WELS Daily Devotions

Devotion - November 25, 2014

16 hours 45 mi

For [Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26


Are you worried about the right things?

We can worry about so many things! Putting food on the table, paying the bills, staying safe from crime, not getting Ebola, net neutrality, passing the math test, taking care of elderly parents, meeting with the lawyer, not falling off the ladder, and on and on.

Are we worrying about the right things?

A good friend of mine is dying from cancer. Can you guess what he’s worried about? He’s worried that his wife doesn’t know where all the financial information is. He wants to make sure that before he dies, she knows what bills to pay and where the funds are. He is not worried at all about dying–or what happens after death–or facing God to be judged–or where God will send him for all eternity. My friend is not worried because he knows Jesus has conquered death.

In 1 Corinthians 15, a missionary called Paul wrote that Jesus rose from the dead and will raise us from the dead. In verses 25 & 26, Paul promised that Jesus will quietly rule this world until it becomes obvious on the Last Day that all his enemies must obey him.  The last enemy on Jesus’ destruction list is death.

My friend knows that he will die in the next few months. He knows Jesus will wake him from the dead to be judged. You might think my friend would be terrified because he has done a lot of bad things in his life. His Christian faith did not make him immune to being selfish, stubborn, thinking poorly of others, wanting his own way. God should condemn him for his sins.

But my friend is not worried. He knows Jesus sacrificed himself to wash away all sins. So my friend knows God will approve of him. My friend knows God will welcome him into heaven. My friend knows that he will live forever and ever in the joys and glories of being with Jesus. My friend knows Jesus has conquered death for him.

My friend is not worried about dying or judgment. Jesus has given him the peace of sins forgiven and eternal life guaranteed.

Jesus has done the same for you!

Prayer: 

Jesus, don’t let me worry about death. Remind me every day that you have forgiven all my sins. Remind me also that if you have conquered death for me, then I don’t need to worry about anything at all!  Thank you, 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 - November 25, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 24, 2014

Mon, Nov 24, 2014

Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Matthew 27:27-31


Children raised on fast food sit in front of a home-cooked meal. They stare at the chicken breast and baked potato and ask: “What is it?” The only potatoes they’ve known are cut and deep-fried. And, as far as they know, chicken only comes in the form of patties, nuggets and fingers.

Sometimes we get such a strong and wrong picture of what something should be that we don’t even recognize the REAL THING when it’s sitting right in front of our face.

What does a king look like? The people of Jesus’ day “knew” that a king looked like the rulers of their day. They figured a king must always appear rich, powerful and honored. When they saw Jesus, they did not see a wealthy or powerful or respected man. They reacted wrongly and sinfully heaped abuse on Jesus with their cruel words and angry fists.

We dishonor Jesus, our King, too, but with quite different tactics. We call Jesus our King (you may be singing that in a Christmas song or two soon.) But how often have we let our lives or circumstances mock the rich grace and unlimited power of our King? When it comes to following our King, do we chose our whims and worries instead of our King’s commands and promises? We chose lust instead of purity; cursing instead of prayer and blessing; coveting instead of contentment. We chose worry instead of trust; fear instead of faith; hate instead of love.

Thank God that Jesus chose to be our King by his love and work on our behalf. In today’s section from God’s Word, Matthew tells us that Jesus did what only our REAL King could do. He allowed himself to be dishonored because our sin dishonored God. Jesus allowed himself to be mocked, beaten and doomed to death because that’s what we deserved. Only our real King could step in and do this perfectly in our place. Only his death could lift the death penalty that hung over our heads.  This is what our REAL King looks like.

You know your real King. Don’t let imposters sit on the throne of your heart. No matter the temptations, the hardships, the uncertainties and the suffering you face, they are not your king. They are imposters. You have a king–the Real King–Jesus!

When temptations and suffering flood into your life, Jesus may seem distant, weak or uncaring. But remember, you’ve seen this before. When Jesus stood on trial, he did not look like the REAL King. Even as Jesus suffered and died, he was our all-powerful, gracious God. Jesus’ death and resurrection give us forgiveness, eternal life and peace. Your King promises you power for living for him, and his constant care and presence in your life now. Only your Real King could give such great gifts. When you see Jesus, you see your REAL KING.

Prayer: 

Jesus, you are my King. In love for me, you did what no king should have to do–you suffered and died for a rebellious servant like me. Thank you for your forgiveness and care. Fill me with your love and faithfulness so that I always serve and honor 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 - November 24, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 21, 2014

Fri, Nov 21, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom,
For her Lord comes down all-glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious;
Her Star is ris'n, her Light is come.
"Now come, O Blessed One,
Christ Jesus, God's own Son. Hail! Hosanna!
The joyful call we answer all
And follow to the wedding hall."
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 206, verse 2)

Here Comes the Son!

