WELS Daily Devotions

It’s All About Love – September 26, 2017

15 hours 31 mi

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:8-10

It’s All About Love
Daily Devotion – September 26, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 13:8-10
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170926dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

There would be no crime. No war. No hatred. No ethnic cleansing. No family squabbles or feuds. No identity theft. No gossip. No pornography. No anger. No jealousy. If only everyone followed one simple rule: love your neighbor as yourself.

But we don’t live in a world like that. We don’t live in homes like that. We don’t follow that one simple rule: love your neighbor as yourself. How can we? To love others perfectly in thought, word, and deed, and do them no harm, but protect, defend, and help them, we would first have to love God. Love God, the loving Father who made us and provides for us. If we fail at loving our neighbor, we fail even more at loving God.

That is one way to define sin: the failure to love God and to love our neighbor. And sin carries a penalty—an eternal penalty.

God alone shows perfect love. His love for us is full and complete and flawless. His love for us does not show favoritism. His love for us does not come and go, wax and wane, go hot and cold. His love for us does not depend on how much we love him—God simply loves us unconditionally.

In love, God sent his Son to heal the sin-torn relationship between us and him. In love, Jesus came to this world and lived the life of perfect love we couldn’t. In love, Jesus credits his perfect love for God and for neighbor to our eternal account. In love, Jesus offered himself for his fellowman—every single one of us in the entire world—on the cross. In love, God declares us forgiven of sin and free from penalty.

God’s perfect, saving love in Christ is free. But we can treat it like a debt in a sense: we can spend the rest of our lives trying to repay the debt of love to Christ by showing love to one another. Christ’s love alone saves us. Our love is our lifelong thank-you.

Prayer:
Dear Savior, I struggle to love like you do. Forgive me by your death on the cross. Work in me by your Spirit to love you and love others, treasuring the love you show 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 Friendly

Looking for A Win – September 25, 2017

Mon, Sep 25, 2017

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”
Matthew 18:15

Looking for A Win
Daily Devotion – September 25, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 18:15
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170925dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

We live in a culture that is accustomed to outrage. This culture of outrage affects us all. Do you see it in your life? Do you find yourself fuming over the injustices you experience? Do you silently seethe when someone insults you? Do you rant and rave when your offender is out of earshot?

Jesus tells Christians how he wants them to act when someone wrongs them. They should not respond to injustice by publicly blasting someone’s character. Jesus wants his followers to take the first step towards reconciliation with the wrongdoer, privately. He says, “Go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.”

How many relationships would still be intact if we had not resorted to gossip and passive-aggressive behavior? How many marriages would still be flourishing if we were honest and direct when our spouse did something wrong? Our connections with people would be better if we followed Jesus’ teaching.

This is not just one way to resolve conflicts. It’s the way God responds to us and our sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they hid, and God sought them out (Genesis 3). When Cain killed his brother, Abel, God tracked him down (Genesis 4). When Elijah was angry and despondent, God came to him in a gentle whisper and asked him pointedly: “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:13). The Lord does not shy away from sin, but always tackles it head-on. God has been standing up to sin from the very beginning. God’s love could never ignore sin.

In fact, dealing with sin is why Jesus came to earth. When we sinned against God, God came to earth and became a man. Jesus faced our temptations head-on. He confronted sin in the lives of his friends and his enemies. The Son of Man came to seek and to save lost sinners (Luke 19:10). Ultimately, Jesus stood in our place–he suffered and died. Jesus experienced what we deserved for our sins. With his precious lifeblood, he cleansed us from all sins.

