WELS Daily Devotions

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

Devotion - October 28, 2014

Tue, Oct 28, 2014

I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14


After a long day, that glorious moment has finally arrived. However, as your weary head sinks deeper into its pillow your mind begins reviewing the events of the day, and you find that sleep is not going to come as quickly as you would like. Unfinished tasks, disappointing events, words that you regret speaking… there are all sorts of things that happened during the day that you wish you could go back and change, but you can’t.

One of the most frustrating things in life is also one of the most solid truths. We cannot go back and change anything that has happened in the past. Neither the hasty words spoken five minutes ago nor the foolish decisions of youth can be undone. There is no time machine that allows us to go back and avoid making the mistakes we have made.

How awesome our God is! He does undo the past. He has erased those mistakes, not by using a time machine, but with the blood of his Son. Every hurtful word spoken, and every selfish decision made, all the sinful acts we have ever committed—they have all been erased by Jesus’ death on the cross.

Now we have been given a tremendous gift—a future. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross in our place, all our sin and guilt have been removed and by faith in Jesus we have been given eternal life in heaven. Instead of ending the day with a mind that is spinning, filled with the regrets of the past, we can rest in peace with our eyes focused on the wonderful future God has graciously given to us.

Each day we struggle to make decisions that are pleasing to God. Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to win that struggle. Other times our human nature prevails and we fail. Trusting in the forgiveness that is ours through Jesus and confident of his gift of eternal life, we can sleep in peace every night. The sins of our past have been erased forever. Instead of focusing on them, we can focus on the future—the eternal future we have been given—and how we are going to strive to live our next moment to the glory of the gracious God who has given it to us.

May the Holy Spirit graciously enable us to echo the apostle Paul’s words: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer: 

Holy Spirit, fill my heart with a faith that focuses on the eternal prize that Jesus, my Savior has won for me with his blood.  With my eyes focused on heaven, help me to live my life here on earth as the forgiven child of God that I am.  In Jesus’ name I ask it. 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 28, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 27, 2014

Mon, Oct 27, 2014

Jesus said to [the chief priests and the Pharisees], “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”

Matthew 21:42-43


These words of Jesus came at the end of a parable (a story that relates a truth about God and his kingdom). A landowner had rented his vineyard to some tenant farmers. They were to give him a share of the harvest when his servants came to collect. Instead, the tenants beat and even killed those servants. In response, the landowner sent more servants. Same treatment. Finally, the man sent his son. Certainly, he thought, they would respect and receive his son. But instead, the wicked tenants killed the son and claimed the vineyard as their own! The point was not lost on Jesus’ hearers. They knew what that landowner would do next. He would avenge the death of his servants and son and rent his vineyard to new, faithful farmers.

How patiently and graciously the Lord had dealt with the people of Israel! God had chosen them to be his special people. They would bear his name, have his Word and be the nation from whom the world’s Savior would be born. They were not special because they were better than other people. They were not sinless or righteous in themselves. They needed the Savior from sin as much as anybody else. God had chosen them by his grace. He called on them to believe his promise that the Savior would come. He called on them to produce the thoughts and actions that come from faith. In large part, though, the people of Israel rejected the Lord’s promise. They became proud of the position that was theirs only because of God’s undeserved love. God sent them prophets to turn them around. They mistreated and rejected those prophets. Finally, he sent them his Son! They crucified him, the one who had come as proof of God’s patience and mercy. They had rejected God’s chosen one.

Rejecting Jesus is rejecting the Father who sent him. Refusal to listen to the Lord and to believe his promises is to treat him the same way the tenant farmers treated the landowner. There is a message there for all of us. God has been and still is patient and gracious. He still sends a message of pardon and peace to those who realize just how much they need it because of sin. Jesus Christ still holds out his nail-pierced hands to lead us to his Father. He still gives his Word that our hearts might be filled with faith and might burst forth with fruit.

Look to him as God’s chosen one. See him as the sure hope of a right relationship with God. Look to serve him with lives that reflect genuine thanks and love.

