WELS Daily Devotions

What God Means by Mercy – August 18, 2018

3 hours 2 mi

You who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy.
Romans 11:30

What God Means by Mercy
Daily Devotion – August 18, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 11:30
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180818dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The story goes something like this. Long ago, in a faraway land, there was an old man in a small village. The old man was a Christian. He also had the reputation for receiving direct messages from God. One day another Christian came through that village—a Christian haunted by his past. When people told him about the old man, he didn’t know what to think. And so, he decided to try a test. He went to meet the old man. Then he told the old man this. He said, “I am a Christian, but for years I have been carrying the guilt of a terrible sin. The next time you talk to God, would you please ask him to tell you what that terrible sin was?” The old man agreed.

The next day, the two met again. “Did you talk to God last night?” “Yes, I did,” said the old man. “Did you ask him to tell you about my terrible sin?” “Yes, I did,” the old man replied.

“And what did God tell you?”

In a strong, clear voice the old man answered, “He told me to tell you…that he doesn’t remember.”

When God speaks to you and me in the Bible about his forgiving mercy through faith in Jesus, many times you and I do not fully grasp what he means. Just because we often cling to memories of sins from the past, we assume that God does too. But that assumption is wrong.

Here is the truth. God was determined to wash away our sins of disobedience. He was determined to wash them away once and for all. And he did. He spilled the blood of his own Son to do it. Then he raised him from death to assure us that the guilt of our sin is gone. But not only is it gone from our record. It is even gone from God’s memory. As God has already said, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

That’s what God means by mercy. And that is the mercy we possess through faith in Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
God of mercy, so often I choose to cling to memories of sins from my past. But you do not. Help me to absorb this truth. With your gospel, heal my wounded heart. 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.

What’s in a Name? – August 17, 2018

Fri, Aug 17, 2018

The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Acts 11:26

What’s in a Name?
Daily Devotion – August 17, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 11:26
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180817dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Nicknames often serve the purpose of helping us remember certain characteristics of people. Olympic snowboarder Shawn White was given the nickname “the Flying Tomato” because, in his early years of competition, he had a full head of blazing red hair. Nicknames are often created to highlight something that is unique about an individual or a group.

That was the case in Antioch during the ministry of the apostle Paul. The term “Christian” is very well-known today. That was not the case then. Christianity as a religion was very young. The gospel of Jesus Christ had not yet reached to the ends of the earth, as it has today. But in Antioch, residents of the city began to notice there was something different about a certain group of people. They weren’t as concerned about social status as their neighbors. They didn’t worry quite so much when trouble or unexpected challenges came. They were not so eager to hold grudges when someone sinned against them. In fact, they readily forgave.

The residents of Antioch eventually realized that each person in this group had one thing in common. They believed that Jesus Christ was the Savior of the world. So a nickname was born—“Christ”-ians. Christians were known as people who loved Christ.

What are you known for loving? Those who see your life also see what you love. They see where you spend your time, how you spend your money, how you treat others, and how quickly the troubles of life cause you to worry. Whether or not anyone gives you a nickname, others can often see what you love most by looking at your life.

Just like we can when we look at Jesus. Look at his cross, and it is remarkably clear what he loves more than anything. He loves you. He believed that you are someone worth dying for. Jesus wants you to know that, whatever sins you have committed, however often and eagerly you have loved something more than you have loved God, you are forgiven. He wants you to know that nothing in all creation will keep you from one day enjoying the perfection of heaven.

For the Christians in Antioch, as well as for us today, that was a gift worth far more than anything this world could give.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of forgiveness won for us by your Son, Jesus Christ. Give us strength and wisdom to live our lives in such a way that, through us, others see the significance of his sacrifice. 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.

Built on a Firm Foundation – August 16, 2018

Thu, Aug 16, 2018

You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
Ephesians 2:19-20

Built on a Firm Foundation
Daily Devotion – August 16, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:19-20
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180816dev.mp3
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On June 27, 2009, a very strange site greeted the construction workers arriving at the construction site of the nearly-completed Lotus Riverside apartment complex in Shanghai, China. One of the eleven 13-story apartment towers that they had been working on was lying flat on its side. It looked as if some giant toddler had walked up to the building and just pushed it over. The building itself was, for the most part, intact. Even the doors and windows remained in place. But none of that mattered because the foundation on which the building had been built had completely given way. Without a firm foundation, no building, no matter how skillfully built, can stand for long.

