WELS Daily Devotions

Devotion - July 22, 2014

21 hours 19 mi

Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:1b-11


Sometimes we hear that we are forgiven and we still feel bad. When I was little and that happened to me, my dad would say, “Remember your baptism.” But I couldn’t remember it. When I got older, I realized that Dad meant, “Remember that you are baptized.”   

Baptism is not just simple water. It is water used by God’s command and connected to God’s Word. Baptism has great power. When people are baptized according to the command of God, they are connected to Christ. So what is true of Jesus Christ is also true of baptized people.

Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment for the sins of the world. Baptized people have their sins forgiven through faith in Jesus. They can count themselves dead to sin.

Jesus rose from the dead. Transcending time, God sees that baptized people have already risen from the dead. Baptized people live new lives in Christ. Their sins are forgiven and their deeds of love are the way that God works in the world. Baptized people can count themselves alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, when I hear that I am forgiven and I still feel bad, remind me that I am baptized, and keep me close to Jesus. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - July 22, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 21, 2014

Mon, Jul 21, 2014

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 10:37-39

Whom do you love?

These words of Jesus may be a bit difficult to comprehend, especially if you’ve ever held your own child in your arms. The love which parents, especially new parents, have for their child is something that can hardly be described. It’s overwhelming. It’s profound. Some find the greatest joy in these moments.

Something more…perhaps you’ve been there as your mother or father or sibling is passing away. You’re filled with another kind of profound love and care for them. It’s overwhelming and profound to a different degree, and yet it is still love.

Now, as you consider the words of Jesus once again, you have to ask yourself, “Is my love for my child, parent, sibling…greater than my love for Jesus?” If so, Jesus’ words cut deeply. In truth, we are breaking the very First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods,” if we are loving people more than we love Jesus. The results of this are eternally damning.

Let’s consider this from heaven’s eternal viewpoint. Everything we have is a gift from God–a gift that is best viewed “on loan.” Our parents are his. Our children are his. The material things we have are his, on loan to us for a time. If we love the gifts and not the giver of the gifts, we are idol worshippers and will lose our life.

Jesus had it all, and yet he gave it all up. He is the eternal Son of God who gave up the glory of heaven to come to this world where he died destitute–all because he loved God above all else. He truly is the only one who has earned the title “worthy.” Yet, by grace alone, through faith alone, he forgives our sins and calls us worthy! Whoever loves him and believes in him HAS eternal life.

What astonishing love Jesus has for us! What an amazing gift he has given to us! In love he gives us eternal life—a gift that far surpasses all material gifts. May his love lead us to love him above all else–always.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, help me to love you more and more each day. Thank you for all the gifts you have given me. 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 - July 21, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 18, 2014

Fri, Jul 18, 2014

Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Proverbs 11:4


If you’ve ever discovered a rabbit’s nest in the middle of your lawn, maybe you’ve wondered: why did that rabbit choose this spot? Even apart from an animal’s lack of reasoning power, you would think that her instincts would lead her to a safer place. Didn’t she consider how vulnerable she and her babies would be to predators? Didn’t she notice the humans living nearby?

We all need a place to go where we feel secure and at peace. We need a nest. So we work hard, like a rabbit digging a hole. We make money. We buy the things that our hearts desire. And we burrow in, thinking that all will be well. But when we stop and look around, we find that we are not in the safe and peaceful place we thought we would be. Wealth comes and goes. So does the happiness that it brings.

We all do it. We try to dig a permanent nest in a place where we will never find peace. This is worse than foolish. We are guilty of the sin of greed. This is serious because greed is idolatry. It is the worship of a false god called wealth. How easily we forget that a day is coming when we will meet our Maker!

Left to ourselves, we would never know where to find security and peace. So God dug a nest for us, where nothing can ever harm us. Jesus was righteous for us. His righteousness counts for us. His righteousness covers our greed and every other sin. In Jesus, we are safe. In Jesus, we have peace. No enemy can take that away from us. Not even death can harm us now.

All that digging….all that striving...all that chasing…what joy it is to know that Jesus has already given us all we need!

Prayer: 

Dear Lord Jesus, your righteousness covers my sin. In you, I am safe and at peace. I am home. Thank you! Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 18, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 17, 2014

Thu, Jul 17, 2014

The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.

