James 3:13
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160917dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In 2007, a man by the name of Dan Dewey was sitting next to his elderly father in a hospital in Pontiac, Michigan. His father had leukemia, and every week Dan took him to the hospital to receive chemotherapy. As he sat there, he offered to get his dad a treat—a flavored coffee from a local Starbucks. Before he left, Dan looked around the room at all the other people who were enduring the same ordeal his father was. He decided to bring each of them a flavored coffee, too.

Dan has been doing it ever since. Every single week. He accepts no money from the patients. He simply sees his coffee run as a chance to show kindness to someone else.

That true story goes a long way to illustrate what God’s Word means when it talks about wisdom. I might think of wisdom as a series of profound sayings coming from a mysterious mystic on top of a mountain. The Lord is much more real. The Lord describes wisdom in terms of how I live my life, by the deeds I do to touch the lives of others.

The Lord’s view of wisdom involves deeds done in…humility. And that’s where Christ comes in. When I stand at the foot of the cross, when I understand that it was my sin for which Jesus died, when I realize that my life is full and fresh and forgiven because of what my Savior has done on my behalf—that’s when real wisdom begins. That’s when I begin to see my life as a beautiful chance to thank the Lord for what he has done. That’s when I begin to see my life as a precious string of opportunities to thank my Savior by touching the lives of others.

Maybe someone in your life needs a cup of coffee today. Or maybe a listening ear. Or maybe just a kind word. Take a moment to fill that need. That’s what wisdom is.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, so often I have led a busy life instead of a wise one. Forgive me. Renew my heart. Fill my life with deeds done in the humility that comes from the wisdom of knowing you as my Savior. 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

Live in the Light—Live in Love – September 16, 2016

Fri, Sep 16, 2016

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
1 John 2:7-11

Live in the Light—Live in Love
Daily Devotion – September 16, 2016

Devotion based on 1 John 2:7-11
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160916dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Picture John in the upper room with the other disciples. Jesus is there too—the night before his suffering and death. That night John saw and heard many things. Among them John heard Jesus say, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). That was a night John would never forget, and those were words John would always remember. It was a message he would share with the recipients of his first letter, and through this letter, with you: Live in the light, and live in love.

Too often those who claim to be children of God show by their words and actions that they are not. Their hateful words and actions show that they are living and walking in darkness. They are blind and lost. Likewise, all too often, those who are children of God are tempted to live as though they were not. Those who praise God on Sunday morning are tempted to say and do unkind, even hateful things on Sunday afternoon.

To you John says: Live in the light, and live in love. That life of love is seen in Jesus. It is seen as the eternal Son of God became the infant son of Mary. It is seen as he miraculously changed water into wine and revealed his glory. It is seen as he spoke to Nicodemus about God’s love for the world, and to the Samaritan woman about God’s love for her. It is seen in his healing and feeding and teaching and defending and confronting. It is seen as he weeps and cries out at the grave of a friend, and as his empty grave cries out with victory over sin and death. It is seen as he washes his disciples’ feet with a basin of water, and as he washes away sin with his precious, atoning blood.

And now, because Jesus, the true Light, is shining in your heart, you too can love others as Jesus loved others. You can love others as Jesus loved you. This side of heaven your love won’t be perfect, but in Christ it can be Christ-like—in selflessness, in service, in kindness, in compassion—in love that not only lives in the moment, but lives with an eternal perspective, for yourself and for those you interact with each day.

Dear friends, let this be your goal today: to live in the light, and live in Christ-like love.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as you have loved me, so enable me to love others. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in September, October, and November are based on the book of 1 John.

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

You Have an Advocate – September 15, 2016

Thu, Sep 15, 2016

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2

You Have an Advocate
Daily Devotion – September 15, 2016

Devotion based on 1 John 2:1-2
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160915dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

A criminal defense attorney said that the most frequent question he is asked is: “Why do you defend people you know are guilty?” Normally he responds that he doesn’t consider himself to be a successful attorney only if his client never sees the inside of a prison. He admitted that most of his clients are guilty of something. “However,” he went onto say that, “not every person charged with a crime is treated fairly.” Under the law, even criminals have rights; they have rights that are sometimes violated or ignored. The attorney said that his goal is to make sure every person is treated fairly under the law. That way, he can be successful whether his client is found to be innocent or guilty.

The Bible describes Jesus as an advocate; someone who, like a lawyer, comes to the defense of someone. And the Bible says that those whom Jesus chooses to defend are those who sin. In other words, he chooses to defend us; individuals who are most certainly guilty of pride, hate, arrogance, greed, and any number of other sins God’s law condemns

But he not only defends us, knowing we are guilty of sin. He also does something even the very best criminal defense attorney wouldn’t. He volunteers to take our punishment. Not by sitting in a prison. But by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins on a cross.