The apostle Paul makes the same point about the Holy Christian Church in our Bible passage for today. In these verses from his letter to the Christians in Ephesus, Paul compares the Holy Christian Church to a building. Just like a physical building, the Holy Christian Church needs to be built on a firm foundation in order for it to stand. If it doesn’t have a solid foundation on which to stand, the Holy Christian Church will fall like that apartment tower in Shanghai, regardless of how skillfully the building may seem to be constructed.

But what can serve as a firm foundation for God’s Church? What is solid enough to enable God’s Church to withstand every storm that may try to tear it down? What is strong enough to resist the attempted erosion of centuries and millennia? What is so sturdy that no matter how many bricks are built upon it, it will never give way?

Only one foundation can do all that. The foundation is Jesus Christ and the solid teachings about him that are recorded in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. From the beginning, the way in which God builds people into his church has remained the same. He always has worked to bring people to faith in his Son Jesus. In the Old Testament, God spoke through the prophets and told people about what his Son would do for them when he came. In the New Testament, God spoke through his apostles about what Jesus fully accomplished when he did come.

Throughout it all, Jesus remained the focus. He was, and is, the chief cornerstone on which God builds his church. Jesus’ perfect life on behalf of all people, and his innocent sufferings and death to pay for the sins of all people are the immovable foundation on which every Christian stands and on which God’s church stands. When we stand firmly on Jesus and his Word, nothing can knock us down. For Jesus is our firm foundation, and nothing built on him can ever be demolished.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my strong foundation, keep me always firmly built on you. Amen.

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

Food for the Journey – August 15, 2018

Wed, Aug 15, 2018

The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched [Elijah] and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
1 Kings 19:7-8

Food for the Journey
Daily Devotion – August 15, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:7-8
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180815dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The prophet Elijah was a wanted man. Hunted by Queen Jezebel, he ran for his life into the desert. Finding a tree, he sat under it and prayed: “I have had enough,LORD. Take my life.”

Do you ever feel like Elijah under that tree? Ever have one of those days, weeks, or years where you just want to curl up and die? Life is too hard; the journey is too much.

We work, we pray, we expect success, and then everything we work for falls apart. There’s pain that no medicine can numb, and diseases that wear down and destroy our bodies. There’s guilt over the things we have said and done, and the things we have left unsaid and undone.

But rather than ask God to end us, we should ask him to do what he promises, and give us food for the journey. Notice that God did not do what Elijah asked. He didn’t take Elijah’s life, he preserved it. He sent an angel to Elijah with bread and water. Not only did that meal strengthen him for his journey, it also assured him of God’s presence and reminded him that he was not alone.

God doesn’t let us starve on the journey either. He provides daily bread for our bodies and Jesus, the Bread of Life, for our souls. The good news about Jesus assures us of God’s presence and reminds us that we are not alone. Jesus journeyed to the cross to guarantee that our journey has a blessed end.

The Lord does not promise quick and easy solutions for the pains of our journey. We who eat the Bread of Life are not spared the trouble of life. Jesus isn’t magic wonder bread that takes away all our problems. He is God’s Living Bread, food for the journey that sees us through life and death to the resurrection on the Last Day.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for feeding my body and my soul. 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.

Change of Plans – August 14, 2018

Tue, Aug 14, 2018

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
Ephesians 5:1-2

Change of Plans
Daily Devotion – August 14, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:1-2
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180814dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

They were young boys who loved to play soccer. Some had plans to play professionally when they grew up. But that’s before they entered the cave.

This past June, in Thailand, 12 boys and their soccer coach entered a local cave to look around—something they had done many times before. But heavy rains suddenly made waters in the cave rise. The rising water forced the soccer team to go back further and further into the cave. They found themselves trapped. Almost two miles of cold, murky water separated the team from the entrance. And few of the boys could swim.

Then came the Navy SEALs. They emerged from the water to find the boys after searching for them for days. They quickly saw to it that the boys and their coach would not be alone from that time forward. They brought food. They transported letters between the boys and their families. They even played checkers with them. The two-week ordeal climaxed in a miraculous rescue. Over 150 Navy SEALs took part in bringing each boy through underwater twists and turns. Every trip took hours. The difficulty was beyond words. One Navy SEAL died. The boys and their coach, however, are out, alive, and safe.

Since the rescue, several of the boys have changed their plans for what they want to do with their lives. They want to be Navy SEALs. They want to rescue others.

You and I once found ourselves trapped in a place far more desperate than even a water-filled cave. You and I once found ourselves trapped in the pit of our own sin.

But then the Son of God arrived. He did what had to be done to retrieve us from the despairing darkness into the warm light of his forgiveness. In doing so he gave his life. For us.

Now, through faith in Jesus, you and I are out, alive, and safe. And because Christ has risen from death, we know that we will never be alone again.