Proverbs 11:1


“Honesty is the best policy,” it is said. God agrees! But dishonesty has been pervasive in the world ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin by listening to Satan’s lies. Jesus said of Satan, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 9:44). Throughout our lives, Satan tempts us to follow his lies to act and speak dishonestly.

Ask yourself: “What have I done or failed to do when it comes to being a person of integrity? Do I make good on my promises? Do I withhold information from others to cover up the way I’ve behaved? Do I lie to my parents or others in authority because I don’t want to disappoint them or be disciplined? Do I fudge on my tax return? Do I cheat people? Do I put in an honest day’s labor for my wages or do I slack off when the boss isn’t looking?
 
Any manner of dishonesty is displeasing to God: “The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” The LORD is the “God of truth” (Psalm 31:5) who “does not lie” (Titus 1:2). Jesus, true God, proclaimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus, who while on trial before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, declared unequivocally: “For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). 
 
Who will you listen to? Will you follow Satan’s deceptive lies which lead to death—eternal death in hell? Or will you listen to Jesus, the voice of Truth? Jesus invites you: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). “Come,” the voice of Truth beckons. Come to the foot of his cross and lay down the heavy burden of your sin, including the guilt of every deceitful action and dishonest word. Then rise up, renewed by his pardon, filled with his peace, and reassured that Jesus loves you unconditionally!”

Prayer: 

(Psalm 25:4-5):
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 17, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 16, 2014

Wed, Jul 16, 2014

I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. I hear many whispering, "Terror on every side! Report him! Let's report him!" All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, "Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him." But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten. O LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous and probe the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause. Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.

Jeremiah 20:7-13


The question is whether to be silent or to speak. When you see so much immorality and injustice in the world, do you gain anything by speaking up about it? The prophet Jeremiah wondered. The culture of his time was in steep decline. He wondered if he should say anything.

But the word of the Lord was in his heart like a fire, so he risked ridicule and was honest about what was right and wrong. He counted on the Lord to rescue him from the wicked. He counted on the Lord to send the Savior.

We sing and give praise to the Lord our Savior. His word is like a fire in our hearts, and so we speak what the Bible says is right and wrong, calling people to repentance, so that they can hear the wonderful message of forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus.

Prayer: 

Lord God, give me the opportunity and the courage to speak your word so that others can hear about the Savior from me. 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 - July 16, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 15, 2014

Tue, Jul 15, 2014

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned...But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

Romans 5:12,15

More Certain than Death

In a 1789 letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

A famous and often-quoted statement, but not entirely true.

Taxes cannot be said to be certain. Ruling authorities may or may not require the payment of taxes. And when taxes are required, they can be avoided—sometimes legally, sometimes illegally. There may be consequences, but they can be avoided.

Death, on the other hand, is certain; it’s unavoidable. The Bible tells us that death came to all people. That happened when the first man, Adam, sinned. The result for Adam was death, “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The result for us and all people is also death, for we are all born in Adam’s image—we are born sinful, and the wages of sin is still death.

Death reigns. People die. Benjamin Franklin got that right. Yet there is something more certain than death. What’s that? God’s grace and the gift that comes by his grace through Jesus. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

God’s grace to you is absolutely certain. It is embodied in the person of his Son. It is enacted through Jesus’ life. It is sealed in Jesus’ blood. It is guaranteed by his resurrection from the dead. And it is yours! By faith in Jesus the gift of eternal life is yours!

God’s gift of life through Jesus is more certain indeed! The Word of God says, “The gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”

Prayer: 

O Lord, thank you for your undeserved love and the gift that comes by your grace—the gift of life through Jesus. May I live today in confidence, knowing that death has been overcome and life reigns. Through Jesus, Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - July 15, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 14, 2014

Mon, Jul 14, 2014

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Mathew 10:29-30

An Abiding Love

Does God really love me? Is he really concerned about my problems? Does he really hear my prayers? These questions tend to grow when the seeds of doubt and distress are planted, and when they are fully grown, they produce fear. I'm afraid when sickness comes. I'm afraid when problems arise. I'm even more afraid when death threatens. 