Prayer: 

Lord, thank you for your patience with me. Help me to see just how much I need Jesus, and then fill my heart with joy to know how he has lived and died to save me. Help me to live a life that shows my gratitude and love. In Jesus’ name. 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 27, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 24, 2014

Fri, Oct 24, 2014

Hymn of the Week

O Jesus, let your precious blood
Be to my soul a cleansing flood.
Turn not, O Lord, your guest away,
But grant that justified I may
Go to my house at peace to be:
O God, be merciful to me!

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymnal 306, verse 3)

O God, be merciful to me!

What makes me think that I, a sinner, can approach God, the Judge of all, with confidence–even on my best days? What makes me think that I, a sinner, can have any expectation of anything good from the God whose will I violate in thought and deed and word on a daily basis? What makes me think that I, a sinner, can have any hope of mercy from the Almighty?

God himself gives me hope. God himself generates such an expectation. God himself fills me with confidence.

The basis is Jesus’ precious blood: “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

The effect is cleansing: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

The result is an open invitation: “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).

The declaration is not guilty: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24).

The blessing is peace: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Dear friend, when your sins press down upon you, know that you can approach God and appeal to his mercy. Jesus’ blood has made perfect payment for your sins. You have been cleansed; declared not guilty. You can live in peace.

Prayer: 

O Jesus, let your precious blood be to my soul a cleansing flood. Turn not, O Lord, your guest away, but grant that justified I may go to my house at peace to be: O God, be merciful to me!

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 24, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 23, 2014

Thu, Oct 23, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Before you, God, the Judge of all,
With grief and shame I humbly fall.
I see my sins against you, Lord,
My sins of thought and deed and word.
They press me sore; to you I flee:
O God, be merciful to me!

O Lord, my God, to you I pray:
Oh, cast me not in wrath away!
Let your good Spirit ne'er depart,
But let him draw to you my heart
That truly penitent I be:
O God, be merciful to me!

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 306, verses 1 and 2)

O God, be merciful to me!

When I sin, my natural tendency is to run away from God. To hide. To ignore. To pretend. So why would I, as the author of this hymn says, flee to God, the Judge of all? When I know that I violate God’s holiness so often, when I know that I sin against him in thought and deed and word every day, why would I flee to the one, the Judge of all, who should rightly cast me away in wrath?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to flee from God, like Adam and Eve hiding from God among the trees of the garden? (Genesis 3) Wouldn’t it make more sense to turn away from God, crying out like Isaiah, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips”? (Isaiah 6) Of course that makes no sense. I can’t hide from God. Nor can anything be gained by turning away from him, or ignoring my sins, or pretending they don’t matter.

When my sins press down upon me, the only thing I can do is fall humbly before God in grief and shame. The only thing I can do is repent. The only thing I can do is plead: “O God, be merciful to me!”

This is what the hymn writer and what God himself urges you to do: plead for God’s mercy! That mercy was evident to Adam and Eve when God first extended the promise of a Savior who would crush the devil. That mercy was evident to Isaiah when God directed one of his angels to assure him, “Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” That mercy is evident to you throughout the Bible as God comforts you with promises like this: “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).

Confident of his promises, Children of God are moved not to flee from God but to flee to him, not to hide from God but to fall humbly before him, not to turn away from God but to plead for his mercy.

Prayer: 

O Lord, my God, to you I pray: Oh, cast me not in wrath away! Let your good Spirit ne'er depart, but let him draw to you my heart, that truly penitent I be: O God, be merciful to me!

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 23, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 22, 2014

Wed, Oct 22, 2014

The word of the LORD came to me: "What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: 'The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge’? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son—both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die."

Ezekiel 18:1-4


My kids used to complain, "Dad, it's not fair!" My response was, "You're right. But then, God never promised that life would be fair."

The Israelites were complaining. The gist of their complaint was that their ancestors had done sinful things, and now they were having to bear the consequences. It wasn't fair. And so they had not taken responsibility for their own sinful actions and their own spiritual failures; rather, they blamed their parents/grandparents/ancestors.

How easy it is in life to slip into similar thinking. "My parents were terrible!" "My spouse totally mistreated me!" "I don’t deserve the treatment I’m getting; I’m better than that." Then we are tempted to finish those sentences with, "It's not fair, and it's not my fault!"