But this rescue has not only changed the destiny of our souls, it has changed our plans for life on this earth. Armed with the gospel message of what Jesus has done, you and I can now be rescuers too.

Right now, there are people you know who are trapped—trapped in the spiritual caves and caverns of this broken world. Seek them out. Bring them what they need. Bring them Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have rescued me and brought me into the light of your forgiveness. Through your gospel, empower me to seek others as you sought 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.

Life-giving Bread – August 13, 2018

Mon, Aug 13, 2018

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
John 6:51

Life-giving Bread
Daily Devotion – August 13, 2018

Devotion based on John 6:51
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180813dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“What’s to eat?” That’s the question heard daily, and the answer can be found in the refrigerator, the pantry, or the cupboard. Often one of those sources provides a solution and hunger is satisfied.

“What’s to eat?” This question can be understood in a completely different way. Instead of focusing on an empty stomach, it can also focus on the empty soul. What satisfies this hunger?

Many people look for answers in all sorts of places. Most rely on what I must do to satisfy the hunger pangs of my guilty soul. Unfortunately, all these self-reliant solutions will only leave me hungry. Worse yet, I soon come to the realization I am dying from spiritual starvation. Where do I turn to find life-giving bread that feeds my hungry soul?

The answer is found only in Jesus. His words are simple, yet profound: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” There is no doubt about what Jesus offers. It is bread which gives life. Not only does it fill my starving soul, it also nourishes me with eternal life.

Jesus can rightly offer this living bread from heaven. As the source of life, he came into this starving and death-ridden world. He endured the pain, the emptiness, and even the horrible death it demanded. He triumphed over everything, and with his victory he offers food that gives life.

This life-giving bread is mine only through faith. When I put my complete trust in him and in his precious work, my hungry soul is filled. No longer do I search to find nourishment. No longer do I yearn to be filled. No longer am I resigned to endless starvation and death. Jesus is my life-giving bread from heaven. Daily I long to eat what he offers, and joyfully I find the food which gives eternal life.

Prayer:
O gracious Jesus, bread of life from heaven, come and feed me with your life-giving food that my hungry soul may be filled. 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.

Mistaken Identity – August 12, 2018

Sun, Aug 12, 2018

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 14:25-27

Mistaken Identity
Daily Devotion – August 12, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 14:25-27
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180812dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Often embarrassment follows a case of mistaken identity. What also quickly follows is an apology with the explanation, “I thought you were someone else.” It is a situation that will repeat itself regularly, but likely will not have any lasting consequences—except when it happens regarding Jesus.

On the night the disciples witnessed the miracle of Jesus walking on the lake, their fears escalated. Instead of seeing their friend, teacher, and Savior, they mistook Jesus for a ghost. As a result, they were filled with terror and believed their demise was near. I need to learn a lesson from the disciples, and even more importantly, I need to know who Jesus is and what he does for me.

It is easy for Jesus to experience a case of mistaken identity. It happens when I fail to see Jesus for who he is and try to make him into something he never came to be. Without the guidance of the Scriptures I would only identify Jesus as a good man, a fine teacher, or someone after whom I would like to model my life. The problem comes when I need Jesus to be more than this.

This is why I need to get back to what God’s Word reveals. There I see Jesus’ true identity. He is my Savior who by his obedient death on the cross rescues me from the condemnation of sin. He is my Redeemer who by his victorious resurrection frees me from the power of the devil. He is my Shepherd who by his unsurpassed power lovingly leads me through this life to eternal life. He is, finally, my ever-present God and Lord who says, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

While situations of mistaken identity will happen from time to time, I can never afford to see Jesus as anything, or anyone other than my Savior, my God, and my Lord.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 358)
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear!
It soothes our sorrows heals our wounds, and drives away all fear!

O Jesus, Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, my Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring.

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.

The Rescue – August 11, 2018

Sat, Aug 11, 2018

… from [the patriarchs] is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all.
Romans 9:5

The Rescue
Daily Devotion – August 11, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 9:5
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180811dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

During World War II, an American soldier by the name of Bert Frizen was on the front lines in Europe. One day, his patrol reached the edge of a wooded area with an open field before them. But unknown to the Americans, a unit of Germans waited in trenches about 200 yards across that field.

Bert was one of two scouts who moved out into the clearing. Once he was halfway across the field, the remainder of his battalion followed. Suddenly the Germans opened fire. Bullets ripped into both of Bert’s legs. The Americans immediately withdrew into the woods for protection. A rapid exchange of fire continued, but Bert lay helpless where he had fallen.