The answer to my doubts and fears is clear, but I may not always remember it. This is why I need to listen to God's promises, to trust his will for my life, and to rely on what God has done for me in Jesus.

A good starting point is when Jesus teaches his disciples about his abiding love. What is amazing is that he uses such a simple picture. Sparrows are plentiful, and they have seemingly little value. Still Jesus uses his Father's care for these tiny creatures as evidence of his abiding love. Think of it. Not one escapes God's loving oversight. Not one is uncounted. Not one is uncared for.

Jesus uses this picture to remind me how precious I am to God. He further adds that every hair on my head is numbered, and not one falls without his knowledge. This is the intimate assurance I need. There is no doubt Jesus has an abiding love for me, but if any doubt lingers still in my heart, then I go to his cross. There I see an even clearer display of his abiding love.

At the cross I see everything Jesus did for me. My guilt, my sorrow, my punishment–-all that was needed to free me from sin, death, and the devil–-Jesus endured in my place.  In his life, his death and his resurrection as my Substitute, Jesus displays his abiding love. Through faith I see his love is pure, limitless, and mine.

It is because of Jesus' abiding love that I can trust him and rely on his care. It is also why I don't have to be afraid.

Prayer: 

O blessed Jesus, how great is your mercy. How deep is your compassion. How amazing is your love. By means of your abiding love you rule over all things for my benefit. By the same love you also answer my doubts and remove my fears.  I rejoice in you, 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 - July 14, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 11, 2014

Fri, Jul 11, 2014

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.

Proverbs 10:28

What do you hope for?

Remember hoping for that car? Perhaps it was months or years. Perhaps it was a new car, or maybe a classic muscle car. You researched all the online websites. You read up on the pros and cons and finally you made the purchase. It was a happy day, but the days that followed were not quite as happy. The expenses started to add up. No matter how much you babied it, you couldn’t stop the grocery cart from running into it, the hail storm from pelting it, or some of it parts from failing. Your high hopes were coming to nothing but frustrations.

This scenario holds true for every earthly thing we set our hearts on, because in the end, it will all come to nothing. The Bible tells us “the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:10). In the same way the hopes of the wicked, that is, the unbelievers, will come to nothing because their hopes are not in God. As a result they too will be destroyed.

For what do we hope? On what do our thoughts linger? Too often it’s the things of this world, isn’t it? We are led to believe that the new job with more money or new clothes or new electronics will bring us lasting happiness and joy. Those are simply Satan’s lies, lies that, in the end, will come to nothing.

Proverbs 10:28 tells us there is hope, hope for the righteous, hope that will bring lasting joy. Those who put their hope and trust in Jesus, who believe in him as their Lord and Savior from sin, have a truly joyful hope and prospect for this life and the life to come. Jesus is our most priceless treasure. Putting our hope in him and his promises gives us absolute assurance that our sins are forgiven and heaven is ours.

Certainly the Lord has given us many wonderful gifts, even worldly ones.  But let us not treasure them over and above Jesus, our most priceless treasure. Jesus alone is our Joy!

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, keep me from craving the things of this world and help me to keep Jesus as my most priceless treasure. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 11, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 10, 2014

Thu, Jul 10, 2014

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Proverbs 10:19

"Measure twice, cut once," is an old carpenter's adage. How well we would do to apply it not only to pieces of lumber but also to our words. Words spew out of our mouth without careful thought. Once spoken, words are even more difficult to repair than wood cut too short.

Angry words attack. Selfish words belittle. Gossip ruins reputations. Reflect on the words you have recently spoken. How many were aimed to hurt? How many tore others down? How many did you regret saying, wishing you could take them back?

What about a lie that's told and then more lies to cover up that lie? It snowballs. "When words are many, sin is not absent." How often do we color the truth to paint ourselves a little better than we are?

Do we drag God's name into our sinful words, adding to our guilt? Does his name become an interjection to express anger, frustration or surprise? Do we think others won't take us at our word unless we invoke God's name? How guilty we are!