Are you excited when dawn approaches? Do you cherish the sound of your alarm when it summons you from your sleep?

Back in the Middle Ages, the announcement of dawn was delivered in another fashion, and its arrival was sometimes dreaded for another reason. In those days there was a genre of music known as “Wächterlieder,” (Watchmen’s Songs). If a young man secretly went to visit a young lady during the night, his friend would keep watch for the arrival of morning. When it approached, he would sing this warning song in order to let his friend know that it was time to leave.

We sinners should be equally afraid of the piercing light of dawn. Jesus said, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:20). Sinners run from the light because the light exposes our deeds for what we are.

And yet, in this hymn written by Philip Nicolai and based on the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), dawn isn’t dreaded. Dawn brings delight. In this wedding scene, the bridesmaids have been up all night waiting for the watchmen’s announcement of the groom’s arrival. The wait has been long. The hour has grown late. Sleep has set in.

But now the bridegroom is coming. Rather than causing fear or sending us scrambling to sneak away, the dawning of Christ, the Morning Star, causes great joy.

Why? Yes, he is “all-glorious.” Sin has no place in his presence. But he is also “strong in grace.” When he came to earth the first time, he won the victory over the forces of evil. He suffered and died for all of our sins. So when he returns, having prepared his bride’s eternal home, the announcement of his arrival causes nothing but joy for those who have been watching and waiting.

In fact, the announcement of his arrival produces a reaction that no solid night of sleep or strong cup of coffee can produce: “Hail Hosanna!” Here comes the Son!

Prayer: 

Almighty God, keep us ever watchful for the coming of your Son that we may sit with him and all your holy ones at the marriage feast in heaven. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

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 - November 21, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 20, 2014

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

Hymn of the Week

"Wake, awake, for night is flying,"
The watchmen on the heights are crying,
"Awake, Jerusalem, arise!"
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices:
"Oh, where are all you virgins wise?
The Bridegroom comes—awake!
Your lamps with gladness take! Alleluia!
With bridal care Yourselves prepare
To meet the Bridegroom who is near."
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 206, verse 1)

What Good Is Hope?

What good is hope? What difference does it make, if any? You’ve maybe heard Christians accused of being so heavenly-minded that they are of no earthly good.

That’s an easy accusation to make when life is going well. It’s easy to think that there isn’t much need to think about the life to come when this life is going smoothly.

But what about when it isn’t? In the late 16th Century, bubonic plague was devastating a town called Unna in western Germany. During a six-month span between 1597 and 1598, nearly 1,400 of the town’s citizens died. As many as thirty funerals a day were conducted at the town’s Lutheran church. What good is hope then? What difference does it make, if any?

I’m guessing that your life has never been quite as difficult as it was for the residents of Unna. But don’t we sometimes convince ourselves that it is? We can quickly turn problems that are relatively trivial into life-altering, earth-shattering tragedies simply because they are our problems. So whether the calamity is real, merely exaggerated, or altogether imagined, we all need to be able to deal with difficulty.

In times like those, hope makes all the difference. During that terrible time in Germany, Lutheran pastor Philip Nicolai wrote this joy-filled hymn. In it, he used imagery borrowed from the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). That parable pictures Christ as a bridegroom who has made a solemn vow to his bride. He has promised to go and prepare a place where the two of them can live. He has promised to come back for her once it is ready.

It was that promise that gave Philip and the people of Unna such a certain hope. And it was that hope that made all the difference as they lived through the very worst of times. May Jesus’ promise fill you with the same eager expectation of his return, and may that hope fill you with that same joy even amid your struggles.

Prayer: 

Almighty God, keep us ever watchful for the coming of your Son that we may sit with him and all your holy ones at the marriage feast in heaven. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

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 - November 20, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 19, 2014

Wed, Nov 19, 2014

Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion. For this is what the LORD says: “You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed.” … Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I.”

Isaiah 52:1-3, 6

Just Wait

How many times have you had to say “Just Wait” in the last week? When kids get a little antsy about what they want from a parent, when co-workers are a little overbearing about a favor that they need, yes even when a spouse makes the same request one too many times, the response comes out so easily: “Just Wait!”

God told his people “Just Wait!” In fact that could be a theme of the whole Old Testament, “Just Wait!” God promised Adam and Eve that he would make one of their offspring the Savior, and then he told them to wait! God told Abraham he would give him a son and then made him wait for 25 years for Isaac to be born.