Then things got worse. Bert noticed that a German soldier was crawling towards him. He closed his eyes and waited for his enemy to arrive and put him to death. Time passed. Finally, he dared to look. There was the German soldier kneeling at his side. Then Bert noticed something else. The shooting had stopped. The shooting had stopped because every man on both sides wanted to see what this mysterious German soldier was going to do next.

And this is what he did. In the middle of that field, the German picked up Bert in his arms and carried him to the safety of the American side. Then, without speaking a word, he turned and walked back across the field to his own troops. Moments later the fighting resumed, but not before all those present had witnessed how one man had risked everything for his enemy.

By nature, you and I were God’s enemies. Our sinfulness had infected us so much that our very minds were hostile toward God. But God did the unthinkable. He became one of us. He became one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. On our behalf he lived the holy life we had refused to live. Then, for our sin he suffered and died the death we had deserved to die. Then he rose from death to assure us that we were enemies no more.

And now we are rescued, you and I—rescued and forgiven through faith in the One who refused to stand by and watch us die. That is what we have in our God. That is what we have in our Savior.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, at a time when every fiber of my being was your sworn enemy, you chose to rescue me. And now you are my dearest friend. Thank you, Lord. Thank 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.

Priests to Serve – August 10, 2018

Fri, Aug 10, 2018

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Revelation 1:5b-6

Priests to Serve
Daily Devotion – August 10, 2018

Devotion based on Revelation 1:5b-6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180810dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Today when we hear the word “priest,” we may picture someone wearing a black shirt with that one-of-a-kind clerical collar. We may think of someone being addressed as “Father.” Yet in these verses from the book of Revelation, the title “priest” does not strictly apply to Roman Catholic clergy. It applies to every believer.

Permit a little history to complete the picture. For Old Testament Israel, God had established an order of priests. Their role was to serve as the intermediaries between God and his people. Why? God is holy. His people are not. Holiness and sin do not mix. So, if the people were to offer to God the gifts, offerings, prayers, and sacrifices he commanded, they would do so through the priest. They could not offer God anything on their own. They needed a priest.

Jesus has changed all that. We do not need priests to go between us and God anymore, because Jesus loves us to such an extent that he offered his holy life as the payment for our sins. We are neither slaves nor prisoners to our sin any longer. We are free. When God looks at his people, he doesn’t see their sin. He sees the holiness of his Son, Jesus.

As a result of that, all believers are not just “members” of the Holy Christian Church, Jesus has made us all priests. We get to offer gifts to God ourselves. We do so not just in giving money to church or charity. We do this when we, ourselves, go to God in prayer, when we help those who need it, when we provide for those under our care, when we treat others with love and respect. He transforms our lives so that every day in what we do, we serve him. He has made us priests to serve.

Prayer:(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 469)
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.

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.

The Beauty of the Church – August 9, 2018

Thu, Aug 09, 2018

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Ephesians 5:25-27

The Beauty of the Church
Daily Devotion – August 9, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:25-27
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180809dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I am a fan of the tradition that on the wedding day the groom should not see his bride before she comes down the aisle. I think it came from superstitious notions, which I do not believe in, but the upshot is that the expression on the groom’s face is often one of the best pictures of the day. What he sees is a breathtakingly beautiful bride. She is the woman of his dreams. She is radiant, and in that moment, she is without blemish. It is a beautiful moment.

Now men, put yourself on the other end of the aisle. You are walking down the aisle to meet the church’s groom, Jesus, who loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy. The Church—all believers in Christ, collectively—is the bride and she is beautiful.

I can think of many things about Christian people and me that I know are not beautiful. It is a stain and wrinkle on my record when I think how I do not love my wife as Christ loved the church. And yet, here we are, walking down the aisle to stand by Jesus. His sacrificial death makes us holy. The washing of baptism cleanses us, and Jesus in his beautiful love for us presents us to himself as a radiant church.

Prayer:
Jesus, your great love for us and the remarkable transformation from stained and blemished sinner to radiant bride is marvelous to ponder. Lead us in gratitude to love each other as you have loved us. Amen.

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

Bread from Heaven – August 8, 2018

Wed, Aug 08, 2018

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD‘s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you…. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.
Exodus 16: 2-4,15

Bread from Heaven
Daily Devotion – August 8, 2018

Devotion based on Exodus 16: 2-4,15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180808dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The future—what lies ahead—is totally unknown to us and often wildly unpredictable. But that doesn’t stop us from having feelings about the future. How do you feel about your future?

In his book Enlightenment Now, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker finds that majorities in fourteen leading countries believe the world is getting worse rather than better. Pinker goes on to say, “This bleak assessment of the state of the world is wrong.” Using statistical insights, Pinker shows that people are living longer, healthier, and happier lives.

