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WELS Daily Devotions
“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 worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
Daily Devotion – November 25, 2015
Devotion based on Daniel 7:13-14
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I have a 3-year-old son who has learned the word “forever.” He’s learned how to say it, but he doesn’t quite have a firm grasp of what “forever” means. A couple weeks ago, he asked me, “Can we keep our car forever?” I explained to him what upper Midwest winters and time would do to our vehicle. Our bank account would like a “forever car,” but experience says that’s not something we’ll be able to enjoy.
Have you thought about the end of things… the end of your car and house? The end of your job and relationships? The end of your health and life? I have to admit that for most things, thinking about the end of them is not particularly fun. It’s difficult to face the fact that things in this world come to an end.
Why? Why do things come to an end? Sin and the effects of sin bring many things to an end. The rust and aging that plague your car come from being a part of this sin-filled world. Sinful selfishness and unfaithfulness wrecks and erodes some relationships. We lose our health, and ultimately our lives end because we are sinners.
Daniel could see what you and I see. Sin ushers in the “end” to our things and to our lives. In love, God showed Daniel a vision of “one like a son of man.” Daniel saw Jesus. Jesus was given authority, glory and sovereign power. Daniel wrote it like this: “His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Jesus will rule forever. And Jesus gives “forever” to us.
How? Jesus’ life did not end at the cross. Jesus ushered in “forever” for us when he rose from the grave. Because your sins were paid in full by Jesus, you can stand before your God with confidence and joy. Because Jesus rose from the dead, you can look forward to living forever with your Lord.
God has a firm grasp on what “forever” means. The next time the “end” of something saddens your heart, remember: Jesus is your King forever. You will live with him forever.
Dear Jesus, you are my King. Rule my heart today and forever. Amen.
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. 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. Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all peoples on earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Daily Devotion – November 24, 2015
Devotion based on Revelation 1:4-8
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Imagine for a moment that you get the chance to go and listen to a famous person give a speech. At such an event, it is common practice to have someone introduce the speaker. So before that famous person comes out to address the crowd, it is the job of the person making the introduction to tell you about that famous person. You hear about their life’s story and their accomplishments and accolades.
In Revelation 1:4-8, the apostle John gives such an introduction. But this isn’t just for some celebrity or head of state. John introduces the most important person in human history: Jesus Christ.
So who is Jesus Christ? John tells us that he is the “faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” He is the one 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…” That is what Jesus has accomplished. At his first coming, he came not as king, but as servant. He witnessed to the truth, calling sinners like you and me to acknowledge our sinfulness and believe his good news of salvation. He came to shed his blood on the cross and free us from our sins. He came to die and rise again to conquer death, giving us victory over the grave. Having freed us from sin and death, he now sits on heaven’s throne ruling over all. And as he reigns today, he calls us to service, to show his love to our fellow human beings and tell them how he saved them from sin.
Finally, the event being marked here in Revelation isn’t just some speech or political rally. It’s the return of Jesus, the King. He says, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him…” Are we ready for the return of the King? As we consider our lives and the things we have done wrong, we might think that Jesus’ return is cause for mourning. But two words still our troubled consciences: “grace” and “peace”. Because Jesus came to give us grace and forgive our sins, we have peace. So when Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was and who is to come, the Almighty,” those words bring us joy, because just as Jesus came to win heaven for us, so he will return to bring us into heaven for all eternity. We can look forward to the return of the King.
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me your grace and peace by dying on the cross and saving me from sin. Strengthen my faith through your word, and help me to serve you during my time on earth. And as you have promised, return to this world as King to take me and all your believers home to heaven. Amen.
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Daily Devotion – November 23, 2015
Devotion based on John 18:33-37
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It’s unpleasant whenever a political leader is charged with a crime. It’s embarrassing whenever it’s your political leader. Even if you didn’t like the person, it’s embarrassing for the place where you live when someone did not live by the truths they swore to uphold. You hear all of the lies, and you wonder if you can ever trust another political leader.
It would have been more than embarrassing if Christ, your King, had committed a crime. It would have meant that you were irretrievably on the road to hell. Christ Jesus came into the world to live the perfect life that Adam could not live, the perfect life that we cannot live. If had lied even once, if he had given into temptation, it would have been a disaster.