That kind of grace and mercy changes us and changes how we treat one another. Now when someone sins against us, instead of being shocked or outraged, we humbly—yet confidently—confront sin. When we confront sin with God’s Word, we are doing God’s will. One-on-one, we’re looking for a win. Not to win an argument, or to defeat an opponent, but to win our brother or sister over to repentance. What a blessing when we get to see—up, close, and personal—the power of God’s Word to convict and comfort! There is no greater joy than reconciliation! This is a moment that causes angels in heaven to rejoice (Luke 15:10). That’s a win-win.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, purge my heart of all arrogance and sweep out all the sinful pride from my mind. When I am sinned against, fill my heart with mercy for sinners. Remind me of Christ’s mercy and move me to sincerely seek reconciliation. 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 Friendly

A Clean Break – September 24, 2017

Sun, Sep 24, 2017

Large crowds were traveling along with Jesus, and turning to them he said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:25-26

A Clean Break
Daily Devotion – September 24, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 14:25-26
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170924dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

There are times when a lesson Jesus teaches is hard to understand. While his words are simple and clear, they often cause some apprehension. Hate is a strong word, and when it is directed to those who are to be loved, the question naturally follows, “Is this what Jesus meant?”

There are many who simply conclude hate doesn’t mean hate. How could Jesus be a God of love and tell people to hate those nearest and dearest to them? The meaning of the word is clear and cannot be debated, neither can its intent. Jesus made a specific point to tell the crowds they needed to make a clean break with everything and everyone if they were going to follow him.

It is a lesson I need to consider carefully. Family and lifestyle can become two of the hardest hurdles to overcome in order to follow Jesus. Families in particular can create extreme pressure by making harsh demands and accusations. The loss of a comfortable lifestyle can also lead to regret and remorse. As I consider a life of love and service as Jesus’ disciple, I need to understand what it means. It’s not a part time job. It is not something I can pick up and put down whenever I choose. Neither is it something I can compromise if it results in loss or problems. I need to be able to make a clean break with everything and everyone. In other words, I am to love him with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength. Nothing should ever equal the love I have for my Lord and my Savior.

This is what Jesus deserves. Certainly I am to love my neighbor. I also need to love and honor those God put around me as a source of blessing. Still, that love can never equal the love I reserve for my Savior. If I ever become confused or have regrets regarding my love for him, I need to remember the love he first showed to me. His love brought him to the cross. His love made him give up his life to rescue me from the punishment of death. His love assures me I am his now and always. It is this undeserved love which leads me to make a clean break with everything in this world, and love him first, best, and without rival.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, I thank you for the gift of your love. Not only has it secured my release from sin and its punishment, it has also given me the desire to love you and follow you alone. Amen.

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

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The Question – September 23, 2017

Sat, Sep 23, 2017

Formerly he was useless…, but now he has become useful.
Philemon 1:11

The Question
Daily Devotion – September 23, 2017

Devotion based on Philemon 1:11
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170923dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Author John Gardner tells of a pleasant, elderly man he used to know. As pleasant as this elderly man was, however, he loved to ask a particular question that many people found unsettling. The question was this: “What have you done that you passionately believe in?”

Many found this question unsettling because it forced them to rethink their lives on the spot. For years they had been comfortable making conversation about what they did for a living, how busy they were, the trips they had taken, the restaurants and movies they enjoyed. But suddenly here was this gentle, gracious old man who asked them something for which they did not have an immediate answer.

How about you? What is your answer? What have you done that you passionately believe in?

One could answer that question in all kinds of ways, of course—from making a difference at your place of work to teaching the lonely child next door how to make cookies. If you see your life through the lens of Christianity, however, sooner or later you’re going to conclude that the most satisfying actions in your life are the ones connected to Jesus Christ.

Apart from Jesus Christ, every ability I use and every deed I do has no permanent value. Even if I manage to make a noticeable impact on this world, it’s on a world that’s cracked, broken and fading away.

But in Jesus, everything is different. His work as my Substitute has washed me clean of my sinful self-absorption. His Holy Spirit has also bonded me to things that are lasting and real. This means that everything I do, no matter how involved, no matter how simple—everything I do to the glory of my Savior is a priceless fruit of faith that has positive, eternal consequences in the hands of my Heavenly Father, who is the everlasting God of all.

And so go ahead and answer the question. Our answers will vary in specifics, of course. What matters is the connection they have to our Savior from sin.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, by your Holy Spirit fill me with the joy of knowing that even the simplest things I do to your glory are vital and profound in your sight. Amen.