So why aren’t we more optimistic? Just because things are getting better, doesn’t mean they are good enough. Just because we have made improvements and advancements doesn’t mean we have achieved perfection.

For the Israelites, life was getting better than it had been. However, you would not know that from today’s Bible verses. Just one month earlier they were all slaves in Egypt. They seemed to think they spent their days in Egypt gorging themselves. They even went so far as to suggest it would have been better if they had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! But their recollection of those days was incorrect.

Selfishness is always easier to spot in someone else. Our own reactions to the troubles and frustrations of life are all too often just as selfish and sinful as the Israelites in these verses. The sinful nature of all mankind can be most ungrateful.

Certainly, God could shower us with blessings that make life in this world more pleasant. And he does! Our lives are already filled with comforts and conveniences that previous generations would never have imagined. But these can never truly satisfy us. We need something better. We long for the perfect life. Whether we realize it or not, we desire someone divine.

In John chapter 6, Jesus told people that the Bread of Life is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. His listeners longed for this bread. Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.… Whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Whoever believes in me will have eternal life.”

Your life might not be everything you think it should be, but it is probably better than you realize. Give thanks to God for all the blessings from his hand. The Lord who loves you gave his one and only Son so that you might have life to the full. You can confidently say that the best is yet to come.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you know how quick I am to gripe and complain. Help me to see how you have opened your hand and given me many good things. Fill my heart with gratitude and appreciation for your many blessings, especially your Son Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose again so that I might have eternal life. 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.

The Ride Home – August 7, 2018

Tue, Aug 07, 2018

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, … to be made new in the attitude of your minds.
Ephesians 4:22-23

The Ride Home
Daily Devotion – August 7, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:22-23
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180807dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Dale Hammock is 65. He is bald with a gray mustache. He is wearing shorts and a white T-shirt. He steps into a Denny’s restaurant for a bite to eat. The hostess walks him over to a booth where he sits down. Around him are the usual sights and sounds—the muffled drone of a dozen conversations, the crying child, the shouts of food orders to the kitchen, the burst of laughter, the clack of plates. And Dale Hammock is afraid.

He keeps looking around. He feels vulnerable. He is terrified of letting his guard down. Then the server comes with questions he’s not sure how to answer. And the knives and forks—so many knives and forks.

For the past 21 years, Dale Hammock has lived within the walls of a prison. Today is his first day of freedom. It’s the first day of his new life. But to discard the old mindset from prison is going to be a monumental task. “This is going to take a minute,” he quietly says with a grand understatement. “This is going to take a minute.”

Fortunately for Dale, he is not alone. Carlos is with him. Carlos is part of what is called “The Ride Home Program.” Carlos has been where Dale now is, and so he knows exactly how Dale feels. Carlos has done this many times. He picks up a just-released prisoner outside the prison wall and spends that crucial first day with him. He shares his own story. He talks about the challenges. He listens. He gives a lot of encouragement. And he tells the ex-prisoner that he is not alone.

But Dale Hammock needs far more than just one day, and Carlos knows it. And so at the end of the day, Carlos introduces Dale to others—others who can encourage him, others who can be there for him, others who understand.

You and I were prisoners too, prisoners within the four walls of our own sin. But then Jesus came. His life and death on our behalf broke down the walls and, through faith in him, brought us into our new life. In our new life there is forgiveness, light, freedom, and joy.

But the old prison mindset is stubborn. The old fears and darkness can so easily return. That is why you and I have a Ride Home Program as well. It is the Church. It is our fellow ex-prisoners. They all know that discarding the old prison mindset is a monumental task. They are there to share their stories. They are there to talk about the challenges. They are there to listen and give encouragement. They are there to remind me that I am not alone.

And most importantly, Jesus is there too.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have washed me clean and set me free. Never stop refreshing my mind in this one beautiful truth. 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.

The Stomach or the Heart – August 6, 2018

Mon, Aug 06, 2018

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
John 6:26-27

The Stomach or the Heart
Daily Devotion – August 6, 2018

Devotion based on John 6:26-27
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180806dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Crowds were always following Jesus. They became even larger and more determined after he fed them. For most leaders, they would welcome the crowds and their adulation. Jesus was not your typical leader, though. This became clear from his observation: “You are looking for me because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” His point was clear. The people were more interested in having him fill their stomachs than their hearts.

Jesus’ observation should make me seriously consider my motives when I come in prayer. Do I seek him only to fill my empty stomach, or do I want him to fill my empty heart? The answer is critical for my eternal well-being.