And the reason he did that is to give you rights. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, you have the God-given right to walk through life knowing you are forgiven. You have the right to be released from the heavy burden of guilt you’ve been carrying. You have the right to know that God loves you, no matter how you have sinned. You have the right to know that you will always have an advocate who will come to your defense and will always win.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for being our advocate. Help us to live today in the judgment of freedom and forgiveness you won for us with your sacrifice on the cross. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in September, October, and November are based on the book of 1 John.

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

Jesus is Our Perfect Mediator – September 14, 2016

Wed, Sep 14, 2016

The LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “O LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.'” Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
Exodus 32:7-14

Jesus is Our Perfect Mediator
Daily Devotion – September 14, 2016

Devotion based on Exodus 32:7-14
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160914dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The Almighty had shown perfect faithfulness: He rescued his people from slavery in Egypt, delivered them from Pharaoh’s pursuing army by dividing the waters of the Red Sea and entered into a special relationship with his people—a covenant relationship—at Mt. Sinai. The Israelites responded with white-hot betrayal: they turned away from God to worship an idol made of gold and cast in the form of a calf.

But there was Moses. “He sought the favor of the LORD his God.” He approached the Almighty to plead for his people, and God in his mercy did not bring the disaster he had threatened.

Here’s where we come in. The Lord still shows us perfect faithfulness and we still respond by worshipping “golden calves.” Our idols might look a little different, but our lack of love and dedication to our Creator is the same. Like Israel, our destruction is well-deserved.

But there is Jesus. He pleads for his people… for us… for you. He stands between us and the white-hot wrath of God. God’s perfect justice and his love for the world came together as Jesus hung on the cross and cried out, “Father, forgive them!”

Nothing is more important than this. If you don’t have peace with God, then disaster awaits. But in Christ Jesus, that peace is yours—now and always.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, you cried out, “Father, forgive them!” as you suffered on the cross for my sins. Fill my heart with the peace that comes from knowing your salvation. 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

Mercy – September 13, 2016

Tue, Sep 13, 2016

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy…The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly.
1 Timothy 1:13-14

Mercy
Daily Devotion – September 13, 2016

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 1:13-14
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160913dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

One of the classic tales in all of literature is Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. If you’ve read the book, or seen the musical, or seen the movie, there is a moment you quickly do not forget. The moment involves the main character, a man by the name of Jean Valjean.

The story is set in France in the early 1800’s. Jean Valjean has just gotten out of prison, and no one wants to help him in any way. Finally, however, he finds refuge with an elderly bishop, who happily gives him shelter and food. But Valjean’s old habits get the better of him, and during the night he fills a bag with the bishop’s silver and runs away.

Next morning, three policemen pound on the bishop’s door. They’ve caught Valjean with the bishop’s silver. They now have cause to lock him up for life. But the bishop responds in a surprising way. “So here you are!” he cries to Valjean. “I’m delighted to see you. Had you forgotten I gave you the candlesticks as well?”

The policemen are speechless. And so is Valjean. The officers have no choice but to release him and walk away. This single act of mercy spares him from a lifetime in prison. And it also changes his life.

Les Miserables, of course, is only a story. But God’s mercy for you and me in Jesus Christ is not. The apostle Paul openly confessed that, apart from Christ, he had been “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.” Then God’s mercy stepped in. By the power of the gospel, the Holy Spirit created within Paul the miracle of faith in Jesus as his Savior. That act of mercy spared Paul from a lifetime of darkness. And it changed his whole outlook on life.

You and I can see ourselves in Jean Valjean. And we can see ourselves in Paul. Alone, you and I are lost. But God’s mercy has intervened. And God’s mercy is here because of what his Son has already done on our behalf to wash us clean.

The mercy of God. The pure, simple, sweet mercy of God in Jesus. Paul never forgot it. Nor can you and I.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, your mercy has rescued us from a life of darkness and despair. You have done this through faith in your Son. Move us to bask in this always. 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

Love for the Lost – September 12, 2016

Mon, Sep 12, 2016

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear [Jesus]. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Luke 15:1-2

Love for the Lost
Daily Devotion – September 12, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 15:1-2
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160912dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“This man welcomes sinners.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were aghast that Jesus would actually do something like this. They wouldn’t. They would do everything they could to steer clear of such people. Jesus, on the other hand, couldn’t do enough for sinners. He had a genuine love for the lost. It is that love for which I am thankful.

It would be easy to adopt the attitude of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Certainly, I try to live my life in the best way possible. I try to be good, kind and understanding to all. There are times, however, when I only go so far. There are some people with whom I refuse to associate. As a matter of fact, I won’t even acknowledge them because they are not like me. I may even be tempted to think I am better than they are.