Isaiah wrote to people who were waiting. If they listened to Isaiah’s message, they were waiting for judgment. Like a mother that tells a disobedient child, “Just wait until your father gets home!” that was Isaiah’s message to his people. “You’ve been impatient; you’ve turned to other gods; you’ve rejected the true God. Now you just wait!”

And we’ve been there, too. We want God’s promises fulfilled today! We want health restored, relationships reconciled, comfort granted. We want what we want and we want it now! And when God doesn’t grant it, when he tells us “Just wait,” we grow angry with God and turn elsewhere, to other gods really, for comfort and happiness and hope.

For that, we deserve the judgment that Israel received. We deserve worse than captivity at the hands of a foreign army, we deserve eternal slavery in hell.

But wait! Isaiah’s “Just Wait!” message was not only about judgment, it was about forgiveness as well. God said, “You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed.” God would bring his people back from slavery and restore them to the land that he gave them. Without money God has redeemed us as well. It cost far more than money, but God paid it nonetheless. In love he gave us his Son. Jesus offered his body and his blood as our redemption price. On the cross he won us back from our impatience, our lack of trust, and all our sins. As he walked from the tomb, he destroyed death’s power and bought us the promise of our own resurrection. The promise of peace that Isaiah gave is ours now in part through Jesus, and it will be ours in full when we become Saints Triumphant in heaven everlasting.

Now we live here on earth, and though it might be hard, we can “Just Wait” for his return. And while we wait and watch, we can serve him and others with our lives. We can tell others that Jesus has come and that he will come again. We can tell the world what we know to be true, that Jesus and his heaven are worth the wait!

Prayer: 

Strengthen me, Lord Jesus, while I wait for you to return. Make me to be strong in your Word and to trust in your promises. Help me to wait on your timing for the things in this world and for you to extend to me the riches of your glory. 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 - November 19, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 18, 2014

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18


I miss my dad.

He died when I was 10 years old. Automobile accident. I remember the ache in my heart in the following months as our family adjusted to life without him.

Death stinks! It rips a huge hole in the heart of loved ones left behind. It tears them apart. It leaves them wishing for a few more joyful days with the person who passed.

Death stinks because of sin. Death became part of the “circle of life” when the human race chose to rebel against God. Our sin separates us from God, the source of all life. Without him, every sinner dies. We can do nothing to change this reality.

But God could and did.

His Son Jesus volunteered to die for us. The Father and Son worked out a plan that Jesus would die under God’s curse. God directed his curse away from us and blasted Jesus with eternal death. Jesus suffered horribly, but he did it willingly to take the stink and sting out of death.

Death still hurts really badly because we miss people who have died. But we know that if they died in Jesus, we’ll see them again in heaven. (Dying in Jesus means dying with the trust that God will take you to heaven all because of Jesus.) When a Christian dies, we mourn, we cry, we hurt, but we also hope. We hope our loved one is in heaven because of Jesus. We hope we will be in heaven too, because of Jesus.

Unlike hoping for good weather tomorrow, our hope of heaven is guaranteed, rock solid, unchangeable, undeniable. Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead himself. He floods our hurting hearts at the side of a casket with the hope of eternal life. We can and do depend on this hope.

So while I miss my dad, I know I will see him again. I will get to know him man to man. I’ll hear his laugh again and experience that big heart of his. Most importantly, we’ll both enjoy spending time with our Savior and our God. Because we’ll be with the Lord forever.

How can I be sure? Jesus died for him. Jesus died for me. And Jesus died for you.

Prayer: 

Jesus, thank you for dying to take away our sins. Thank you for promising to give us heaven. By your love, take us home when the time comes so we can be with you and our loved ones forever. 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 - November 18, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 17, 2014

Mon, Nov 17, 2014

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."

Matthew 25:1-13 

Keep Watch

You were ready when the new iPhone was released because you watched the announcements and advertisements. The World Series batter was ready to hit the ball because he kept his eyes open and watched for the perfect pitch. The student was ready for the test. The parent was ready for the hungry child. The friend was ready to help. Why? They paid attention, watched and prepared.

Jesus tells us today: “Keep watch.” For what are we looking? In the story Jesus told, ten bridesmaids were waiting for a wedding celebration to get started, but they fell asleep while they were waiting. When the call rang out at midnight that the groom was there and ready to be received, five of the bridesmaids were ready. Five had forgotten extra oil, fell asleep and ran out of oil when they needed it most. They were not ready. They desperately ran out to buy some more. When they got back, it was too late. The groom had arrived. The party had started. The doors were locked, and they were not allowed to enter. The lesson: You do not know when Jesus will return. Keep watch and be ready.