Did Jesus ever misuse his words? Never, not even once. When sin needed to be confronted, Jesus certainly spoke stern words, but not in selfish anger. Even his harshest warnings came from a heart longing for his hearers to turn from their sin and be saved. And what tender words of invitation Jesus speaks to our hearts burdened by guilt and weighed down by sin! "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Rather than using our words to bargain with God or to try to convince him that we're not all that bad, let's hold our tongues and listen. Our own words condemn us. But Jesus' words cover all our evil words. His perfect life in word and deed counts for us. Faith hears Jesus' resurrection speaking the final word: "Dear sinner, you are freely justified. You're sins are fully forgiven."

May all our words harmonize in tune with Jesus' melody!

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, forgive my many words that fall short. As I close my mouth and listen to your word, let it fill my heart and overflow from my mouth. Lead me to speak your truth with humility and love. 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 - July 10, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 9, 2014

Wed, Jul 09, 2014

After the Israelites set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.

Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, "We will do everything the LORD has said."

Exodus 19:2-8a

One way to define the word "hypocrite" is to say one thing and then do another. Accordingly, we all have to admit that we are hypocrites because we have not fully followed through on every word we've spoken.

In the same way, we could call the Israelites hypocrites. They had just received God's word through Moses from the top of Mount Sinai. Just months earlier God had delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh as they passed safely through the Red Sea. They were ready to do whatever the LORD their God said. Their hearts of faith were burning in love, fear and awe for the LORD. The LORD rescued them from slavery in Egypt and was leading them to the Promised Land! Yet, so many times thereafter they showed themselves to be unfaithful to the LORD. They said one thing, but did another.

Like the Israelites, I know the LORD. I know the wonderful, gracious, merciful things God has done for me by sending his Son Jesus to be my Savior. I certainly don't deserve such compassion through Jesus who has freed me from slavery to sin, death, and the devil. On top of that he has given me the sure hope of the heavenly, eternal Promise Land. My heart of faith can't help but respond: "I will live for and serve my God! I will do whatever he tells me in his Word!"

The reality for you and for me is that while we are on this side of heaven, we all have a sinful selfish nature that seeks not what God wants, but what WE want. This sinful nature, this old evil self is why we continue to fall into sin, even when we've told God that we won't do that anymore. We must recognize this enemy within us so that we learn there is only one source of help and rescue: God our Savior.

In humility we daily return to the LORD, the God of free and faithful grace, and confess our many sins. We confidently trust Jesus whose blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We gladly listen to God who holds open the door to the Promised Land of heaven. Then we rightly respond and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, strive daily to live according to his Word.

Prayer: 

LORD, you alone know my many faults, sins and shortcomings. Forgive me, O LORD, and renew my spirit each day that I may live for you more and more. 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 - July 9, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 8, 2014

Tue, Jul 08, 2014

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

When God Chose to Love Us

Some years ago, actor Harrison Ford starred in a motion picture entitled, Regarding Henry. Ford portrays a man by the name of Henry Turner. Henry is a successful Manhattan lawyer. He is also callous, cruel, adulterous, unethical and self-absorbed. His toxic personality made life miserable for his wife and daughter. The family is on the verge of collapse.

Then, something happens. Henry walks into a convenience store just as a robbery is about to take place. Bullets fly. Henry gets shot in the head. The trauma he sustains is severe. He nearly dies.

Many months pass. After much rehabilitation, Henry is able to walk and talk and function as before. But his memory of life before the shooting is still unclear. As he works to fit back into his old life, he slowly learns from others what kind of a man he had once been. The Henry who exists after the shooting discovers that he wants nothing to do with the Henry who existed before the shooting. He becomes a devoted husband, a caring father, a principled lawyer, a faithful friend.

Here’s a question: For which man would you rather die to save…the Henry who existed before the shooting, or the Henry who exists after the shooting?

Today’s Bible verse tells us that Christ died for us “while we were still sinners.” At a time when hearts of people contained nothing but the bitter bile of sin, at a time when we were all about us and wanted nothing to do with God–-at that time God chose to become one of us, to take on himself the punishment for our toxic lives, to die on the cross to wash us clean.

That’s the kind of love God has for you in Jesus. It doesn’t depend on what you do for him. It doesn’t depend on what you did for him. God’s love for you in Jesus flows from himself.