When I am tempted to believe I am better than others, Jesus opens my eyes to see that I am no different than the Pharisees and teachers of the law. How can I assume others are “worse” than me? I need to return to the truth that Jesus loves the lost. I also need to acknowledge that Jesus’ love for the lost started with me.

It is easy to forget that at one time I too was lost. I was just like every other sinner. I was disobedient, contemptible, and under God’s just judgment. It wasn’t until Jesus in his love for the lost rescued me. He searched for me. He found me. He cleansed me. He even adopted me and made me an heir of heaven. His love for me as one of the lost didn’t come because I was better than anyone else. Nor did his love become mine because of all the wonderful things I would do. His love for me, as well as for everyone who is lost, is unconditional, unmerited, and undeserved.

There is no greater joy than to know Jesus loves the lost, and Jesus loves me.

Prayer:
O gracious and loving Savior, how can I ever thank you for your love! Your love rescued me when I was lost, and made me yours forever. Accept my thanks, my praise, and my devotion as the only gift I can give. 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

Living Faith – September 11, 2016

Sun, Sep 11, 2016

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
James 2:8-10, 14-18

Living Faith
Daily Devotion – September 11, 2016

Devotion based on James 2:8-10, 14-18
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160911dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What does natural gas look like? What do sound waves look like? What does wind look like?

Those are hard questions to answer because those things are invisible. They are impossible to recognize—at least with your eyes. But with other senses you can find those things. With your nose you can smell the odor that is added to natural gas. With your ears you can identify the howling wind or the presence of sound waves. Even though these things are invisible, you can identify their presence in other ways.

James tells us that faith is the same way. Faith is invisible. You can’t see it in people’s hearts, but there are other ways to tell if it is there. James tells us that a person’s good works are an indicator that they have a living faith. You can’t see faith on the inside, but it can be seen in action on the outside as people live out their faith. As parents faithfully raise their children in the way of the Lord, as workers honestly devote themselves to being the best employees that they can be, as a friend shares the precious message of Jesus as Savior from sin, invisible faith is made visible. When activity is carried out to God’s glory and praise, faith can be seen on the outside.

However, we don’t always let the outside of our lives reflect what is inside. Too often it’s hurtful words of gossip and slander that appear on the outside. Too often we let shine our desires to serve ourselves instead of the expression of faith to help others. But it’s at those times that we can be thankful for another thing that is invisible—love. The love that filled Jesus’ heart for people showed by words he spoke and actions he did. In love he lived for us, perfectly obeying God’s law! In love he gave his innocent life to earn the world’s forgiveness! In love he went to the cross, and in love he still rules and reigns for us. We can’t see that love in his heart, but we can see it in the acts of love that he puts on display for us.

And God has filled the hearts of his believers with that love. He has blessed them with his free gift of faith. Let’s seek to make that invisible gift visible, that through us the world might see God’s love.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for the privilege of serving you and showing my faith on the outside. Enable me to live out my faith in all that I do today! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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

Live a Life of Thankfulness – September 10, 2016

Sat, Sep 10, 2016

The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
Isaiah 50:5-6

Live a Life of Thankfulness
Daily Devotion – September 10, 2016

Devotion based on Isaiah 50:5-6
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160910dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus had quite the job description, didn’t he? God the Father sent Jesus his Son into our world with these instructions: “Son, live a perfect life in every thought, every word, every deed, every second of every day. Then suffer at the hands of your enemies and die a painful and humiliating death on a cross.”

Could you have blamed Jesus at all if he would have departed the glories of heaven with just a bit of reluctance, or if he would have abandoned such a mission all together? Could you have blamed him if his response would have been; “Really, Father? Place myself under the law? Suffer and die a painful and humiliating death? No thanks, Father! Find someone else!”

Yet Jesus our Savior knew that if he did not come to fulfill his Father’s mission, you and I would still be lost in our sins, condemned to spend the rest of eternity separated from God’s love in hell.

So he came. And he did not come with reluctance, kicking and screaming like a rebellious child. He wanted so badly to save us from our sins, he came with perfect willingness. Though he was tempted in every way, just as we are, he was never rebellious. Though Satan pressed him to abandon his mission at every turn, he did not draw back. When his enemies lifted their hands to beat him, he offered his back to them. When God’s wrath for the sins of the world rested upon him, he did not hide his face.

Jesus carried out the mission on which his Father sent him with perfect willingness and unyielding determination because his love for us is perfect and unyielding. Because he did, his perfect life has been credited to us. Because he did, his death counts for ours. Through faith in him, we will live with him in the glories of heaven forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, your perfect willingness to live and die for us has saved us from our sins. Live in us today, that we may lead willing lives of thankfulness 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