A couple questions for you to consider:

• Are you ready for Jesus’ return? God-given faith in our Triune God and Jesus as your Savior makes you ready. If you’re not sure if you’re ready, please give a pastor a call. This handy “locator” button will hopefully guide you to a nearby church and pastor. Give them a call, visit or email. They would love to help and talk with you. If you’re not ready, get ready. God has blessed you with this time of grace.

• If you are ready, how will you stay ready? You may have many years or decades of joys and sorrows ahead. How will you constantly “keep watch” so that you are always ready? God makes us ready and keeps us ready through his Word. Develop a daily habit of Bible reading and prayer. Faithfully attend worship. Gather with other Christians for Bible study, prayer and mutual encouragement. Through his Word, God will keep you ready.

Imagine how exciting it was for those five bridesmaids who kept watch. The groom arrived and they were ready to receive him and celebrate at the wedding banquet! By faith in Jesus, God makes and keeps you ready. “Keep watch!”

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, so many things in my life distract me from faithfully keeping watch for your return. Forgive my sins. Sweep away the distractions that draw my attention from you. Keep my eyes fixed on 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 - November 17, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 14, 2014

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

Hymn of the Week

See the book, exactly worded,
Wherein all has been recorded—
Thus shall judgment be awarded.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - Hymn 209, verses 3, 6, 7)

Day of Wrath! Day of Mourning!

Have you ever been complimented by people for being such a good person, but you felt embarrassed inside, since you know how much you struggle against sin? Were you glad they didn’t know the evil thoughts that run through your mind, or some of the things you’ve done that were anything but good, or the harsh words you spoke that you wish you could take back?

What a scary thought this hymn verse provides, fully in keeping with what God says in his Word (Matthew 25:41-46, Revelation 20:12). King David, whose sins were spectacularly blatant, asks in Psalm 130, “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?”

In faith, David answers his own question—and ours! “But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”

With David, we too wait for the morning when Jesus, the Light of the World, dawns in the sky at his glorious return. We wait in hope—not fear—because Jesus became man, under the law, to fulfil the law in our place. Through his perfect life, Jesus knit together a garment of salvation that he drapes over all who trust in him. We wait without fear because our loving Lord has scrubbed our sins away with his blood.

Think, good Jesus—my salvation
Caused your wondrous incarnation,
Made you suffer my damnation!

On the cross your dying spared me;
Just and righteous you declared me;
I await the joy prepared me.

Make no mistake, Jesus will judge the unrighteous. Every wicked deed and every good deed left undone remains recorded in the books for those who do not believe in Jesus. As the Scriptures say, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

But for those who trust in Jesus, God covers the book of deeds in whiteout. He erases our sins forever. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 31:34b). What a gift through faith in Jesus!

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, keep sending your Holy Spirit into my heart as I hear and read your Word, that my faith may remain strong in Jesus my Savior, until I joyfully meet him in the air with all the saints. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

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 - November 14, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 13, 2014

Thu, Nov 13, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Day of wrath, oh, day of mourning!
See fulfilled the prophets’ warning:
Heav’n and earth in ashes burning.

Death is struck and nature quaking;
All creation is awaking,
To its judge an answer making.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - Hymn 209, verses 1, 2, 4, 5)

Day of Wrath! Day of Mourning!

“Dies irae! Dies illa!” the choir sings fortissimo, as the timpani are hammered behind them. “Day of wrath! O that day!” Perhaps you’ve heard the music from Mozart’s Requiem and can place it together with the scene from the movie Amadeus. Frightened, the composer himself races to finish his own funeral music before he dies.

How much more frightening it will be on the Last Day, when the music of God the Judge sounds from the heavens! Shock and awe will fill every heart and soul the day Jesus actually appears in the sky. Even nature will be quaking. The Bible says, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). But the fright will have just begun. The apostle John wrote, “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Revelation 20:12).

What shall I in awe be pleading?
Who for me be interceding,
When your mercy I am needing?

The apostle Paul answers the question. “Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

Without Christ defending us, what a frightening, even horrifying day that will be when he returns to judge the living and the dead! We all deserve to die for our sins. We can only plead for mercy, in the hope that we will not be sentenced to eternal death!

But God is indeed merciful. He sent his Son to suffer the punishment of the righteous wrath of God in our place. Jesus earned us a place at the Father’s side in heaven. Through faith in Jesus, all our sins are forgiven. In his mercy, he pleads our case at the right hand of the Father, so that when he returns, we can stop quaking and instead calmly rejoice!

Prayer: 

King of majesty tremendous,
Who does free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us!