When we honor Christ as our permanent and eternal King, we recognize him as the leader who did not and who will not sin. He never lied. He continues to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and so we trust his promises.
When Christ the King promises that our sins are forgiven, we are filled with the patriotic pride of citizens of heaven. We rejoice that our kingdom is not of this world.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 373):
O Jesus, King most wonderful, O, Majesty renowned,
O Conqueror invincible, in whom all joys are found.
Oh, may our tongues forever bless and honor you alone.
And may we in our lives express the image of your own. Amen.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Daily Devotion – November 22, 2015
Devotion based on John 19:30
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Imagine the feelings of the disciples on the day when Jesus died. Perhaps, while he hung there on the cross, the disciples imagined that Jesus would miraculously come down from it. They had seen him do many miracles before. Perhaps they thought that Jesus would get revenge on those crucifying him. Perhaps they thought Jesus would somehow end that terrible nightmare right then and there.
But on that day, things didn’t happen as they imagined. Jesus died! “He bowed his head and give up his spirit.” At that moment, their hope in Jesus was dashed. Their hearts and minds were filled with sadness and flooded with fear.
If Jesus had stayed in the grave, there would be every reason for all of us to be sad and fearful at the reality of death. But he didn’t stay in the grave. Just as he promised, Jesus came out of the grave – alive!
What wonderful news! Jesus died for us and rose from the dead! Because he died, our sins are forever washed away. By his resurrection, he proved himself to be our Savior who gives us victory over death and the gift of eternal life in heaven.
In this Thanksgiving week, we pause to give thanks to God for his blessings. The greatest gift of God was his Son who sacrificed himself to free us from death. Oh, how thankful we are for Jesus’ death! For by it we have life with God.
Prayer: Thank you, heavenly Father, for all the blessings you give me. Especially, I am thankful for the gift of Jesus who saved me from my sins by dying for me. Give me faith to firmly rely on his promise that because he lives, I too shall rise from the dead and live with you forever. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Daily Devotion – November 20, 2015
Devotion based on Hebrews 13:8
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A popular theme of science fiction productions is traveling back into the past or jumping ahead into the future. Even if that were possible, the reality is that people can only be at one place at one time.
But at every moment in time “Jesus Christ is…” The great “I AM” fills every moment of time. Our glorified Savior Christ is King over time because he is not bound by it. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
“Jesus Christ is the same…” That means that the message delivered by Jesus the eternal Son of God will not need to be morphed or reformatted for another time or another place. The message is the same. The truth of his words stand firm forever.
“Jesus Christ is the same…” That means that the reassuring comfort of his presence is the same for every person in every part of the world at every point in time. Every believer, including the saints in glory can say, “Jesus is with me.”
“Jesus Christ is the same…” That means his death on that one day in history gave the gift of God’s forgiveness to all people of yesterday, of today, and the people of tomorrow. The Savior who was with Adam and Eve is the Savior who died for them. The Savior who appeared to Moses is the Savior who died for him. The Savior who meets us in worship is the Savior who died for us.
And when we meet this Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, on the last day, he will not need to time travel. He will be the same Jesus who had come in time to live, die and rise, and then ascend into heaven (see Acts 1:11). His words, his presence, his forgiveness and his love will be forever the same. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Prayer: Jesus, I am greatly encouraged and comforted knowing you are unchanging. I can count on your unchanging word, your continual presence, your daily forgiveness, and your eternal love. Through all the changing experiences of my life, lead me on the sure and certain way to the glory you have prepared for me. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
Daily Devotion – November 19, 2015
Devotion based on Numbers 23:19
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A recent song on the radio includes the line: “I know you lie / because your lips are moving.” The singer is fed up with her two-timing ex-boyfriend. Every word he utters in his defense has been nothing but a lie. So she refuses to listen to him any longer. No relationship can continue in the absence of truth.
Most people don’t lie all the time. But all people lie some of the time. Because of our self-centered nature as fallen creatures, deceptive words spring from our mouths just as naturally as erupting geysers. Even when we’re not consciously trying to mislead others, we often change our minds on a position we took earlier or make promises that later we’re not able to keep, despite our best intentions. The effect is the same as a lie—what we claimed to be the truth turned out not always to be true. And our relationships with each other suffer as a result.