That simple truth makes me want to be like the Henry who exists after the shooting. No doubt that simple truth makes you want to do the same.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, at a time when I was nothing but sin, you died for me. Now I’m yours by faith alone. Move me by your Spirit to live my life for you. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - July 8, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 7, 2014

Mon, Jul 07, 2014

When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

A Compassionate Savior

"My God needs to be loving." Fred was adamant in describing what God should be like. "He should answer all my prayers. He should accept me the way I am. Finally he should let me into heaven because I have been a good person."

There are many people who want God to fit this kind of description. They feel he should respond to their every whim and desire. They want him to overlook most, if not all of their infractions. They also assume he should open wide the doors of heaven because they have been good people. While this may be what many want, Jesus offers a different picture of what it means to be a compassionate Lord and Savior.

Jesus' compassion for all people was evident in the way he responded to them and their needs. He saw people "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." He, then, acted accordingly to relieve their needs. This is an important picture because it is still applicable. Instead of me, as one of the Lord's sheep, directing the shepherd to do what I demand, the shepherd is always there doing what is best for me.

In compassion Jesus knows me and my life. He knows my challenges. He knows my troubles. He even knows the burden of guilt I carry. In compassion he responds to these needs and more. While I may not always understand his answer, I can always trust it will be the best for me. I can be confident of this because, as my compassionate Savior, he laid down his life for me. He lived and died so that I could know his undeserved love and boundless compassion. There is no clearer evidence of Jesus' love than this: the shepherd giving up his life for a harassed, helpless and wandering sheep such as me. This is the precious assurance I need to put my trust in Jesus, to faithfully follow him as my Shepherd, and in all things to joyfully acknowledge he is my compassionate Savior.

Prayer: 

O dearest and compassionate Savior, I rejoice in your love for me. I also rejoice in your tender, loving care. Keep me as your own until I arrive in the heavenly home you have prepared for me. 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 - July 7, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 4, 2014

Fri, Jul 04, 2014

Moses said, "Now show me your glory." And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."

Exodus 33:18-20

God’s Goodness

July 4th! Will you go to see fireworks tonight? Sing some patriotic songs? Clearly we in the U.S. thank God for the blessings which he's poured out upon us and our country.  And yet we also groan because of so much wrong in our country, so much activity that opposes the unchanging word and holy will of God. So perhaps we would pray, like Moses did, "God, show us your glory!" 

God answered Moses by saying, "I'll show you my goodness." Not glory. Goodness. Why? Because sinful human beings would die if they were to see the perfect glory of God. 

Instead, God—who is Love—shows us his goodness. We see it most clearly in Jesus who went to the cross to pay for our sins. What a "good" God we have, who rescued us from our sins, even paying for them himself! 

And ultimately, that's what you and I—and our country—need to see. We need to see God's forgiving love. We need to hear that God loves us now, that God loves us forever.  We need to see that God is gracious, compassionate, forgiving. Seeing God's goodness leads us to appreciate all the more his greatness and his might. 

So, go ahead! Enjoy the fireworks, the patriotic songs. But all the more, enjoy the goodness of God! Appreciate his forgiveness, his compassion, his love. Those bring real fireworks, fireworks for the soul!

Prayer: 

(From “God Our Refuge” produced by the WELS Commission on Special Ministries):
Lord of the nations, I praise you for the precious inheritance of this great land.
I pray that I and my fellow citizens might ever remain mindful of your blessings and rejoice to do your will.
Bless our nation with God-fearing leaders, honorable industry and peace from our enemies.
Preserve us from violence of every kind, from discord and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every other evil.
Defend our liberties and unite us as one people. Grant wisdom and integrity to all who are entrusted with positions of authority that there may be justice and peace, law and order throughout our great land.
Equip and embolden your church on earth to make good use of the blessings you have granted by promoting your gospel in every village and city. In times of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness.
In times of trouble, do not allow our trust in your providence to fail. 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 - July 4, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 3, 2014

Thu, Jul 03, 2014

To fear the LORD is to hate evil.

Proverbs 8:13a


The small child trembled as her father held her. It wasn’t terror, dread, or fright. For even her young heart knew that Daddy would keep her safe. Such power pulsed through his hands! How could she not tremble in awe and amazement?