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

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 - November 13, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 12, 2014

Wed, Nov 12, 2014

“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”

Daniel 7:9-10

Judgment will come

“Judgment will come!” Maybe the title of this devotion makes you feel that you don’t want to even continue with it. Who wants to talk about judgment? It’s not a popular idea in our day. It’s not a popular idea to us either. There’s something in us that doesn’t like the thought of being held accountable to anyone or anything. Maybe that’s why calling someone “judgmental” is one of the biggest insults you can throw at them.

But whether we like it or not, the Bible is clear. There will be a day when God will judge the living and the dead. The One who created every human being, and who formed the world and all that is in it, will judge those who have been given life and breathe and a soul. After seeing a vision of four beasts rising out of the sea, which represented the progression of different kingdoms that would rule the world, Daniel saw the Lord himself take his seat for judgment. It was an awesome picture. The Lord’s clothing and hair were gleaming white, there was fire, and thousands upon thousands of angels. But then silence. The books were opened.

It would be a terrifying vision if this is all that we had. We know our sins. We know what those books would say about us. “Guilty!” We are sinners who deserve to be sent out of God’s presence forever. Thankfully, a couple of verses later, we hear about someone else who is led into that courtroom. Daniel writes: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

It’s Jesus! It’s the One who has nothing against him in God’s books. It’s the perfect Son of God who lived in our place on earth and who gave himself on the cross for our sins, so that our record before God is cleared. This is why he is given all authority and power in heaven and on earth. He is the Lamb who was slain for us. Yes, judgment will come. But so has Jesus, and because of him you can stand confidently before the throne of God.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord Jesus, as I await your second coming, please help me find my confidence in your perfect life and death. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - November 12, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 11, 2014

Tue, Nov 11, 2014

You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

1 Thessalonians 5:2

Suddenly

It happened 25 years ago this fall. The San Francisco Giants were hosting the Oakland A’s in Game 3 of the World Series. The Giants were behind 2 games to nothing. Al Michaels of ABC Sports had just gone on the air. The game was about to begin, and Michaels was doing his masterful job of setting the scene, describing the current morale of each team, recapping the last two games.

Then, in a moment, everything changed.

Five minutes into the broadcast, a powerful earthquake struck the area. Suddenly, to the tens of thousands of fans in Candlestick Park, the World Series didn’t matter. The starting pitchers did not matter. Baseball did not matter. Suddenly, a new reality had arrived. When it did, things that had seemed so important less than a minute before were not important at all. And it had all happened so suddenly. It had all happened without warning.

As you read or listen to this devotion, think about all the things that present themselves as urgent and pressing in your life. But now think about this. Of all the things that are demanding your energy and attention this instant, how many of them will matter one second after the Lord Jesus returns?

He will come “like a thief in the night,” God’s Word says. He will come suddenly. When he does, a new reality will have arrived. In that new reality, the only thing that will matter is your relationship with him. The only thing that will matter is your relationship with him that the Holy Spirit brought about and nurtured through your contact with the gospel.

We know that day is coming. It’s just a question of when. Between now and then, keep in mind the one thing that matters for all eternity. That one thing is Jesus. That one thing is his forgiveness of your sin through faith in his blood and the empty tomb of Easter. Embrace that one thing. For the day will suddenly come when that one thing will be the only thing.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, on the day you return, you will return suddenly. Between now and then, send me your Holy Spirit. Nurture my faith through your gospel. Fix my eyes on 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 - November 11, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 10, 2014

Mon, Nov 10, 2014

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.'"

Matthew 25:34

Ready and Waiting

"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." These words not only sound a warning, they also offer practical advice. All too often a sweet deal goes sour, and what remains is the bitter after-taste of a lesson learned.

Heaven could be considered as one of those things which sound too good to be true. A place of perfect peace? A place were no sadness or pain exists? A place where only good will be enjoyed forever? While part of me longs for a place like heaven, another part remains incredulous.

While it may sound too good to be true, heaven is ready and waiting. It is the invitation given by my Lord which confirms its reality. God could never tell me to "come," if heaven didn't exist. What adds to my certainty is the way heaven is defined. It has existed before the creation of all things. So, from the very foundations of time the kingdom of heaven has been prepared by God and is waiting for me.

Even more convincing is the work of my Savior. Jesus is the one who gives me the confidence to know I will be called blessed by the Father. To be blessed by God doesn't mean my life will suddenly become easier. Nor does it mean I will experience a heaven here on earth. What it does mean is that I will experience God's blessing which comes through the precious life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He rescued me from the condemnation my sin deserved. He redeemed me from the bondage of hell. He even released me from the dreaded power of death and the grave. It is only through faith in Jesus that I know heaven is real, and that it is ready and waiting for me.

How blessed I am to know my Savior. How blessed I am to live every day looking forward to eternal life. How blessed I am to know heaven is ready and waiting.