On a daily basis I urgently pray for the obvious needs of my stomach. Earthly problems are a concern. Earthly emergencies demand attention. Earthly conflicts need solutions. In contrast, I must confess the needs of my heart are not as pressing. Still, I need a stronger faith. I need the peace of forgiveness. I need greater strength to overcome temptation. My prayer life is a good indicator as to which is more important—my stomach or my heart.

What I find comforting is that Jesus always responds first and foremost to the needs of my heart. He gives me his Word to refresh me. He gives me his forgiveness to renew me. He gives me his Spirit to regenerate me. In the end, what more could I ever want for my heart’s desire?

Still, I struggle. My stomach is powerful. It controls my decisions, and it makes countless demands. Yet, my heart strengthened by the Lord is more powerful. It leads me to make God-pleasing decisions, and it helps me recognize what is most important.

How blessed I am to live with a heart filled with Jesus and his rich blessings.

Prayer:
O faithful Savior, teach me to recognize what I truly need. Guide me in every prayer. Fill my heart with your gracious presence. 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.

The Greatest Miracle – August 5, 2018

Sun, Aug 05, 2018

As evening approached, the disciples came to [Jesus] and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Matthew 14:15-21

The Greatest Miracle
Daily Devotion – August 5, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 14:15-21
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180805dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Life is not about “getting what you want, but about wanting what you get”. When Jesus fed more than 5,000 people, he drove home that point. In that remote place no one was in a position to complain about the menu. Five dinner rolls, two fish, and the all-powerful and compassionate Son of God would have to do. Apparently, the crowd was happy with what they got: “They all ate and were satisfied …” What they got was a miracle.

Sadly, the great crowd missed the true significance of the event. They followed after Jesus looking for more bread. Jesus said to them: “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (John 6:26). They wanted bread and a “bread King”. Jesus had so much more to offer. He said: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35), and explained that through faith in him they would have the life that never ends.

Jesus came to be the Savior of the world, not the supervisor of the world’s largest soup kitchen. I wonder, however, if that is what people want Jesus to be. We want God to wipe out poverty and put everyone back to work.

Maybe we miss out on the greatest miracle of the all-powerful and compassionate Son of God: the forgiveness of sins, spiritual life, and a place at the banquet feast of heaven. What we get from Jesus is an answer to the deepest hunger of our soul.

When we leave our house in a crabby mood with harsh words spoken to our children and spouse, our greatest concern is not what we will eat for lunch. Deep inside, we don’t want a sandwich; we want forgiveness. We care about our soul and then we want what we get from Jesus. We get the Bread of life. We get the One who did not have a crabby day. We get the One who died for all of us who have. We get the One who performed great miracles on earth so that we see him as the almighty God he really is and live with him who is our Savior both here on earth and in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord, lead us to see in Jesus the One who gives himself to be the bread that gives eternal life. Create a hunger in us for his forgiveness and great thankfulness for his abundant spiritual provision. 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.

A Free Gift – August 4, 2018

Sat, Aug 04, 2018

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.
Isaiah 55:1-3

A Free Gift
Daily Devotion – August 4, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:1-3
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180804dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Have you ever heard the axioms: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” or “You get what you pay for?” We would have to agree that usually those sayings are true. Everything comes with a cost. When someone offers us something for “free,” we’re automatically skeptical, aren’t we? We’ve been burned one too many times before. So we think to ourselves, “What’s the hidden cost? It must not be that valuable if someone is willing to give it away for free.”

Is that your initial reaction to God’s invitation to you in our verses for today? Wine and milk are not inexpensive. The richest of fare can’t come without cost. God is offering a deal that sounds too good to be true, isn’t he? It goes against all of our natural sensibilities. We have to do something to get something. We’re going to end up paying for it in the end, right? That’s just how the world works!

If you feel like this offer sounds too good to be true, you’re right! We don’t deserve anything that God offers here. Even if we had all the money in the world, we could never pay enough to buy what God offers us. Only one person could pay the price, only one person could do what was required and that person is Jesus. Jesus earned the salvation of the world by his perfect life on earth and then he paid the cost for the sins of the world with his innocent death. God offers all the benefits of Jesus’ work to you as a free gift. He gives you life for your soul!

Everyone in this world is spiritually bankrupt. Everyone is thirsting for salvation. There are all sorts of earthly, sugary solutions that will not satisfy. But God offers the good food of salvation in the good news about Jesus. You get what Jesus paid for! It’s the richest of fare. It will always satisfy. And unlike your lunch, it really is yours for free!

Prayer:
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. 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.

The Holy Christian Church – August 3, 2018

Fri, Aug 03, 2018

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.
1 Corinthians 1:2

The Holy Christian Church
Daily Devotion – August 3, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:2
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180803dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What is the church? Is it a building of brick and mortar that Christians meet in? Is it a group of Christians who own that building? Or is it something else?