God's answer is succinct: "Every living soul belongs to me." Our responsibility isn't to make excuses about our circumstances in life. Rather, we are to serve God to the best of our ability in the situation into which we have been placed. Can we do that, even if what we experience seems unfair? Yes we can because you and I belong to God! That's good news! For, whether we are fortunate or not, God loves us equally: "Every living soul belongs to me," he says.

God made you to be exactly whom he wanted you to be, for your eternal good and the eternal good of others. God guides you through life's good times and its unfairness so that you learn to rely on him more and more. Sometimes life is not easy! Sometimes it's not much fun! But through it all, God has claimed you as his own, bought at the price of Jesus' own blood.

And by the way, is that fair? Is it fair that Jesus had to die in my place and in your place? No! It wasn't fair at all! We should have died, but Jesus died for us!

God never promised that life would be fair. Instead, he promised that he would keep on loving us; that he would keep on forgiving us through Jesus.

That's fair enough for me!

Prayer: 

God, strengthen me to deal with life's unfairness. Focus my attention on your love, always reminding me that you have graciously made me to be your own. In Jesus' name I pray. 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 22, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 21, 2014

Tue, Oct 21, 2014

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:3-5


These are words that burrow deep into the soul. Humility is not something that comes naturally to us. The three-year old who figures out how to tie his shoes runs to his mother with a pride-filled smile, directing her attention to his feet and his accomplishment. His greatest desire at that moment is to receive her praise. That desire for others to recognize our greatness and the grand things we have accomplished does not diminish with age.

Scripture does not just command humility, it gives us the ultimate example. Of all the people who have ever walked upon this planet Jesus certainly had every reason to think that he was better than everyone else. The fact is that he was. As true God and Creator of everything, the power, wisdom, glory, and authority that he had could not even be compared to that of the greatest ruler our world has ever seen.

Yet he did not pound his chest and stand on the highest mountain for all to see his greatness and praise him. His greatest goal was not for all people in the world to serve him, waiting on him hand and foot and immediately providing for his every desire. Instead we are told that Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)

Instead of looking to his own interests, Jesus was focused on yours. Setting aside his glory, he humbly entered into our world with one purpose: to sacrifice himself for you and pay the price for your sins. That meant humbling himself to the point of being publicly humiliated and executed, suffering the wrath of God for sins he never committed.

Thank God that Jesus showed such humility! In doing so, he not only provides us with an example, he saves us from our sinful lack of humility.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, I struggle with humility. I long for the praise of others. I would rather have others serve me than give my life in service to others. Forgive me. Thank you for your love and humility. Thank you for your willingness to place the needs of others, my needs, above your own. Thank you for dying that I may live. 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 21, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 20, 2014

Mon, Oct 20, 2014

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.

Matthew 21:28-31a


Jesus’ question was not hard to answer. Could it have been any simpler? Although the first son answered his father harshly and rudely, in the end he did what was asked. Although the words of the second son sounded sweet and polite, in the end he only paid lip service to his father.

It was meant to be an easy question with an obvious answer. But then Jesus transitioned to his true intent. The deeper spiritual point was meant to be just as clear to his hearers. That audience was made up of upstanding people, including the religious leaders of the day: Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him” (Matthew 21:31b-32).

The first son represented the openly sinful. They had turned away from God and his will. They had lived a life that was obviously contrary to the commands of God. But then John the Baptist came. He called out to sinners to turn from their sinful ways. He urged them to place their trust for forgiveness in a coming Savior. Many heard the message, believed it and lived!

The second son represented the outwardly righteous. They boasted about their relationship with God. They believed they had earned that relationship by who they were and the good they had done. But then John came. When he pointed out that they too were sinners who needed a Savior, they rejected his message and the Messiah (Jesus) who followed.

God the Father comes with this message today: “Go and work in the vineyard.” Jesus himself tells us that “the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29). Jesus was sent into this world as Savior of all. He lived, suffered, died and rose again to redeem you and me and everyone else from the punishment of God that our sins had earned. Now, he calls on us to place our trust in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Have you lived an openly sinful life? Turn to Jesus and his promised forgiveness…and live! Do you place your confidence of a good relationship with God on the goodness that others can see in you? Listen to Jesus’ call today, and turn from that misguided idea. Place your trust in the righteousness Jesus alone can give…and live!