But there is one in whom we can put our trust without fear of disappointment. He is “the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). Every word he speaks is true. Every promise he makes is certain.
God told Noah that he would send a flood to destroy life on earth, and the floodgates opened, submerging the planet in water. God promised to give century-old Abraham a son, and Isaac was born a year later. God assured Moses of delivery from the Egyptian army, and then caused the waters of the Red Sea to part. God told Adam and Eve he would send a Savior to undo the effects of their disobedience, and centuries later Christ Jesus, the Son of God, came to give his life as a ransom for all sinners.
The Lord is faithful in all his promises: to love and forgive us for the sake of Christ; to provide for and protect all his children; to be with us in this world and to take us to be with him in the next.
Prayer: Father in heaven, your sure promises give me hope and fill me with peace. Let me never doubt your word. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake; some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”
Daily Devotion – November 18, 2015
Devotion based on Daniel 12:2-3
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What do you like to wake up to? Some are jarred awake by an alarm clock or a crying child. Others prefer the morning radio show. Some choose a special ring tone or song. Others have their bodies trained well enough that they don’t need any help waking up every day at the exact time they choose.
You will wake up one day in a completely different way. The word of the Lord came to Daniel and he wrote about how people who have died will awake. He recorded it like this: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake.” It won’t be an alarm clock, a song or a child who wakes them. It will be God.
What will happen when God awakens all people? Daniel wrote that they will go “some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Very simply, some will go to heaven; some will go to hell.
What would you rather awake to—everlasting life or everlasting contempt? Now is our time of grace. Now is the time when our eternity is set. God tells you and me that on our own each one of us deserves to awake to “everlasting contempt.” Our holy God is being very fair and serious when he tells us that because of sin, we’ve earned hell for ourselves. While we might wish for heaven, we deserve hell.
What would God rather awake us to? Heaven. God makes it very clear that his saving will is that no one would perish but that all would be saved—that all would go to heaven.
So, God graciously and vigorously worked for that. In love, God sent Jesus as the perfect substitute for sinners like you and me. He lived a holy, perfect life in our place. Jesus suffered and died on the cross to pay in full the debt and punishment for our sins. God has declared you not guilty.
Since you’d rather wake up to be welcomed into heaven, know and believe that God so loved the whole world (including YOU) that he sent Jesus to live, die and rise for you. Know and believe that your sins are forgiven and you have peace with God. Know and believe that when you wake up from the sleep of death, you will be with the Lord forever.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for waking me up to what the future holds. Thank you for giving me not what I’ve earned, but what you’ve graciously won and given to me. Comfort and motivate me in my daily walk with you by giving me sure confidence that I will be with you forever in heaven. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my law in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
Daily Devotion – November 17, 2015
Devotion based on Hebrews 10:11-18
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The old saying goes, “Never send a boy to do a man’s job.” If you have a job that needs doing, you need someone who is qualified to get it done right. You wouldn’t call an electrician to fix the plumbing in your house. You wouldn’t take your car to a dentist if it needed repair. And you wouldn’t seek medical advice from a lawyer.
In the same way, you can’t send a man to do God’s job. We human beings cannot take away sin. Despite what we may think, it is impossible to get into God’s favor by working harder and harder. There’s no such thing as balancing out our wrongs with rights. If we were to offer sacrifices like the priests in the Old Testament did, ours would be just as unable to take away sins as theirs were. That is why those Old Testament sacrifices and priests were never meant to take away sins. They were meant to point ahead to someone who could: the promised Savior, Jesus.
He acts as our Priest, not dressing in fancy garments and going through the same rituals over and over again. He offered himself as the one-time sacrifice on the altar of the cross to take away all of our sins. All our failures, shortcomings and evils are washed away because Jesus died for us. On account of what Jesus has done, God says, “I remember their sins no more.”
Yet Jesus isn’t just our Priest. He also is our King. Having done all that was necessary to save us from sin, Jesus himself now sits at the right hand of God. That means he wields all power and authority ruling over everything in this world. Think about that: the One who is in charge of all things in this world is the same One who gave his life on a cross for us because his love is that great. And his absolute victory is assured. Every enemy of his who tries to stand between him and bringing his people home to heaven will be defeated. That means under Jesus’ gracious reign, every enemy of our souls will be defeated.