Prayer: 

O gracious Lord, when I am troubled, when I am weary, or when I need encouragement, come to me with your promise of life in heaven. Let your life, your death and your resurrection be my assurance heaven is ready and waiting. 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 - November 10, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 7, 2014

Fri, Nov 07, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us,
We tremble not, we fear no ill; They shall not overpower us.
This world’s prince may still Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none. He’s judged; the deed is done!
One little word can fell him.

The Word they still shall let remain, Nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain With his good gifts and Spirit.
And do what they will—Hate, steal, hurt, or kill—
Though all may be gone, Our victory is won;
The kingdom’s ours forever!
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - Hymnal - 200, verses 3 and 4)

You are at war. All around you, the battle is raging. And you are in the thick of it.
Arrayed against you are the forces of evil, all the demons of hell, each of them eager to overpower you and drag you to damnation. And at their head is Satan himself, that vicious old lion, constantly prowling around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

You feel their attacks. You feel the hate that they inspire in those who insult you for believing the Bible. You suffer rejection from those who simply cannot bring themselves to be “tolerant” of your beliefs. You also feel Satan’s most pointed attacks, the accusations he lodges against you for all the sins you have committed. He argues before your heavenly Father that you are in no way worthy of sharing in God’s kingdom.

You know that he is right. And you begin to wonder whether all is lost.

But then you remember that it is not up to you to defeat your enemy. Nor is it up to you to refute all of Satan’s accusations. Both of those things already have been done for you by the one who is leading you in this battle. Christ Jesus, God’s own Son, your Savior, went head-to-head with Satan in your place. He defeated Satan for you. He paid for all your sins when he suffered and died on the cross. When he rose from the dead, Jesus proved that he has crushed Satan’s head for you. Satan is judged. The deed is done.

Now Satan can do nothing to you, no matter how fiercely he snarls at you. Yes, you are still at war, but the victory is won. The kingdom is yours forever. All Satan’s accusations fall flat before Jesus whose blood cleanses you of all sins. None of Satan’s attempts to harm you can ever succeed. In fact, all you need to stand up to Satan and overcome him is one simple, yet powerful word.

That word is “Jesus.”

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, thank you for the victory over Satan that I have in you. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

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 - November 7, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 6, 2014

Thu, Nov 06, 2014

Hymn of the Week

A mighty fortress is our God, A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need That has us now o’ertaken.
The old evil foe Now means deadly woe;
Deep guile and great might Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.

With might of ours can naught be done; Soon were our loss effected.
But for us fights the valiant one Whom God himself elected.
You ask, “Who is this?” Jesus Christ it is,
The almighty Lord. And there’s no other God;
He holds the field forever.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - Hymnal - 200, stanzas 1 and 2)

On Wednesday, October 22, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo while Cirillo was standing watch at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa. Zehaf-Bibeau then ran into the Canadian Parliament Building where he continued shooting until Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers killed him.

The next day, in New York City, Dr. Craig Spencer, who had recently returned to the United States after treating Ebola patients in Guinea, was himself diagnosed with the disease. 

The day after that, fourteen-year-old Jaylen Fryberg opened fire at his high school in Marysville, Washington, killing one person and injuring four others before turning the gun on himself.

If you feel as if your sense of security has taken a big hit lately, that certainly is understandable. It’s hard to feel safe when every time you look at the news you see another story about a deadly attack or a deadly disease striking someone in a place that’s supposed to be safe.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could build an impenetrable fortress around yourself and those you love? Unfortunately, we know that we can’t. On our own we simply are incapable of protecting ourselves and our loved ones from all the dangers that threaten us.

There is a fortress, however, that does offer us protection from all the dangers that threaten us. That fortress is our God.

Psalm 46, on which today’s hymn is based, says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (verses 1-3).

Even in the face of the violence of this world, even when we have no control over the dangers we daily face, we have no reason to fear and every reason to feel safe and secure. Our God is our fortress. There is no one else like him. No threat is even remotely his equal. In every battle, he holds the field forever.

Prayer: 

O God, our mighty fortress, strengthen our faith and calm our fear so that we may always know that we are safe and secure in you. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

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 - November 6, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 5, 2014

Wed, Nov 05, 2014

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?" Daniel answered, "O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king." The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Daniel 6:19-23

Courageous Faith

They couldn’t believe that Daniel, the do-gooder Jew from Jerusalem, was being promoted to one of the most powerful positions in the kingdom. But no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Amazingly, after 70 years of public service, there wasn’t one intern who spoke against him, or proof of one underhanded deal, or one case where he fixed the books just a little to his advantage. If they were going to get him, it had to be with his religion. So they got the King to issue a decree that anyone who prayed to any god or man, except the King, would be thrown to the lions.