True to his promise, the Lord opened his hand to rescue sinners. The Father opened his hand and gave his one and only Son. Jesus opened his hand and was pierced by nails, pierced for our sins. The Holy Spirit opened his hand to bring us into God’s family, reborn through Baptism. Such powerful love pulses through the hands of the Lord!

How can faith not tremble in the presence of such greatness? How can the believing heart not bow in holy fear and reverent awe? The hands of the almighty God hold us, fragile creatures. The hands of the Lord have rescued us, broken sinners. This is the fear of the Lord.

Why would we not love what he loves and hate what he hates? Yes, the sinful flesh within us rebels against his love and clings to what’s evil. But the Lord who rescued us is still powerfully at work in us. Does this too not cause us to tremble in holy awe and reverent fear? The Lord is powerfully at work in his people whom he called to faith through Jesus, so that we hate evil and flee from it.

We don’t cower like a slave, who figures he had better shape up and do his best or the master will beat him. Rather, we truly want to imitate our Father who has loved us so dearly. We hate what he hates. This includes hating that sinful nature within us along with its evil desires and deeds. We daily drown it so that our new self shines out to live in the fear of the Lord, the fear that trembles in awe at the great things he has done for us and continues to do in us. For you see, someone much greater than our earthly father holds us in his hands.

Prayer: 

O Lord, I tremble at the greatness of your love. Keep working in me both to will and to act according to your good purpose. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 3, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 2, 2014

Wed, Jul 02, 2014

“I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.”
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
“What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you. For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Hosea 5:15-6:6


“I’m so sorry you feel that way.” Have you ever heard those words? They sound kind of like an apology, but people saying them aren’t really admitting that they did anything wrong. No sorrow for what they did. No hint that they are going to change. Such an apology hardly brings us any peace of mind when we have been wronged. It is really just words.
 
The LORD was waiting for the Israelites to admit their guilt, to turn from their sin, and honestly seek him with their hearts. But their confession was just words: “Come let us return to the Lord.” Their hearts were not in it. They said nothing of their repeated attempts to trust in idols and alliances with foreign powers instead of the Lord. Instead they simply hoped that saying the right words would please God and he would bless them “like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” The LORD’s response shows us that he saw right through their lack of repentance and deep into their hearts, and what he found was nothing but empty words. The LORD wanted to have their hearts rather than all their offerings and sacrifices, but they were unwilling.

What a warning for us! God doesn’t want a thoughtless confession of our sins that never penetrates the surface. He isn’t satisfied with people who say all the right things, but really don’t mean them. He isn’t impressed with our church attendance, our offerings, or our service to others if these things are done because we think that they will win his favor and blessing. Instead God wants repentance. 

God doesn’t want you to treat his commands lightly and try to minimize your guilt. Instead he wants you to take his law so seriously that it tears you to pieces—that it leaves you with nothing of your own to hold onto. But then, even more than this, he wants you to see his faithful love and mercy in Jesus Christ and cling to the forgiveness that he has won for you on the cross. He wants to fill you with his love and mercy, so that you are able to return heartfelt love to him. 

Prayer: 

O Holy Spirit, continue to come to me through your Word and take away all apathy and indifference in my heart. Lead me to take God’s law seriously and repent of my sins, and then by your power move me to rejoice in the free and full forgiveness through Jesus. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - July 2, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 18, 2014

Tue, Jul 01, 2014

Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Proverbs 11:4


If you’ve ever discovered a rabbit’s nest in the middle of your lawn, maybe you’ve wondered: why did that rabbit choose this spot? Even apart from an animal’s lack of reasoning power, you would think that her instincts would lead her to a safer place. Didn’t she consider how vulnerable she and her babies would be to predators? Didn’t she notice the humans living nearby?

We all need a place to go where we feel secure and at peace. We need a nest. So we work hard, like a rabbit digging a hole. We make money. We buy the things that our hearts desire. And we burrow in, thinking that all will be well. But when we stop and look around, we find that we are not in the safe and peaceful place we thought we would be. Wealth comes and goes. So does the happiness that it brings.