So thank God that he has not sent just a man to be our priest and king. He sent Jesus, the Son of God and Son of man to be our Priestly King forever!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am helpless to do anything about my sins. Thank you for acting as my Priest, offering yourself on the cross as the sacrifice for my sins. Strengthen my faith with the knowledge that in you I am forgiven and my sins are remembered no more. Encourage me with the knowledge that you are today and forever my King, ruling my life and this world for my eternal good. And one day as you have promised, bring me home to 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. Print PDF
“Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”
Daily Devotion – November 16, 2015
Devotion based on John 5:25-29
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When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he spoke loudly in the graveyard. “Lazarus,” he said, “come out!” I wonder how many bodies would have come out of the grave at that time if Jesus had not specified which person he wanted to raise.
Yes, the Word of God is that powerful. It has already brought millions of people to faith in Jesus, changing them from spiritual death and bringing them to spiritual life.
But the Word of God has not prevented people from sinning. Those who believe in Jesus still think and do things that are not holy. Those things should disqualify them from heaven. “Those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”
Only Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man, did everything good. He should have gone directly to heaven. But instead he suffered hell on the cross, taking the condemnation that we deserve.
As a result, when Jesus calls us out of our graves, we will rise to live, based on the good that Jesus has done. He will be our Judge on that Judgment Day, and he will not forget what he has done for us. Everyone who believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life.
Christ, the Life of all the living, Christ, the Death of death our foe …
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus, unto thee. Amen.
(Christian Worship – A Lutheran Hymnal, 114, verse 1)
Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials… Though you have not seen him (Jesus Christ), you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:6, 8-9
Daily Devotion – November 13, 2015
Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:6, 8-9
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Two atheist doctors walked into the church office, but the pastor wasn’t sure what to do with a paradox.
It’s a pun (pair-of-docs), a little humor, confronting a real problem needing a real solution. A “paradox” is “a seemingly self-contradictory statement that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded and true.” It seemed contradictory that a pair of docs professing to be atheists would come to the church office. Upon investigation, however, the pastor found that they came not to challenge, but to see if the Bible really shows why the theory of evolution is false and how they could be certain that they would be safe in the hereafter. They were in the right place. There they learned about Jesus, heaven, and the truth of God’s creation. Paradox solved!
Peter’s words seem contradictory too. If his readers were “suffering grief in all kinds of trials,” trials that he himself compared to the “refiner’s fire,” how could they be filled with “an inexpressible and glorious joy”? How could they love and trust in someone they had never seen, who allowed such things?
With careful investigation of Bible truth, Peter’s words are confirmed as well founded and true. Even a lifetime of “blast-furnace” trials will last only a “little while” compared to “the salvation of your souls” for all eternity. By the gracious blessing of the Holy Spirit the spark of faith in Jesus is ignited by Baptism and the Word, and fanned into flame by the Good News of what Jesus did to save us. His sinless life, sacrificial death, and triumphant resurrection substituted for all mankind. He satisfied God’s justice and won salvation for us all. For that, we love and trust in him. Even in our deepest grief we have that “inexpressible and glorious joy.” Our eternal goal is won! That’s our certainty and strength! Paradox solved!
Prayer: When things seem contradictory, Lord, help me investigate the explanation in your Word. Your Word is 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. Print PDF
The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
Daily Devotion – November 12, 2015
Devotion based on Proverbs 10:28
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Everyone hopes for something. An infant, maybe without even realizing it, hopes to eat, to be changed, to sleep. A child hopes to be loved, to be embraced, to be acknowledged and commended. A teen hopes for acceptance, for friendship, for a license and a car. A young adult hopes for the right degree, the right career, the right spouse. In mid-life we hope for opportunities, for resources, and for a comfortable retirement. In old age we hope for health and for the well-being of those we love.
There are also hopes that go beyond this life. The hope for something more. The hope for something better. The hope for eternal life. The hope for heaven.
Apart from Jesus all these hopes come to nothing. Or worse.