When Daniel heard the decree, he did what he always did. He went home, opened the windows, turned toward Jerusalem, got down on his knees and gave thanks to God. Instead of giving in to the threats of his enemies, instead of rationalizing reasons to hide his faith, he chose to courageously put it on display. And even though he didn’t seem to have any specific promise from God that he would be delivered from the lions, he trusted in the Lord. In this case, the Lord rescued him from bodily harm.

We don’t have a promise from God that nothing bad will ever happen to us as we follow Jesus and glorify him with our lives. But we do have this same marvelous promise from God that served as the foundation for Daniel’s faith: God has forgiven all of our sins, made us his children, and he will be with us in every circumstance and even use everything that happens to us for our eternal good. We live in a culture that seems to be growing more and more opposed to Christ and his followers. But like Daniel we can trust in God. His promises give us the confidence to courageously live our faith and look for ways that we can glorify God with our lives.

Prayer: 

Dear Heavenly Father, remind me of your promises to be with me and to bless me in every circumstance. Help me by the power of your Spirit to courageously live 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 - November 5, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 4, 2014

Tue, Nov 04, 2014

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

Never Again

For a man by the name of Solomon Northup, it was the worst mistake he ever made. The year was 1841. Solomon Northup was a successful farmer, born and raised in New York State. He was well educated. He was a gifted violinist. He was married and had several children. He and his family enjoyed a comfortable, middle-class American lifestyle. He was also an African American freeman, born to free parents. In all of his 33 years, Solomon Northup had never known a day of slavery.

That all changed when he allowed two men to talk him into visiting Washington, DC. They did so on the pretense of hiring him as a violinist. Instead, they drugged him and sold him into slavery. For the next 12 years, Solomon Northup lived as a slave in the Deep South under the most brutal of conditions. His family and friends back home had no idea what had happened, where he was or whether he was alive or dead. Then, a miracle. A Canadian carpenter came to Solomon’s plantation to do some work. Quietly, he agreed to carry the news of Solomon’s plight to the authorities in New York. In 1853, Solomon Northup came home. He came home to his wife, his grown children, and to freedom.

It goes without saying that, for the rest of his life, Solomon Northup never again put himself in a situation where the forces of slavery could take his freedom away.

Through faith in Jesus Christ, you and I are free. We are free from the guilt of sin. We are free from the power of sin. We are free from fear, free from isolation, free from the darkness and emptiness and pointlessness and despair that sin can bring.

But the agents of slavery are always on the prowl. The temptations to sin are always on the watch. Perhaps the temptations come from the shopping mall. Perhaps they come from a bottle. Perhaps they come from a screen. Perhaps they come from the culture at the workplace or the culture at school. Perhaps they come from the crush of failure. Perhaps they come from the rush of success. Perhaps they come from the extra hours of overtime that keep you from God’s Word or the extra weekend of recreation that keeps you from God’s house.

Thank God that for every time the claws of sin try to drag us into slavery, Jesus is here. He is here to call us to repentance. He is here to cleanse us in his blood. He is here to refresh us in the freedom he purchased for us at the cross.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, in you I am free. Move me never again to be in a situation where the forces of sin can take my freedom away. 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 - November 4, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - November 3, 2014

Mon, Nov 03, 2014

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Matthew 10:22

Persecution, Preservation, and Perseverance

In love Jesus took his disciples aside to prepare them for the time when his earthly ministry would come to an end. He warned them about the persecutions they would face. He also encouraged them through his promise that he would preserve them. He even offered them the assurance that they would persevere.

In love Jesus provides me with the same preparation for my life. As a disciple of Jesus I need to understand the world in which I live is not my friend. There are distractions and deceptions. Each proves destructive to my faith because they draw me away from my Savior and his will for my life. Even more dangerous are the persecutions I will have to endure. These deadly attacks are designed by the devil to destroy my faith and rob me of heaven. Jesus alerts me to these dangers. He also makes me aware of the preservation he provides.

Jesus tells me I will be able to stand firm to the end. My confidence to remain steadfast comes through faith in his precious work. Jesus' ministry brought him to this earth to secure the victory I could never win on my own. Through his death on the cross, he defeated the terror of death and the grave. Through his descent into hell, he proved that he destroyed the devil's power and control. Through his resurrection he proclaimed the victory was won. Jesus further assures me he will preserve me from all harm and danger, and guard and protect me from all evil.