We usually use the word church to refer to buildings or Christian denominations, but the Bible uses the word church differently. In Scripture the word church either refers to a group of people who believe in Jesus or the grand total of all believers in every time and place. Today’s verse makes this point in an interesting way.

Paul greets the church in Corinth as those who are “sanctified in Christ Jesus.” That means they have been made holy, a word that means pure or sinless. Their sins made them impure and sinful, but they were sanctified when the Holy Spirit gave them faith in Christ. That is why they are also “called to be holy”—not because they never sin, but because by faith their sins are forgiven, and they are covered with Jesus’ holiness.

The church of God in Corinth, then, is a group of people who believe in Jesus. But Paul also makes it clear that the church is not limited to them. It includes “all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

There are people everywhere who believe in Christ and pray to him. He is Lord of them all, and you are included! Like the Corinthians, you are holy, even though your life does not always look like it. The way you treat others, the way you talk, or what you do when no one is looking—all these things look the opposite of holy.

But God doesn’t call you holy because of how you look. He calls you holy because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for you. In Christ you are called holy, blameless, sinless, perfect. You are as much a part of Christ’s church as the Corinthians because the holy Christian Church is all those everywhere who believe in Jesus as their Savior.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for giving me faith in Christ and calling me into the holy Christian 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.

Christ is the Head – August 2, 2018

Thu, Aug 02, 2018

Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
Ephesians 5:23b

Christ is the Head
Daily Devotion – August 2, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:23b
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180802dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Back in 2003 the movie “Bruce Almighty” was released. It tells the fictional story about a news anchor named Bruce Nolan who is not able to advance in his career and life like he wants to. Frustrated, he ends up blaming God for it. So, God offers Bruce access to all his power and tells him to do better. Bruce takes the opportunity and soon uses his new-found power for selfish purposes and ends up making a mess not only of his life, but also of the world around him.

Let it be stated that Hollywood movies are not the place to go to learn theology. Yet, for all the movie’s theological downfalls, the main lesson of the movie does have a sizable grain of truth to it: It is good that God is in charge and naturally sinful and selfish people like us are not. I may like to think that I know better than Jesus, but then again, I do not have his infinite wisdom. As a sinner, if I have all the power I become like Bruce Nolan and serve myself, even if it comes at the expense of everyone else.

Human beings struggle to willingly submit to someone else. Yet consider what Ephesians chapter 5 tells us about to whom we submit: “…Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” Believers submit to Jesus, the one who was willing to suffer for the guilt of all their sin on the cross, so they would never have to. Believers submit to Jesus, the one who rose from the dead and gives them eternal life. If believers are the body of Christ, then they can rest assured that what Jesus, the head, says and does is ultimately for their eternal good. So believers can gladly submit to their head and Savior, Jesus.

Christ is the head. We are the body. And that’s a good thing!

Prayer:(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 536)
Lord Jesus Christ, the church’s head, you are her one foundation. In you she trusts, before you bows, and waits for your salvation. Built on this rock secure, your church shall endure though all the world decay and all things pass away. Oh, hear, oh, hear us, Jesus.

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.

The Beauty of the Sacrifice – August 1, 2018

Wed, Aug 01, 2018

When Moses went and told the people all the LORD‘s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.” Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Exodus 24:3-11

The Beauty of the Sacrifice
Daily Devotion – August 1, 2018

Devotion based on Exodus 24:3-11
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180801dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

As you envision the scene recorded in these verses from Exodus, do you think “Ew? All that blood!” There is blood everywhere. Blood from the sacrificed bulls. Blood poured on the altar. Blood sprinkled on the people. It is gross, right? Not if we understand it. Not if we know that the blood of sacrificed animals sealed the covenant relationship between God and his people.

God had commanded many things and in one of Israel’s better moments, they exclaimed, “we will do everything…” They promised to worship as God said, sacrifice as he wished, and live in his holiness. It was a beautiful moment for seventy-four leaders who saw God and ate and drank with him.

So which one is it: beautiful or gross? When we understand that sacrifice establishes the relationship with God where we see him and eat with him, then it is a beautiful thing. When we understand that Jesus is the last and perfect sacrifice that brings us to God, it is not only beautiful, it is also precious. And when we understand that Jesus is really present with us, and we receive his body and blood in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we are privileged. We see God and we eat and drink with him.

What a beautiful sacrifice Jesus made for us! What a precious covenant God gave to us!

Prayer:
Lord, we thank you for your sacrifice on our behalf. We are privileged to stand in your presence and worship you. Amen.