People place their hope in the things that money can buy. But money runs out, and there are things money cannot buy. People place their hope in education and experience. But education and experience sometimes disappoint, and there are things education and experience cannot accomplish. People place their hope in other people. But people ultimately fail. Furthermore, when it comes to things beyond this life, any hope based on anyone or anything other than the righteousness that comes from God through faith in Christ results not in nothingness; it results in something far worse—eternal condemnation.
What a blessed contrast, then, when God’s Word assures us: “The prospect of the righteous is joy.” No matter what our financial situation—joy. No matter what comes of education and experience—joy. No matter what the people around us may say or do—joy. For the child of God, hope ultimately results in joy—overriding and underpinning joy.
Can it be? Is it true? Joy? Today? Every day? For you?
Yes. Indeed. Because God has declared you righteous through faith in Christ, today and every day you have joy—joy in Jesus.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that no matter what comes my way today, I have joy in 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. Print PDF
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.”
Daily Devotion – November 11, 2015
Devotion based on Malachi 4:1-2a
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“The day is coming!” The Lord blesses earthly life with special days that are eagerly anticipated. Young children count down the number of days until Christmas. Spouses lovingly anticipate the celebration of a wedding anniversary.
In the final chapter of the Old Testament, the Prophet Malachi describes the most significant day in our future, the Last Day. But why should we eagerly anticipate that day which will burn like a furnace? How can we look forward to a day that will be filled with fire?
With vivid imagery, the prophet paints the sobering picture of the coming day of God’s just judgment. Malachi reminds us that the LORD is serious about sin—even our very own sin. The portrait of our sinful lives stands uncovered before the all-seeing eyes of the LORD Almighty. By nature, we are deserving of his eternal wrath that is surely coming on the Last Day.
Yet the LORD Almighty is also the gracious and compassionate LORD. On that day our Savior, Jesus Christ, will return to rescue all who believe in him. He is the one who took away the sickness of sin and brought us the healing of his salvation. He exchanged God’s fiery judgment for the sunlight of God’s pardon through his death on the cross.
The Last Day will be a great and glorious day! We eagerly anticipate that day when the LORD will return. Yes, it will be a day filled with fire, fear and dread—but not for those who trust in the returning Savior. Through Jesus, our escape from God’s wrath is guaranteed. He promises the light and splendor of everlasting life in heaven to all who believe in him.
“Surely the day is coming!” We ponder the message with joy and expectation. Until that day comes, let us spend our days eagerly searching his Word for light and life. Let us also confidently share the good news of his approaching arrival with others.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for your sure promise of forgiveness for all my sins. Because of your forgiveness, I eagerly anticipate the sheer joy of your coming. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people.
Daily Devotion – November 10, 2015
Devotion based on Hebrews 9:27-28
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A man by the name of William Saroyan was known for a couple things. For one, William Saroyan was a great American writer during the 20th Century. During his career in writing, he received both the Pulitzer Prize and the Academy Award. For another, William Saroyan was known for his extreme zeal for life. He once said, “Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might . . . You will be dead soon enough.”
On one level his advice makes sense: Life is short. Death is coming. Savor the time you have.
When you study his later years, however, it appears that William Saroyan took this to mean that living life is a frantic race against time. As he grew older, he isolated himself in his own home so he could get more words down on paper. He drank gallons of coffee and often worked for up to two days without sleep. And when he did sleep, it was on an army cot next to his typewriter.
One day relatives found him unconscious. They rushed him to a hospital. Within a short time, William Saroyan was dead.
On the one hand, you and I want to do exactly what William Saroyan advised. During our days on this earth we want to try as much as possible “to breathe deeply,” to taste life fully.
For us as Christians, however, there’s a difference. We savor this life not because this life is all we have. Rather, we savor this life because Jesus Christ has made it sweet.
In spite of difficulties, in spite of disappointments, this life is sweet because full forgiveness through faith in Jesus has made it so. In spite of troubles, in spite of pain, this life is sweet because God, in Christ, is using us to touch the lives of others. In spite of tragedy, illness, old age and death, this life is sweet because Jesus has turned the end of this life into the door to life eternal.