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus Christ, help me always to see my need for your grace and forgiveness. Help me always to turn to you in humble faith for the forgiveness of sins, righteousness and life that you alone can give. 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 20, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 17, 2014

Fri, Oct 17, 2014

Hymn of the Week

What God does in his law demand And none to him can render,
Brings wrath and woe on ev’ry hand For man, the vile offender.
Our flesh has not those pure desires The spirit of the law requires,
And lost is our condition.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 390, verses 2, 4, 6)

Salvation unto Us Has Come

Paul Speratus was a Roman Catholic priest serving in the Bavarian town of Dinkelsbühl in 1518. A devout man, Speratus lived in relentless uncertainty with the understanding that the righteousness of God was God’s active standard by which he judged unrighteous sinners. Since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), Speratus reasoned that the sinner could only hope to appease God with good works.

It was at this time that he began to read some of the writings of an audacious monk named Martin Luther. Luther was brazenly questioning the practices and doctrines of the church, proclaiming that the righteousness of God has been fulfilled by Christ and is gifted to the sinner through faith, by grace.

Yet as the law must be fulfilled Or we must die despairing,
Christ came and has God’s anger stilled, Our human nature sharing.
He has for us the law obeyed And thus the Father’s vengeance stayed
Which over us impended.

Emboldened by Luther, Speratus began to proclaim the message of the gospel unfettered by the shackles of work-righteousness. But his evangelical preaching caused his removal from several churches, and ultimately he was branded a heretic.

Fleeing for his life, he arrived in Iglau, Moravia, where he found sympathetic ears and hearts eager for reform. Yet here again Speratus was targeted, this time imprisoned and sentenced to burn at the stake. It was only through the influence of the King of Prussia and Queen of Hungary that he was later released and ordered to never return to Bohemia or Moravia.

He joined Luther in Wittenberg in 1523 and later helped to assemble the first “Lutheran” hymnal, contributing this hymn and two others. He was later influential on liturgical worship in Prussia and rose to become the Lutheran Bishop of Pomerania, where he died in August of 1551.

But it was his imprisonment and death sentence that had the greatest influence on his ministry, steeling his resolve and sharpening his spiritual sight. It was at this time that he wrote Salvation unto Us Has Come. His self-titled “Hymn of Law and Faith” bears witness and praise to “The God who saved us by his grace.”

Prayer: 

All blessing, honor, thanks, and praise To Father, Son, and Spirit,
The God who saved us by his grace—All glory to his merit!
O Triune God in heav’n above, You have revealed your saving love;
Your blessed name be hallowed!

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 17, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 16, 2014

Thu, Oct 16, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Salvation unto us has come By God’s free grace and favor.
Good works cannot avert our doom; They help and save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone, Who did for all the world atone;
He is the one Redeemer.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 390, verses 1, 3, 5)

Salvation unto Us Has Come

In the middle of terrible storm, a local pastor saw an opportunity and leaped at the chance to help people with a desperate need. Quickly he made a sign that read: “Beware! The End is near!” He chose his location carefully, standing at a bend in the road alongside the highway. As the first car approached he frantically waved his sign, praying that the driver would see the sign through the driving wind and pelting rain. A passenger in the car noticed him and his sign. Sadly, instead of heeding the warning, the passenger yelled out the window, “Go do something useful, you religious freak!” Moments later there was the screeching of tires and then a tremendous crash. The pastor looked down at his sign and thought to himself, “Maybe I should change the sign to ‘Beware! Bridge Out!’”

Though intended to be humorous, that story illustrates the intentional self-delusion with which many people go through life. Warning signs abound naturally, scripturally, and personally. And yet the warnings are ignored by those who think that they know better: “I’m a good person; I’ll be fine.” “I’m going to try harder next time.” “At least I’m better than that guy!”

The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25).

It is a false, misleading dream That God his law has given
That sinners can themselves redeem And by their works gain heaven.
The law is but a mirror bright To bring the inbred sin to light
That lurks within our nature.