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

Speaking the Truth in Love – July 31, 2018

Tue, Jul 31, 2018

Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Ephesians 4:15

Speaking the Truth in Love
Daily Devotion – July 31, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180731dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What’s that on your face? Emma asked. After a few moments, when it seemed like none of the big people were listening to her, she repeated her question. What’s that on your face? This time she pointed directly at the mole. This thing. What is it? Emma was nothing if not persistent. She would not let it go.

Most of us have been through moments like this. Sometimes, you’re the parent of the too-persistent child. Other times, you’re the one being pointed at and pinned down with questions. Either way, it can be a very uncomfortable situation.

As we grow up, we tend to become more aware of these social blunders. Often adults do their best to avoid them. We think our silence is a mark of maturity. We’d rather be nice than be truthful. But silence can kill. Imagine you’re very sick and in your doctor’s office. In this moment, you want the truth, don’t you? You don’t want someone who knows the truth about you to remain silent.

That is why God sent his Son into the world. Jesus knew the truth about all people. Yet, as Jesus spoke the truth, he always did so in love. He told the crowds to repent. They needed to turn from their sinful ways. When Jesus met with the learned teacher, Nicodemus, he told him the truth that his efforts to be saved would never be enough; he must be born again. When Jesus sat down at Jacob’s well with the Samaritan woman, she came with all kinds of sinful baggage. She had been married five times and was now living in sin with a new man. Most people shy away from such touchy subjects. Not Jesus. He exposed her sin and then revealed that he was her Savior from all sin.

We often think truth clashes with love. But the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ show us something different. Truth and love can be a beautiful combination. The God who is love—the Son who tells us he is the Truth—came into a world desperately in need of both truth and love. It took the truth and the love of God together to save us from sin, death, and the devil.

This is why it is so vital that Christians speak the truth in love. This is real, godly maturity. Christian maturity is not always speaking what’s on your mind in an unfiltered way. Nor is it silently ignoring problems to preserve a friendship. Rather it is recognizing the real threat sin and temptation pose and still speaking the truth to an individual in love. Real love sets aside egos and a desire to be liked to communicate the truth.

At first, it might be uncomfortable. But there is nothing more soothing, nothing more relieving, nothing more loving than telling people the truth that sets them free from the burden of sin, guilt and shame. So speak up, in love.

Prayer:
God, grant me wisdom and the maturity to speak the truth in love—even when it’s hard. Lord, bless me with the humility to listen to the truth when others find the courage to speak with me—even when their love is hard to see. 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.

What kind of Jesus do you want? – July 30, 2018

Mon, Jul 30, 2018

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
John 6:5-15

What kind of Jesus do you want?
Daily Devotion – July 30, 2018

Devotion based on John 6:5-15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20180730dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“I really need to find a better job. I just can’t live off what I am making right now, and I can’t stand the place I’m working. There is so much stress. But the thing is, none of the places where I have applied have called me back.”

A friend replies, “What you need to do is get back to going to church. Then everything else will fall into place. About a year ago, I started going back to church. Look at the new job I just got.”

The thinking illustrated in this brief conversation between friends is very common. You can even find churches that will tell you that Jesus wants you to be rich, and he will make you rich if you pray hard for it and trust him to bless you.

Is that the kind of Jesus that you want? Do you want him to be something like your personal genie, granting your every wish and making your life easier? Do you wish that someone would share with you the secret of tapping into the unlimited power of Jesus so that you can start enjoying life more?

That’s not why Jesus came into our world. He did not come to fulfil all the physical needs and desires of those who are struggling. He came here for a much more important reason: to forgive sins; to restore the relationship between sinful rebellious creatures and their Creator; to grant eternal life to those who could never achieve it for themselves.

While he was physically living in our world, Jesus saw the needs of people, and at times he met those needs in miraculous ways. But when the people got so excited about those miracles that the only reason they were drawn to him was so that he could meet their physical needs, Jesus withdrew because he had a much more important role to fill than that of a king who could miraculously provide for his people.

Jesus came to be the Savior to take away our sin and guilt by taking it upon himself and willingly enduring the full punishment of God for us. Jesus came to give us a perfect relationship with God that lasts eternally.

What kind of Jesus do you want? A Savior who loves you so much that he willingly laid down his life so that you are forgiven of every sin and live eternally, or a bread-king who miraculously provides for physical but very temporary needs? What kind of Jesus do you need?

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for providing for my greatest need. Forgive me for the times that I have become so fixated on this world that my physical wants and needs have become my highest priority. You made my eternal salvation your highest priority. Send your Spirit into my heart that I may rejoice in who you are. In your name I ask it. Amen.

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