It is because of Jesus' precious work that I will be able to persevere. Life can be wearisome and discouraging. I will have to endure troubles and persecution. The enemies of my faith will seek to strike terror into my heart and rob me of heaven. Jesus not only tells me, "Do not be afraid," he also assures me I will persevere. Because of his strength and his victory I can endure and overcome all things.

How blessed I am to know that my Savior will preserve me so that I can persevere in every time of distress and persecution. How blessed I am to know he will be with me to save me.

Prayer: 

O gracious Savior, by your death you have overcome death. By your resurrection you have declared your victory. Bless me through your work so that I can remain faithful to you in this life, and in the end, receive the gift of eternal life. 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 - November 3, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 31, 2014

Fri, Oct 31, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Lord Jesus Christ, your pow’r make known,
For you are Lord of lords alone;
Defend your Christendom that we
May sing your praise eternally.

O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife,
And lead us out of death to life.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - Hymn 203, verses 3-4)

Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word!

Martin Luther, the man who wrote these words, knew just how important God’s Word is.

Maybe you’ve been where Luther had once been. He just wanted to be happy by knowing that God was happy with him. It seemed as though the best way to get there was to do the right thing. So he tried to do the right thing. He tried to be the best person he could be. But he still didn’t feel like God loved him. He tried harder. Still nothing. Eventually, Luther did something most people wouldn’t have done. He gave up a promising, high-paying career. He joined a monastery. He took vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity. He thought that this would finally give him the peace and happiness he was trying to find.  Even then, he found no comfort, no peace, no joy.

For Martin Luther, the answer finally came from the pages of Scripture: “In the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed… the righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17). God used this Scripture passage to open Luther’s eyes. Happiness does indeed come from being righteous. But how does this happen? The gospel, the good news of Jesus the Savior, revealed to Luther that his righteousness came not from himself, but only from God.

Yours does, too. It’s good to do good things, but the good things you do can’t make you or God truly happy. They don’t save you. Jesus already has.  You don’t have to fight for God’s love and acceptance. You already have it, through faith in Jesus. Every time you hear this gospel of Jesus, God fills you with true and lasting joy. And where is this gospel of Jesus to be found? Only in God’s Word.

Prayer: 

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

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 - October 31, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 30, 2014

Thu, Oct 30, 2014

Hymn of the Week - Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 203, verse 1)

In 1541, a special service of prayer was held in Wittenberg, Germany. In August of that year, King Ferdinand and his army of European soldiers had suffered a severe defeat by Mohammedan forces from Turkey. In October, a hurricane had destroyed the ships of Emperor Charles V. The service of prayer was prepared by Martin Luther. Most of the music, including this hymn, was arranged for the boys of the choir:

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word;
Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would seek to overthrow your Son
And to destroy what he has done.

In the original German version of this hymn, the words deceit and sword are more pointed. The original German for deceit pointed to the false teaching of the Roman papacy that our good works play a part in getting us to heaven. The original German for sword called attention specifically to the Turkish army that was threatening to invade.

Situations change. The Turkish army isn’t currently threatening to invade Europe. Still, there are continuing dangers to both body and soul around every corner. Only in God’s Word can we hear God’s promise of protection and peace. Only in God’s Word do we find a true guide through the trials and troubles of life. Situations change, but our prayer stays the same: Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word. God’s answer to that prayer stays the same, too. Because of Jesus Christ our Savior, we have God’s promise of protection now and always.

Prayer: 

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

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 - October 30, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 29, 2014

Wed, Oct 29, 2014

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?” . . . The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Isaiah 5:1-4,7


It was back-breaking work to plant and care for a vineyard—the plowing, the clearing of stones, the planting. Two years you’d have to wait to see any fruit. Yet, this farmer did everything possible to make his vineyard fruitful. But when he went to find good fruit, all he found was rot.

God tells this story to describe the people of Israel. He had given them everything they could possibly need to succeed: a homeland, a guide to live by, a place to worship, leaders to help them, prophets to lead them. Nothing more could have been done! Yet, when the harvest came, God found no fruit. His people had rejected him.

Friends, this isn’t a picture of Israel alone. This is a picture of every single person on earth. Even though God has done everything for us, by nature we hated God. We were God’s enemies. We produced only rotten fruit.

But God was determined not to give up on us! He sent his one and only Son Jesus to live in our place, to produce the good fruit that God desired. And Jesus not only lived for us, he also died for us to take away all of our sin and establish peace between us and God again! This good news creates a desire in us to do what God desires, to produce the good fruit he’s looking for. Because of Jesus, we can once again be the garden of God’s delight!

Prayer: 

Lord, have mercy on us for the times when we take your care for granted. Let us never receive that love in vain, but help us to produce the good fruit that you desire and deserve. 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 - October 29, 2014 --Daily Devotion