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

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Out of Our Mouths – September 22, 2017

Fri, Sep 22, 2017

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29

Out of Our Mouths
Daily Devotion – September 22, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:29
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170922dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The trip to get my son to and from events at his high school is 30-plus miles of winding through county highways. Often, as we are in the car traveling in one direction or the other, we see all kinds of roadkill. We have seen everything from chipmunks to deer, but mostly raccoons. Because the roads are a bit out of the way and less traveled, the dead animals often spend a few days on the hot pavement. You can probably imagine the impact of all that sun and heat. The animals we drive past are often in various states of decay. Can you imagine putting something like that into your mouth? The very thought of such a thing makes us cringe and revolt in disgust. You are probably wondering why I would even ask such a question.

As much as we can’t imagine taking a bite of decaying roadkill into our mouths, the Lord doesn’t want that kind of filth coming out of our mouths. The Greek word we see translated as unwholesome gives the picture of that which is rotten or putrid or in the process of decay. It’s a gross picture. Think of the words you have been using lately. Does unwholesome describe the way you have talked to others? Does it describe the jokes you have made at work or in the locker room? Does it describe the language you listen to regularly on some TV programs and movies? Filthy words have no place in our lives. We deserve God’s punishment for even one filthy word that we may have uttered.

Thankfully, our Savior never spoke that way. His words were perfectly loving and pure and noble. Even from the cross as he was dying for you and me, he spoke words of love and forgiveness when he said: “Father forgive them,” and “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” He still speaks that way to us today! Throughout God’s Word, Jesus speaks words of love to you and me. He says that we are his children through faith. He says that heaven is our home. He says he will never leave us or forsake us and he says that we are the very apple of his eye.

With this love of Jesus in our hearts and minds, let’s resolve to let his love flow out of our mouths in all that we say.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, forgive me for the filthy words I have spoken. Fill me and encourage me with your love and forgiveness and help me to speak in ways that will benefit others. 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 Friendly

Slam the Door on Satan – September 21, 2017

Thu, Sep 21, 2017

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Ephesians 4:26-27

Slam the Door on Satan
Daily Devotion – September 21, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:26-27
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170921dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When it is said that someone has a “foot in the door,” it’s normally a positive thing. You often hear that phrase when young people receive an internship at a company they hope to work for someday. Getting their “foot in the door” means they have an opportunity; it means that their small role might one day turn into something big. That’s a good thing when it comes to employment.

It’s destructive, however, when the foot in the door belongs to Satan. As Satan looks to destroy a person’s life and relationships, he doesn’t normally burst onto the scene with a lot of fanfare and fireworks. He gradually works his way in. At first, he only wants access. He wants a foot in the door of our hearts.

And that’s exactly what we give him whenever we hold on to any sin, no matter how small or insignificant that sin seems at the moment. In today’s Bible verse, the apostle Paul uses the example of anger, urging us to not lie down to sleep until we’ve resolved whatever tension is taking place between us and another person. Why? For the same reason, Adam and Eve should have walked away from the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. For the same reason, King David should have turned away when he saw Bathsheba bathing. Because, as God’s word says, “After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:15). Death of relationships. Death of peace. Death of love. Death for eternity.

But death that does not need to happen.

After Adam and Eve gave Satan a foot in the door of their hearts in the Garden of Eden, God responded to their destructive sin by promising a Savior who would one day crush the head of Satan. And that’s what Jesus did, as he hung on the cross and was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities, so that we, who have opened the door for Satan far too often, might have hearts completely filled with the peace of being entirely forgiven.

And if our hearts are filled with that peace, then that leaves no room for Satan. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” God tells us. (James 4:7). Satan must flee. He knows that he has been defeated by our Savior. And we show that we know it too when we see our sin, find refuge at the cross of Jesus, and slam the door on Satan.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for your victory over Satan. Protect our lives and relationships by helping us remember that victory as we are assaulted by his many temptations. 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 Friendly

Words for a Struggling Servant – September 20, 2017

Wed, Sep 20, 2017

15You understand, O LORD; remember me and care for me. Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long-suffering—do not take me away; think of how I suffer reproach for your sake. 16When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. 17I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation. 18Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? Will you be to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails? 19Therefore this is what the LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. 20I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the LORD. 21“I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel.”
Jeremiah 15:15-21

Words for a Struggling Servant
Daily Devotion – September 20, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 15:15-21
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170920dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

If you never grow weary of opposition you face because you are a Christian, if you never struggle to patiently bear the ridicule you suffer because you are a child of God, if you never feel that you have given up a lot (too much!) in order to remain faithful to God’s Word, if you never feel like you are enduring pain instead of the ungodly (who should be!), if you never feel that God is slow or negligent in keeping his promises, if you never feel sorry for yourself—then this message is not for you.