We all do it. We try to dig a permanent nest in a place where we will never find peace. This is worse than foolish. We are guilty of the sin of greed. This is serious because greed is idolatry. It is the worship of a false god called wealth. How easily we forget that a day is coming when we will meet our Maker!

Left to ourselves, we would never know where to find security and peace. So God dug a nest for us, where nothing can ever harm us. Jesus was righteous for us. His righteousness counts for us. His righteousness covers our greed and every other sin. In Jesus, we are safe. In Jesus, we have peace. No enemy can take that away from us. Not even death can harm us now.

All that digging….all that striving...all that chasing…what joy it is to know that Jesus has already given us all we need!

Prayer: 

Dear Lord Jesus, your righteousness covers my sin. In you, I am safe and at peace. I am home. Thank you! Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 18, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 1, 2014

Tue, Jul 01, 2014

[Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God … being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Romans 4:20-21

Eyes of Love

There’s a story about a nighttime fire that started in a family’s house. The entire family escaped except for one child–-a young boy. The fire had forced him to keep climbing until he found himself on the roof. The boy was trapped. He could not go back downstairs–-the heat was too intense. The smoke around him was so thick that it left him disoriented and confused. The thought of jumping off that roof paralyzed him with fear. So he stood, and time was running out.

But then below him, in the darkness, beyond the smoke, there came a voice. It was the voice of his father. “Jump, Son, jump!” the father cried out. “Just jump, and I will catch you.” But the boy could not see his father. On that terrible roof, all he could see were flames, sparks, darkness and smoke. In a choking voice the boy sobbed, “I’m afraid to jump, Daddy. I can’t see you.”

It was then that the father cried out the one thing that made all the difference. “I know you can’t see me, Son,” the father said. “But I can see you.” That’s all the boy needed to hear. He jumped. His father caught him, and all was well.

Because of your sin and mine, life in this broken world is often like standing on the roof of a burning house. So much smoke, so much chaos, so much confusion–-it can paralyze us with fear.

But beyond the darkness comes the voice of our heavenly Father. Through the power of his Word he calls to us. He calls to us to trust him, to trust his promises, to trust his will for our lives. And trust him we can–-not because we see through the smoke, but because he does.

Our heavenly Father sees us. And he will catch us. Every time. After all, he gave his own Son to wash us clean and make us his own. Since then, his eyes of love have never left us.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, through the darkness and smoke of this fallen world, you see us. By your Spirit, embrace us in this marvelous truth. Move us to trust your promises and your will for our lives. 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 - July 1, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - June 30, 2014

Mon, Jun 30, 2014

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Matthew 9:10-13


The Pharisees did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. They didn’t accept him as the one God had promised to rescue them from sin’s curse and deliver them from their enemy Satan. As proof of their position, they pointed to Jesus’ activity of dining with people of ill-reputation (tax collectors) and eating with those whose lifestyle opposed God’s law (“sinners”). Their logic was that if Jesus is God, he would know what kind of people he was associating with and avoid them.

Jesus responded to his unbelieving critics, "It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." The Pharisees considered themselves spiritually healthy because they strived to live good and obedient lives before God. They didn’t think they needed Jesus for spiritual healing to save them. So Jesus told them that he couldn’t help them because they wouldn’t admit that they were sick with sin. However, Jesus made it clear that he was glad to minister to those who admit their guilt and look to him as their only hope for salvation. 

Jesus quotes God’s word recorded in Hosea’s prophecy, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Salvation from the condemnation we deserve as sinners doesn’t come by sacrifices that we make—by good things that we strive to do and wrong things we seek to avoid. Not at all! Rather, rescue from the curse of sin comes only by everything Jesus has done for us. The “mercy” that God desires is to sincerely admit that we are sinners and trust Jesus alone for full forgiveness of sins and free salvation from eternal death. 

Jesus came to call sinners. That’s me. That’s you. He is our Savior!