This means that, because of Jesus, you and I can savor the life he has given us, and know that the best is yet to come.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you washed me clean in your blood and covered me in your perfection. Through faith in you my life is sweet. Move me to savor this life as I await the life to come. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
“He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.”
Daily Devotion – November 9, 2015
Devotion based on John 5:23
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“I believe in god.” That was Ted’s response to his friend’s question. “But that’s not what I asked,” Bill replied. “Well,” Ted added, “I guess if you have to believe in something, you might as well believe in god. Besides he loves everyone and will let them into heaven just the way they are.”
Bill was concerned with his friend’s lack of knowledge about the true God, and especially about God’s Son, Jesus. So, Bill pointed his friend to Jesus’ own words, “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.” Ted was at a loss to explain what it meant to honor the Son. The same problem confronts every sinner, and it even confronts me. What does it mean to honor the Son?
To honor the Son means to acknowledge all the Bible says about Jesus. He is true God. He is equal to his Father in all things. He also deserves the same glory and praise his Father receives. Furthermore, to honor the Son means to recognize and trust all he has done to secure my rescue from sin and death.
The Bible is very clear about what Jesus did. He obediently subjected himself to his Father’s eternal will to be my Savior. He willingly took on flesh and blood to endure his Father’s harsh sentence for my guilt. He freely paid the ultimate price to secure my freedom from his Father’s just judgment. He triumphantly rose and returned to heaven to proclaim his Father’s great and undeserved love for me.
When I acknowledge what the Bible has said about Jesus and put my trust in what he has done for me, I honor the Son. I also honor God the Father who sent him to rescue me.
This is what Ted didn’t understand. It is also what many people today don’t understand. However, through faith I not only understand, I trust in him as my Savior and honor him as the Father’s Son.
Prayer: O dearest Jesus, lead me through your Word to trust in you completely as God’s Son and my Savior, and to honor you as the one true God—together with your Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
Daily Devotion – November 6, 2015
Devotion based on John 16:21-22
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Jesus spoke earnestly to his disciples just before the three-day, salvation-winning event of his death and resurrection. Jesus pictures a mother in labor, delivery, and at the birth of her child. That same event brings real pain, real grief, but also real joy to the mom, and to her husband also.
Jesus’ disciples felt real grief over what Jesus clearly revealed at that Upper Room Passover meal. Jesus spoke of betrayal, denial, and of his own death, saying, “In a little while you will see me no more.” But he added, “…and then after a little while you will see me” (John 16:16).
We can hardly plumb the depth of grief that the disciples felt that night. Yet, Jesus assured them, “I will see you again and you will rejoice and no one will take away your joy.” On the third day, following the onslaught of that grievous event, which brought our Savior to the agony of Calvary, the salvation-winning event culminated in his resurrection! The disciples saw Jesus again, just as he said they would! They were eye-witnesses! Their grief turned to joy, “joy that no one will take away” because Jesus lives and reigns eternally! So he said, “Tell the world!” (Matthew 28:19-20)
For you, me, and every Christian, considering the cross of Christ stirs both real grief and real joy concerning that same event. The real grief is in the deeper understanding that the sins of every human being, including your sins and mine, nailed Jesus to the cross. The real joy is in the deeper understanding that Jesus willingly made that “atoning sacrifice (paid the full punishment price) for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). We have eternal life and an irrevocable joy shared by all who trust in the risen Christ for eternal salvation! Tell the world!
Prayer: Lord, help me view the cross with grief and joy, and thankful sharing. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Daily Devotion – November 5, 2015
Devotion based on Hebrews 12:2
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I have a colleague who signs off (notes, letters, messages) with the words “Joy in Jesus.” What is her point? I suppose I could ask her exactly what she has in mind when she writes those words. Or we could consider the words of Hebrews 12:2 and the example of Jesus, “who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Let’s start by getting this straight: it is inaccurate to say that suffering and shame brought Jesus joy. Being mocked and ridiculed by those he had come to save did not bring Jesus joy. Being unjustly accused and condemned did not bring Jesus joy. Facing the agony of hell and complete separation from his heavenly Father did not bring Jesus joy.