Even we who have received the true message of salvation, who by grace have heeded the warning sign, sometimes hit the gas towards doom and death when we congratulate ourselves on having been better this week than last week. Dear Christian, we must recognize that anything short of perfection cannot avert the eternal disaster that awaits us. We have sinned…

…but Jesus is perfect. And now he “…speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2). Because of Jesus, there is no doom, no death around the bend for us who trust in him. Because of Jesus there is a bridge from depravity to eternity; we are at one with our heavenly Father.

Prayer: 

Since Christ has full atonement made And brought to us salvation,
Each Christian therefore may be glad And build on this foundation.
Your grace alone, dear Lord, I plead; Your death is now my life indeed,
For you have paid my ransom.

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 16, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 15, 2014

Wed, Oct 15, 2014

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Philippians 1:27

Remembering What We Have

There’s a story of a child who seemed apathetic about everything. He was reckless. He was careless. He didn’t work hard. His life seemed to have no purpose or direction. That all changed when a group of people decided to sit down with him and have a talk. This group of people revealed to him something he had not previously understood. They revealed that, one day, by succession, he would become the leader of their country. From that moment on, that young man’s life changed. He had focus, direction and drive. Knowing that he was the one who would inherit the highest position of leadership—knowing that made all the difference in how he conducted his life.

Which brings us to the portion of God’s Word we have before us. Here’s the setting. The Christians living in the town of Philippi were facing people who were openly hostile towards them and what they believed. The apostle Paul knew that this was no time for Christians to appear apathetic or careless. Rather, this was a time for focus, direction and seriousness of purpose. In light of this, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to say this to the Philippian Christians, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul wanted them to remember what they possessed in Jesus. He wanted them to understand that the message of the gospel is the most profound truth that the world will ever know. For this reason he called on them to proclaim with their lives how priceless and supreme the gospel really is.

In our sinful weakness, you and I often forget this. In a world filled with active opposition to Christianity, you and I often lapse into carelessness. There are times when you and I can appear indifferent or apathetic. There are times we don’t even show up. In doing so we fail our Lord and we fail to live his gospel and proclaim it.

But Paul wants us to remember. He wants us to remember how God became one of us to live and die as our Substitute. He wants us to remember the full forgiveness we have through faith in what Christ has done. He wants us to remember that Jesus lives to embrace us with his promises. He wants us to remember the crown of life that Jesus purchased for us at Calvary’s cross.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” Paul says. Empowered by that gospel, you and I can begin to do just that.

Prayer: 

Son of God, in love you became a human being. You became my Substitute. You died for my every sin and rose from death. Move me to proclaim your gospel with my 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 - October 15, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 14, 2014

Tue, Oct 14, 2014

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

Isaiah 55:6


Does something strike you as amazing in that verse?

What jumps out at me is the idea that the LORD is near to us, that he allows himself to be found by us!

After all, why should he? Why should he be near to us? Why should he allow himself to be found by us? Just LOOK at us! We're angry, bitter, selfish. We're lustful, greedy, rebellious. We fail to love God; we fail to love each other. Instead of loathing sin as we should, we find ourselves listening to the devil's temptations, perhaps even desiring to give in to those temptations. We fail to see the value and importance of eternal matters, and get way-too-focused on temporal matters. Shouldn't God turn his back on us? Shouldn't God banish us from his presence forever? Yes, he should!

Instead, he stays near! In amazing grace, he even allows us to "find him" in his Word and in the Sacraments. And when we find him, what do we discover? We discover that he loves us dearly, that he treats us with amazing compassion and boundless love.

And so call on him! Seek him! Rejoice in the fact that your God is near, near to you!

Prayer: 

O Savior, continue to draw near to me, and no matter how I might struggle, continue to draw me near to 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 - October 14, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 13, 2014

Mon, Oct 13, 2014

“But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'"

Matthew 20:13-15

More than Fair

Some people might argue that God isn't fair. He doesn't punish quickly enough. He doesn't punish severely enough. He even allows bad things to happen to good people. God's fairness is also questioned when it comes to people entering heaven. It doesn't seem fair that some people are excluded.