Prayer: 

Help me realize, dear Jesus, that I am sick with sin. Open my eyes to see you as my Savior and my heart to put my complete trust in you for salvation. Then open up my mouth to speak your praises for all your great goodness. 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 - June 30, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - June 27, 2014

Fri, Jun 27, 2014

19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; 20 by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

Proverbs 3:19-20

God’s Wisdom Can’t Be Topped

Scientists believe the Earth is made up of 7 primary, and many smaller, plates of ‘crust,’ which move up to several inches per year. When they crash into each other, the theory goes, mountains are born; where they pull apart we have valleys. On the scary side these also cause earthquakes and volcanoes. The good news is that all this activity allows for carbon–essential to our very existence–to be recycled and replenished, allowing life as we know it to continue. The Bible teaches, “By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations.”

Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of billions more galaxies in the universe, none of which you can see without a telescope. Moreover, each one of these galaxies has billions of stars which brings the estimate total of stars in the universe to 10 billion trillion which is 10 followed by 21 zeros. All the stars, galaxies, and black holes in the universe only compose about 5% of its mass. The other 95% is unaccounted for. Scientists decided to label this mystery material “dark matter” and to this day they are still not sure where or what it is. The Bible teaches, “By understanding [the LORD] set the heavens in place.”

Human beings have been to the Moon and have sent space crafts to Mars, but we have barely begun to visit the depth of our vast oceans. In fact, less than 10% of the deep blue seas have been explored. The ocean contains 97% of earth’s water. While we have identified about 250,000 marine species, there are possibly 750,000 or more we don’t know about. The Bible teaches, “By [the LORD’s] knowledge the deeps were divided.”

Clouds are made up of millions of tiny droplets of water, suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of the Earth. Air within the cloud and outside of it cause it to move. When a cloud becomes heavy enough with water molecules, gravity causes this water to fall as rain. This is the wonderful design of the all-wise God, as the Bible says, “And the clouds let drop the dew.”

If God’s wisdom in nature amazes us, how much more the wisdom of his plan of salvation through Jesus? It’s hard for us to understand how the perfect life and innocent death of Jesus could be enough to pay for every last sin of every sinner who has ever lived, currently lives, or will live. But God in his wisdom says it is enough. It’s hard for us to accept that our eternal salvation depends on Jesus alone and not at all on what we try to do to fix our broken relationship with God. But God in his wisdom says that Jesus is the way, the only way for us to have life with him forever. It’s hard for us to understand why Jesus would be willing to suffer hell and death on the cross as our substitute so that undeserving and sometimes ungrateful people can go to heaven. But Jesus in his wisdom was willing to do so. As we study the created universe we are amazed by God’s wisdom. Even more so, when we study God’s Word, we are awestruck by the wisdom and love of his plan of salvation.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, your wisdom is unmatched and awesome. Thank you for allowing me to learn a few details about the wisdom of this vast universe. Forgive me for the times that I act like my wisdom is greater than yours. Thank you for the wisdom of your plan of salvation through faith in Jesus. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - June 27, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - June 26, 2014

Thu, Jun 26, 2014

13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

Proverbs 3:13-18

Wealthy Wisdom

Money buys happiness. That’s the world’s wisdom anyway. You can buy plenty of things if you have enough money, but it is foolish to believe that wealth will allow you to achieve a blessed life.

God’s wisdom, not worldly wealth, puts real joy in life. The Bible is clear that because of Adam’s one sin, we all have inherited a sinful nature. And death is the infinite and unavoidable punishment for sinning against an infinitely holy God. No amount of worldly wealth can keep us from dying or put off the day of death that we have both earned and deserve because of our sins.

The Bible’s good news is that God, in his infinite wisdom and love, has provided for us the perfect sacrifice that has reconciled us to him. None of us has to spend anything. In love God freely gave us his Son. Because Jesus Christ is God, he could and did offer himself as the complete sacrifice for all our sins. We can be sure that the death of Jesus satisfied God’s justice because he raised Jesus back to life. Jesus himself said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live” (John 11:25-26).

Anything we might acquire in this world can’t compare to wisdom we acquire from God. Worldly success cannot guarantee happiness and peace. There is nothing more pleasing and peaceful than knowing that Jesus was willing to save us from death and that he provides all that we need in life. Put your trust in him, and he will bless you here and in eternity.

Prayer: 

Lord, forgive me for the times when I have foolishly put my trust in worldly wisdom. Thank you for giving me the wisdom to believe that in Jesus I have all I need and more. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - June 26, 2014 --Daily Devotion