Likewise, it is inaccurate to say, or even imply, that someone can or must find joy in things that come as a result of sin. Sickness and disease do not bring joy. Strained and broken relationships do not bring joy. Financial dilemmas do not bring joy. These things, in and of themselves, do not bring joy. They may bring opportunity, but they do not bring joy. In fact, they suck the joy out of life.
Jesus was, however, filled with joy, even in the midst of pain and suffering. He was filled with joy because he knew what these things were accomplishing: the fulfillment of God’s saving plan; the beginning and perfection of our faith; the salvation of souls; eternity with the redeemed gathered around him and the glorious throne of God!
Likewise, even in the midst of pain and suffering, we have this overriding and underpinning joy which weaves its way through the fabric of our lives. Joy in times of sickness and disease. Joy as we work to restore broken relationships. Joy as we strive to be faithful stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. This joy is ours, come what may, as we fix our eyes on Jesus.
So, what does my colleague have in mind when she signs off with the words “Joy in Jesus”? You decide.
a) Look to find your Joy in Jesus
b) We have Joy in Jesus
c) May you be blessed with Joy in Jesus
d) All of the above
Prayer: Lord Jesus, in every circumstance of life, may I fix my eyes on you, and rejoice. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’”
Daily Devotion – November 4, 2015
Devotion based on Jeremiah 18:1-11
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The worth of a Ming dynasty-era bowl has been recently valued at 36 million dollars. The value of the heavenly Potter’s fragile human clay wares is priceless. We are precious in the sight of the almighty God who formed and made us (Ps. 119:73). In perfect wisdom he fashioned us from the dust of the earth.
God’s love for mankind is undeniable. Yet rebellious mankind has defied the loving hands of the divine Creator and denied his holy will. Our sin has shattered the once-beautiful relationship between the Creator and the crown of his creation. This rebellion against the Potter has earned the sinner nothing but shame, hardship and eternal judgment.
However, our kind Creator did not cast us away from his presence like broken shards. Before he formed us, God already knew us and had devised his divine plan to save us. His hands were not idle as he sought our rescue. His almighty hands took on human flesh and blood. The divine Potter, Jesus Christ, became like one of the clay pots of his creation; he is fully human but not marred with sin. With breathtaking love he took the place of all mankind, the object of his affection. He suffered the just wrath of God for their sins while his holy hands hung innocently on the cross and completely restored the broken relationship between the Creator and his beloved creatures.
The hands of the Savior reveal how immeasurably important and priceless we are in his sight. Our sins, which had eternally marred our opportunity to dwell in God’s presence, have been entirely forgiven. Now we look forward to an eternal home in the Potter’s presence forever.
Because of the patient and persistent love of the heavenly Potter, we live each day in sincere repentance of our sins. Rooted in the grace of the Potter, we have everlasting joy and peace. His kind and caring hands compel our hands to open our Bibles and seek his will. His gracious hands encourage our hands to loving service for him and others.
Prayer: O Lord, in wisdom you formed me in my mother’s womb. In grace you re-formed me to be your blood-bought child through baptism. Strengthen my faith in Christ Jesus to hear, trust and follow your holy word. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.
Daily Devotion – November 3, 2015
Devotion based on Revelation 14:6
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For lovers of history, it is a dream location. If you drive through central Wyoming along State Highway 220, you can’t miss it. From the proper angle, it looks like a giant cereal bowl turned upside down. It is called “Independence Rock.” Independence Rock is 12 stories high. If you get out of your car and walk around the base, you’ll be walking for more than a mile. During the 1800’s, Independence Rock was a major landmark along the Oregon Trail. Pioneers in covered wagons knew that if they could reach it by the Fourth of July, they were on schedule to finish their journey and get settled before winter. Many carved their names into that rock. You can still see their names today.
But for those who love history, here’s something about Independence Rock that is, perhaps, the most powerful. If you climb to the top and look around, you’ll see virtually no evidence of 21st Century civilization. There are no towns, no gas stations, no motels. In fact, if you climb back down and travel a bit further, what you will find are the ruts left by the covered wagons from so many years ago.
In a world where rapid change is the norm, it is a comfort for some to know that there are still some places that have changed very little.
Such a sense of comfort, however, is nothing in comparison to the comfort that comes from something that is truly permanent. That is the permanence that comes from the eternal gospel.