While I might be tempted to think God is unfair, I need to remember the truth which Jesus teaches. God is more than fair.

Jesus' parable of the workers in the field (Matthew 20:1-16) reveals God's goodness and his mercy. The landowner, who is the Lord, graciously calls many to come into his field. Some are there for a long time. Others are there only for a short time. At the final accounting, the Lord gives everyone what he promised. Unfortunately, the fairness and the generosity of the Lord is called into question.

The landowner's response is critical: "Are you envious because I am generous?" The parable addressed the jealousy of the descendants of Abraham who assumed they deserved more from the Lord. The Lord's answer gave them a completely different perspective, and it becomes a valuable lesson for me when I harbor doubts about the Lord's fairness.

While I may be tempted to think I deserve more from the Lord, I need to start with what I actually deserve. I should be punished, rejected and separated from God forever. My sin is the reason why God should have turned away from me. God's love, however, brought about a different response. Through the sacrificial work of Jesus, as well as through the substitution of his righteousness for my lack thereof, I am saved. If God were fair, none of this would have happened. Instead, God would judge me and sentence me to eternal punishment.

Through his wonderful love the Lord leads me to rejoice in my rescue and the promise of heaven. It also leads me to rejoice that God offers the same rescue and promise of heaven to all people. He wants all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. This is more than fair. It is grace.

Prayer: 

O gracious Lord, you have poured out your grace into my life. Bless me through the work of the Holy Spirit so that I acknowledge your love, rejoice in your love, and daily grow through your love. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - October 13, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 10, 2014

Fri, Oct 10, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Only Jesus can impart
COMFORT to a wounded heart:
PEACE that flows from sin forgiv’n,
JOY that lifts the soul to heav’n,
FAITH and HOPE to walk with God
In the way that Enoch trod.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 385, verse 3)

Only Jesus can impart these gifts!

Your friend shows you his new leather jacket, his new gold watch, and new car. Before he even has a chance to explain, you wonder, “Was he a winning contestant on a game show? Where did he get all these awesome gifts?”  Most of us won’t be a game show winner, but the gifts that you and I already have are far more valuable than a new car.

This hymn stanza clearly points out the practical and priceless benefits of being a believer in Jesus. Comfort, peace, joy, faith and hope only come from Jesus. Though people may try to find these gifts from worldly treasures, they’ll always fall short. That new car is going to get old; grocery store shopping carts will strike; hot coffee will spill and stain; it will be outdone in a few months by the newer model. The reason this is so is because a car, or whatever other earthly thing we may look to for comfort and hope, will always fail.

Only Jesus can impart good gifts because only Jesus is the true Son of God who died for the sins of all. Only Jesus has the power to impart gifts that will endure our whole life and into eternity. Only Jesus can grant us faith to walk in the way of one of God’s very special people, Enoch. 

It’s recorded in the book of Genesis:  “After he [Enoch] became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:22-24)

Enoch lived at a time of horrible wickedness and rebellion against God. Enoch’s great-grandson was Noah, who built the ark that saved his family from the universal flood. Enoch trusted in God to be the giver of all good gifts and he taught his children this as well. May we follow his example and put our faith in God who takes complete care of us!

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, grant us such a faith as Enoch so that we walk according to your Word every day. Help us put aside the false gods of materialism and look to you for all we need. 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 10, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 9, 2014

Thu, Oct 09, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Chief of sinners though I be, Jesus shed his blood for me.
Died that I might live on high, Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine, I am his and he is mine!

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 385 – verse 1)

Opposites–attracted by God’s Grace

It is said that opposites attract. With the words of this hymn we see that this is true, but only by God’s grace.

The content of this hymn reflects what the apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to Timothy: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). Paul had a track record as a persecutor of Christians before God converted him. He knew he was a sinner from birth as well. Because of his sins, he knew that God would want nothing to do with him. Sin cannot exist in the presence of the Holy God. So now what?

God’s GRACE happened. Moved purely by love for lost sinners, God sent his only Son who was perfect and holy. Jesus took on human flesh to suffer and die at the hands of sinful men on a cursed cross. He died for the sins of the world so that whoever believes in him might live on high–in heaven!