If, however, you know the Lord cares for you, yet you sometimes grow weary of the opposition you face because you are a Christian; if you know God is patient with you, yet you sometimes struggle to patiently bear the ridicule you suffer because you are a child of God; if God’s Word brings you great joy, yet you sometimes feel that you have given up a lot (too much!) in order to remain faithful to that Word; if you know that many in the world are ungodly, yet feel like you are the one enduring all the pain; if you sometimes feel that God isn’t keeping his promises, or at least isn’t keeping them very promptly or very well; if you sometimes feel sorry for yourself—then this message is for you.

Jeremiah’s ministry wasn’t easy. For the most part he was called to proclaim judgment against a wicked and rebellious people. And the people didn’t like that. Therefore, they didn’t like Jeremiah. They persecuted him. They ridiculed him. Jeremiah was often alone. And sometimes that got to him.

Have you ever felt like Jeremiah? Read again Jeremiah’s complaint (verses 16-18). Have you ever questioned God’s ways? Read again the Lord’s response (verses 19-21). Then look again at Jeremiah’s beautiful confession and expression of faith, a confession of faith based on God’s trustworthy words and promises. In the midst of it all, Jeremiah could say, “Lord, you understand; remember me and care for me.”

Dear friend, God who remained faithful to his servant Jeremiah will also, always, remain faithful to you! When you are struggling to understand the when and what and how, may you be blessed to confess: “Lord, you understand.” Then, may that confession give birth to this simple, humble, confident request: “Lord, remember me and care for me.”

Prayer:
Lord, you understand; remember me and care 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 Friendly

A Living Sacrifice – September 19, 2017

Tue, Sep 19, 2017

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:1-2

A Living Sacrifice
Daily Devotion – September 19, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 12:1-2
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170919dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

He used to be a Muslim. He had studied almost all of the world’s major religions. Now he was a Christian. Christianity struck him as unique. He said, “In my old religion, I was supposed to die for my god. In Christianity, I learn that my God died for me!”

God the Son, Jesus Christ, the eternally divine Savior, offered himself as a once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross. Through that one-time, all-atoning sacrifice, we are forgiven. We are at peace with God. We receive the mercy of God eternally.

As we think of God’s mercy and the sacrifice of his Son, we are moved. We are amazed. We are changed. We are transformed. We were brought from spiritual death to new spiritual life in Christ by our baptism. Now we have the blessed opportunity to give ourselves to the One who gave himself for us. Our sacrifice of ourselves is not a “have-to” but a “want-to.” And our sacrifice of ourselves does not mean we die for our God, but that we live for our God. We breathe, we pray, we serve, we love, we worship as a living sacrifice to God—in our jobs, in our homes, in our congregation, in our community, in our relationships.

Do you struggle in a difficult relationship with someone who’s hard to love? Lay yourself down in sacrifice to them out of love for Christ.

Do your callings seem to require more from you than you would have chosen? Lay yourself down in sacrifice out of love for Christ.

Do you see a choice before you? Should you take the path that worldly wisdom suggests and do fine, OR follow the pattern of life taught in the Bible and it might cost you? Lay yourself down in sacrifice out of love for Christ.

His sacrifice saves you eternally. Your sacrifice is a life-long thank-you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you gave yourself for me to save me. You gave me your promise of forgiveness through faith. I now give myself to you as a living sacrifice, that all I do, think, and say would thank you and serve others. 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 Friendly

The Value of Your Soul – September 18, 2017

Mon, Sep 18, 2017

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Matthew 16:26

The Value of Your Soul
Daily Devotion – September 18, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 16:26
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170918dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The status quo is unacceptable. This is the battle cry of our culture. We cannot stay where we are, or we will be left behind. If we keep on doing the same old things in the same old way, we will be overtaken by the competition.