No matter how old you get, no matter what changes you see, the eternal gospel remains the same. No matter how many times you have failed, no matter how often you have disappointed others, the eternal gospel remains the same. No matter how heavy the guilt from your past, no matter how chaotic your present or how uncertain your future, the eternal gospel remains the same. The gospel message that God came to this earth in the Person of Jesus Christ, that he lived and died as your Substitute to wash away your wrongs, that he raised himself back to life to assure you that all is well—every part of that message remains the same. None of it will ever change.
And that is a beautiful thing to know.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, you are the same yesterday and today and forever, and so is your gospel. For this priceless comfort I thank and praise 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. Print PDF
Jesus said to them, “Watch out that no one deceives you . . . You must be on your guard . . . Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say.”
Mark 13:5, 9, 11
Daily Devotion – November 2, 2015
Devotion based on Mark 13:5, 9, 11
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What does the future have in store? It would be helpful to know so appropriate plans could be made. It would also be helpful to avoid conflict and tragedy. Through Mark’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry, the Christian receives a glimpse of the future.
All in all, it is distressing. All one needs to do is to look at three key phrases of our all-knowing Lord Jesus: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” “You must be on your guard.” “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry about what to say.” While it does paint an ominous picture, there is a bright ray of hope. This is what I need to keep in mind.
From Jesus’ description, life will become more challenging as I live it for him alone. There will be those who will try to deceive me. They will say a life of faith isn’t that important. They may also demand I need to add something to it. There will be those who try to persecute me and prohibit me from giving a clear witness to the world. There will even be those who will attempt to put me on trial for my faith and seek to imprison me.
Do I give up? Do I give in? Do I live my life in fear? Jesus answers my fears and allays my apprehensions. It is his assurance which helps me meet the challenges of the future. In great love and understanding he says, “I know, and I will be with you.”
Everything that could eventually happen to me, he has already experienced. On his way to the cross to secure my rescue from God’s just judgment on sin, he endured deception and arrest. He was put on trial by those who sought to silence him and was sentenced to death. He was finally crucified even though he was innocent. Through his precious work he paid the price for my rescue. At the same time, he provided the assurance and strength to meet the challenges I will have to face as I live for him.
Because of Jesus I do not have to fear future challenges. I can recognize them with the knowledge he offers. I can meet them with the strength he provides. I can overcome them with the victory he says is mine. This is what I need to keep in mind as I prepare for the future.
Prayer: O blessed Jesus, not only do you give me a warning to be prepared for the future, you also prepare me to meet the challenges it will bring. Keep me focused on the knowledge, the strength and the victory you have secured so I can remain faithful to you in all things. Amen.Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Print PDF
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you.
Daily Devotion – October 31, 2015
Devotion based on Colossians 1:3-6a
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There was a song in an old movie that spoke of an ant with high hopes. Everyone knows “an ant can’t,” the song expresses, “move a rubber tree plant.” Then comes the refrain, “But he had high hopes.” The listener is left with the picture of a hope-filled ant really moving a rubber tree plant, rather than being frustrated by an immovable object, or being crushed by it weight on his back. “Can’t” is quickly erased from our minds. Hope is seen overcoming the impossible.
The apostle Paul, writing to Christians, expresses unending thanks to God for the “faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the Word of truth, the gospel.”
Faith, hope and love! You can’t have one without the other two. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now these three remain: faith, hope and love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Try removing a leg from a three-legged stool and you’ll have nothing to stand on. So it is with these. If you have no hope, your faith with not stand; your love will not endure. Faith and love in the hearts of Christians spring up from hope of heaven promised us in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The despairing gloom of sin’s dark clouds that overshadow this world in which we live are swept away to let in the light of the Son because he has given us hope. He endured the punishment for our sins. He rose victorious over death. He defeated Satan and opened heaven for us.
Now nothing, not even death, can steal our bright future because our hope is stored up for us already in heaven.
Maybe an ant can’t move a rubber tree plant, but our Lord Jesus accomplishes the impossible! In him, we have received the highest of hopes!
Prayer: Dear Savior, cause my faith and love to spring up from hope in the glorious good news of all that you have done for me on earth and have prepared for me in heaven. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.