What wonderful, powerful words these are! As we sing these words we confess our sinfulness. It doesn’t matter if we commit “big” sins or “little” sins. A sin is a sin, and the wages of sin rightly brings death. Yet as we sing these words, we also confess our faith in Jesus: “He died for me! He has forgiven me. Now through faith in him, I will live forever!” Quite the striking opposites, opposites that attract only because of God’s grace!

These promises are ours through faith in Jesus. With a simple illustration from nature, we get the point. By grace, we are branches who have been connected to Christ. Because of him, we are alive, growing and bearing fruits of faith. Through faith we have this intimate and personal relationship with Jesus who is not ashamed to call us his own. Likewise we are not bashful to call him our Lord and Savior.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, thank you for taking away all my sins and connecting me to Christ Jesus. 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 9, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 8, 2014

Wed, Oct 08, 2014

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

Genesis 50:15-21


“I will never forgive him!”

“What do you think, am I just going to forgive you?”

If anyone had reason not to forgive, it was Joseph. Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery and years of difficulty and personal pain followed. (Read: Genesis chapters 37-50).

However, by the time he is reunited with his brothers, he has become the “Prime Minister” of Egypt. He is in charge of the great warehouses of grain which he saved in advance of a terrible drought and famine.  He has the motive, the means and the opportunity to let his brothers have it.

It is stunning to see what happens next. There is no grudge and no payback. Instead, there is gracious welcome and generous hospitality. How can this be? Joseph tells us: “Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…”

The desire for revenge and failure to forgive are common human responses to sin, but they are not responses according to God’s love and in keeping with God’s will. God is a God of forgiveness. Through the death of Christ, he sends our sins away never to be found on our record again. He holds no grudges; he seeks to save and not to harm.

Filled with great appreciation for the forgiveness that God has freely given to me through Jesus, I am moved to forgive others.  The forgiveness that I give to others frees me from anger and pain, and frees those I forgive from guilt and shame. God intends forgiveness for good, and the ultimate good is heaven.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your forgiveness of my sins. Lead me daily to forgive others even as I have been forgiven. 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 8, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 7, 2014

Tue, Oct 07, 2014

None of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:7-8

The Opposite of Loneliness

A couple of years ago, CNN did a piece about the impact of loneliness on a person’s life. Loneliness, it said, “can undermine well-being, IQ test performance and self-control.” In other words, loneliness can eventually help tear you down to the point where you feel defeated, helpless and dull.

CNN then quoted a young woman by the name of Marina Keegan. Marina seemed to have everything she needed in life. She was a 2012 graduate from Yale. She was a gifted writer and playwright. She had energy and drive. She had already secured for herself a position at the prestigious magazine, The New Yorker. But in an essay to her fellow Yale graduates, Marina candidly acknowledged a profound need. She said, “We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.” She went on to admit that, as she now began life in the real world, she was afraid. She was afraid of the loneliness that might be waiting for her.

You and I have much in common with Marina Keegan. In a society where sin often succeeds in isolating us from each other, loneliness is epidemic. A recent study cited in The Wall Street Journal says that loneliness among us has doubled in the last 30 years.

“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness,” Marina Keegan wrote. But that’s not true. The word for the opposite of loneliness is Jesus.

Consider what the Son of God did for you and me. He entered our world, a world that had ruined itself by its self-imposed exile from him. He became our Brother. He became one of us. Then, on our behalf, he suffered and died to remove the wall of sin that had isolated us from God.

And now he lives. He lives to create and refresh our trust in him through his Word. He lives to assure us that he has washed our sins away. And he lives to tell us that we now belong to him. That reality-that we now belong to him-that reality changes everything. In Jesus you will never again be isolated. In Jesus you will never again be alone. In Jesus your living, loving Brother sits next to you. He walks by your side. He keeps watch while you sleep.

The opposite of loneliness has arrived. You have it in Jesus Christ.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, in those moments when my feelings of loneliness arise, remind me that I possess the opposite of loneliness in you. Chase away my lonely moments. Replace them with yourself. 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 7, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 6, 2014

Mon, Oct 06, 2014

Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

Matthew 18:21-22

Lord, Make me Forgiving

Peter didn't understand forgiveness. He thought he should follow the prescribed tradition and forgive someone only seven times. Jesus corrected him by explaining forgiveness had to be more than that.