This battle cry is why we work long hours. We struggle and strive to climb the success ladder. We pursue continuing education. We read books. We seek out advice from experts in our field. We want to keep up. Complacency kills, we’re told.

The status quo is unacceptable. This is why our culture fights so much and cries so frequently. We have pierced ourselves with many griefs—and for what? What do we hope to gain? A promotion? A degree? A “like” on social media? Is that it? Is that all there is?

The truth is we are more than our job titles, our academic achievements, and our social media pages. Our worth is not tied to our salary. Our significance is not established by the reputation of our alma mater. Our value cannot be captured in a flash—even in the most glamorous of pictures. None of these can make us acceptable, valuable, or worthy in God’s sight.

We are flesh and blood—but more than that. We have minds and hearts, hopes and dreams, ideas and emotions. We are spiritual beings. We have souls.

So often in our culture we are just a number—one among many others. We are only valuable if we set ourselves apart in some way. But that is not how our God sees us. That’s not how he treats us. Look to Christ and you will discover your value to God.

Jesus loved you enough to leave the comfort and glory of heaven and come down to earth. He took on flesh and blood, because the status quo was unacceptable to him. Sin kills, not complacency. So he lived the perfect life that you could not—no matter how hard you worked, no matter what you learned, not matter how well you presented yourself. He died the death your sins deserved, so that he could gain your soul.

We have been transformed. We are redeemed by the precious blood of the Son of God. We have been set apart by the Holy Spirit. We are more than a job title. We are children of God. We are more than what we know, because we are known by God. We are more than a pretty picture, because we have been washed clean in Baptism. Jesus has made us radiant—without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. We have a new battle cry.

In the Son of God, I am accepted.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, lift my eyes to the price your Son paid on the cross for all my sins. Renew my mind to see how much you love and value my soul. Refresh my heart that I may glorify and praise you in all I do. 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 Friendly

A Different Perspective – September 17, 2017

Sun, Sep 17, 2017

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 14:11

A Different Perspective
Daily Devotion – September 17, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 14:11
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170917dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Go on, you deserve the credit. Let people know what you did!” These were Diane’s words to her co-worker. Even though Bob just completed an important project ahead of schedule and under budget, he was reluctant to put himself in the spot light. He preferred to stand in the background because he found satisfaction in just doing his job well. Diane was the exact opposite. She loved the attention. This is why she told Bob to take credit for what he had done. Her plan was to ride his coat tails and receive some of the accolades. This is also why she became frustrated and replied, “Don’t you care if no one knows what you did!” Bob humbly mused, “I only did my job.”

Diane’s fascination with praise and frustration with the lack of it offers a valuable insight in my life. It is easy to want the commendation of others, and there is a certain satisfaction with the recognition of one’s peers. Unfortunately, this desire for praise can affect my spiritual life. There is a temptation to think God should be impressed by the things I have done.

The lesson Jesus taught about humility stands in stark contrast to the way many think. People like praise. People like recognition. People like to hear how good they are. I am no different.

While I may try to boast about what I have done, I need to remember it is the Lord who sets the standard. I may do many good things, yet none achieve perfection. So the lesson holds true: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled.” When I compare my deeds with the Lord’s desire for perfection, I can only hang my head in shame. It is impossible for me to attain his perfect standard. Jesus, however, offers a different perspective.

Jesus came to this earth; he took on my flesh and blood to accomplish what was impossible for me. With his death and resurrection, he also made God’s declaration of perfection a reality. Now, instead of looking to myself and promoting what I have done, I look to Jesus and rejoice in his completed work that exalts me.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 125):
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ, my God.
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

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

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The Savior Has Noticed You – September 16, 2017

Sat, Sep 16, 2017

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” then for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.
Proverbs 25:6-7

The Savior Has Noticed You
Daily Devotion – September 16, 2017

Devotion based on Proverbs 25:6-7
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170916dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When I was in grade school, my friend took me to a basketball game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Utah Jazz. I was so excited! I was going to get to see Karl “The Mailman” Malone play basketball. We went down early and my friend and I even stood in line to get Mr. Malone’s autograph. Pen and basketball card in hand, I stood in the crowd of children and jumped up and down trying to get The Mailman’s attention. I waved the card back and forth. I smiled. I shouted…did whatever I could to get noticed so that the All-Star forward would give me his autograph.