Forgiveness is not something which is counted or numbered. Neither do conditions apply which must be met before it can be offered. Nor should someone have to manifest a sufficient degree of sorrow before they can be forgiven. Forgiveness can only be understood by looking at the way Jesus has forgiven me.

Every time I come to Jesus' cross it is with a heavy heart and the burden of guilt weighing me down. I know I have sinned and I know the sentence with which God punishes the sinner. My only hope is to plead for mercy. In an amazing display of love Jesus never turns me away. Nor does he ever tell me I have exceeded my limit of forgiveness. Neither does he demand to see some positive improvements before he can assure me my sins are removed. I come with filthy hands, a blackened heart and a desperate plea for mercy, and Jesus purifies me from all my sins. It sets my heart soaring to know I can stand before him deserving only judgment, but receiving only mercy.

It is the way Jesus deals with me which motivates me to deal with others in the same way. Certainly my sin-weakened flesh will make me reluctant to forgive someone. The world will try to convince me I need proof of genuine sincerity. Even the devil will prompt me to withhold forgiveness unless the person is completely humiliated. But this is not how Jesus dealt with me.

His undeserved love, his never-failing compassion, his dearest desire for my rescue invites me to come just as I am. It is this grace, secured by his precious work, which assures me I am forgiven. What a blessing this is for me, and what a comfort for those around me. I can respond with the same compassion, mercy, and love toward others with which Jesus dealt with me. This is why I need to pray daily and sincerely, "Lord make me forgiving as you have forgiven me.”

Prayer: 

O precious Savior, not only do I need your forgiveness to comfort my aching heart, I need your forgiveness to forgive those who sin against me. Fill me with your love. Strengthen me through your death and resurrection. Make me forgiving, just as I have been forgiven. 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 6, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 3, 2014

Fri, Oct 03, 2014

Hymn of the Week

I, a sinner, come to you
With a penitent confession.
Savior, show me mercy, too;
Grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve—
Jesus sinners does receive.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 304, verse 5)

Mark Twain, in his novel, Huckleberry Finn, writes: “A man’s conscience takes up more room than all the rest of a person’s insides.” Anyone who has ever wrestled with a guilty conscience knows what Mark Twain is talking about. The big argument you had in the afternoon doesn’t go away when you go to bed. You lie in the dark, all awake, going over the angry words you spoke, again and again, all the while wishing you could take them back. Your conscience torments you.

We’re all bothered by our consciences from time to time. In reality, though, we probably aren’t bothered as much as we should be. Imagine if every time we disobeyed God, our consciences would cause us to lose sleep. All of us would soon be zombies. Perhaps that is a wake-up call for us to think a little bit more seriously about what God says concerning right and wrong.

Where is there relief from a guilty conscience? How can we sleep soundly at night, unbothered by the little voice that cries out about all the ways we’ve offended God?

Maybe you think that unburdening your conscience would be as easy as ignoring that little voice, but an offended conscience is not easily silenced. You can try exercises in self-forgiveness, but in the end they offer no real relief. You can make your life so busy that you don’t have time to think about what you did, but in the smallest quiet moment your conscience will be right there to reawaken your anxiety once more. Is it even possible to sleep soundly at night?

The words, “Jesus sinners does receive” show us God’s way of unburdening our consciences. God invites us to confess all of our sins, all of the times we’ve messed up, all of the things we regret and wish we could undo. He does so, so that he might give us relief.

When your conscience torments you, take whatever is bothering you to Jesus. Remember, he receives sinners! He receives people whose consciences are weighed down. He delights in those who come to him with nothing but the admission that they’ve done wrong. As the hymn, “Jesus Sinners Does Receive,” says:

I, a sinner, come to you
With a penitent confession.
Savior, show me mercy, too;
Grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve—
Jesus sinners does receive.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, you joyfully receive sinners. Let your forgiveness be the relief for our consciences that our souls may rest 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 - October 3, 2014 --Daily Devotion