We all like to get noticed. Each of us has the inborn desire to exalt self. We lift ourselves up, often at the expense of others. Whether it is the coach, the teacher, the boss or the supervisor, we all try to impress someone. Maybe they’ll notice us. Maybe they’ll give us the promotion, or more playing time or just a pat on the back.

It doesn’t always work out, does it? Sometimes the one we want to notice us isn’t as impressed as we are with ourselves. We often end up feeling rejected. That hurts. Our sins of self and pride will always leave us hurting from lack of love and attention. Those sins not only leave us hurting, but they also are the exact opposite of the Christian humility that God looks for in his children.

There is one King who did notice us right away—before we even noticed him. In fact, before we even had anything to offer…Jesus noticed us. He noticed how lost and sinful we were. He noticed that if he didn’t do something, we would be condemned forever. And so, he willingly suffered on the cross to pay for all of our sins of pride. He took all of those sins off of us and paid for them with his innocent suffering and death. A short three days later he rose from the dead so that he could guarantee our own resurrection to eternal life. He ascended into heaven where right now he is preparing a place for us. And one day, perhaps one day soon, he will look down from his lofty place and say, “Come up here.”

It didn’t work out with Karl Malone. Try as I might, he did not notice me. To make matters worse, my basketball card got bent and wrinkled in the process. It would have been nice to be noticed that day, but it makes me appreciate all the more the fact that my Savior noticed me. He has noticed you too. We don’t have to try and impress him. Rather, we humbly serve and thank him and wait for the day when he says, “Come up here!”

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, forgive my sins of pride. Wash me clean by your blood and help me to humbly wait for the day when you will call me home. Amen.

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

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A Humble Reminder – September 15, 2017

Fri, Sep 15, 2017

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

A Humble Reminder
Daily Devotion – September 15, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:2
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170915dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Professional football player Alfred Morris made headlines for the kind of car he drove. Many professional athletes have the financial means to purchase just about any kind of vehicle they want. So what kind of expensive and luxurious vehicle did Alfred Morris drive? He drove a 1991 Mazda that he bought back in college from his pastor for $2. His vehicle made headlines because it didn’t seem fitting for an athlete with a million-dollar paycheck.

The opening verse of Ephesians chapter 4 has us thinking about what is fitting for people who have something far more valuable than a million-dollar paycheck. The chapter begins, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (4:1). In case there is uncertainty about what this “calling” is, the previous chapters of the book of Ephesians share the amazing details of God’s gracious work to save and give a new life of faith. This new life of faith, full of hope and “the riches of [God’s] glorious inheritance” (1:18), is the calling we have received through Christ.

So how should God’s people live worthy lives of that calling? In his Word, God explains, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” One of the reasons Alfred Morris chooses to drive an old car is because he says it serves as a reminder to stay humble.

God gives us a reminder to stay humble too. But God gives us so much more than a reminder! He gave his Son Jesus who was completely humble, gentle, patient, and loving for us and with us. Our Savior Jesus shows us not only what a life worthy of our calling looks like, but he lived it for us and he empowers us to live it too!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for the humility, gentleness, patience, and love you have shown to me. Fill my heart with these same virtues that I might show and live in these ways toward others too. 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 Friendly

Saved by Grace – September 14, 2017

Thu, Sep 14, 2017

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Saved by Grace
Daily Devotion – September 14, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:8-9
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170914dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In some parts of the world arranged marriages are still quite common. Often the bride and groom will have briefly met only a short time before taking their vows. Sometimes the couple will see each other for the first time only on the day of their wedding! They promise to commit the rest of their lives to a person who is no more familiar to them than a random person they pass on the street.

That may be hard for us to comprehend, because we are accustomed to showing love only to those that have somehow earned our affection first. We love our friends because they have stuck with us in hard times. We love our parents because they have generously provided and cared for us. Love in marriage grows as we come to know each other better. We find it hard to consider promising to love someone who—for all we know—may be unlovable.

This is also why grace is such a difficult concept for us at times. God promised to love us before we were even born—and he knew very well that we would not be deserving of that love! His love for us did not spring from any admiration for anything we are or have done. Much the opposite! God had every reason to be disgusted by the way we live for ourselves, the way we shamefully treat others who are different from us, the way we are ruled by petty emotions like anger, lust, greed, jealousy, and more. Even though God knew that this would happen, he loved us anyway. Not because we would somehow make up for it with good deeds or a strong faith. But purely because he is a gracious God who loves the unlovable and saves those who have no hope.

God arranged a marriage between himself and his Church—all those everywhere whom he brings to faith in him. Before we had done anything to serve him, he promised to be faithful to us and sent his Son Jesus Christ to rescue us. Christ suffered the punishment we had deserved. And he rose to life again to assure us that our sins are forgiven in him. Our Christian faith and hope of heaven is based on this grace alone.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I am altogether unworthy of the love you have shown me. Let your grace fill my heart with thanksgiving and joy that I might show others the same love you have 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 Friendly

I Am the LORD – September 13, 2017

Wed, Sep 13, 2017

God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant. Therefore, say to the Israelites, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’”
Exodus 6:2-8

I Am the LORD
Daily Devotion – September 13, 2017

Devotion based on Exodus 6:2-8
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170913dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The nation of Israel was in trouble. They were living as slaves in the land of Egypt—mistreated, abused, overworked—and there seemed to be no end in sight. How could there be? They weren’t strong enough to free themselves from the Egyptians who oppressed them, and the Egyptians were not about to lose their labor force by voluntarily setting Israel free. The circumstances looked very bleak.

Many in Israel were probably thinking along those very same lines as they wasted away in their bondage. But do you see what they were missing? They had properly evaluated who they were—a nation not strong enough to force their way to freedom. They had also properly evaluated who the Egyptians were—a nation too oppressive to grant them their freedom. But what they had forgotten to properly evaluate was who their Lord was.

And so, the Lord reminded them.

In this section of Scripture, the Lord is speaking to Israel’s leader, Moses. The Lord’s words had nothing to do with who Israel was. Nor did it have anything to do with who Egypt was. Instead, the Lord’s speech centered around who he was: “I am the LORD.” In fact, barely a sentence goes by in the Lord’s words that doesn’t start with the pronoun “I.”

“I am the LORD…” “I will bring you out…” “I will free you…” “I will redeem you…” “I will take you as my own people…” “I will be your God…”. The list of “I’s goes on and on.

And, sure enough, a quick glance through Israel’s history shows us that the Lord did, indeed, keep all of those promises that he made to Israel. He brought Israel out of Egypt, even in spite of Israel’s weakness. He freed Israel from their slavery, even in spite of Egypt’s oppression. He did all of these things because he is the LORD! And when the Lord makes a promise, the Lord keeps it!

Friends, keep these words in mind as you evaluate the circumstances surrounding you in your own life. The Lord is always present. That means you need never worry or doubt or despair or fear, because the Lord has made you promises—promises to provide for you and protect you; promises to guard you and keep you; promises to be with you and bless you. And when the Lord makes a promise, the Lord keeps it!

Prayer:
Dear God, you have made yourself known to us as our Savior and our Lord. Remind us of who you are daily, that we may always find our comfort and our strength 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 Friendly

Unsearchable – September 12, 2017

Tue, Sep 12, 2017

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.
Romans 11:33

Unsearchable
Daily Devotion – September 12, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 11:33
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170912dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Consider this. A stack of one hundred 1 dollar bills is a little less than half an inch. One million 1 dollar bills is 358 feet. One billion 1 dollar bills is 68 miles. And a stack of one trillion—with a “t”—a stack of one trillion 1 dollar bills is 67,866 miles.

With that in mind, let’s go on to another number. In one human body alone there are over 37 trillion cells. Needless to say, one single human cell is beyond tiny.

For decades, scientists assumed that, while human cells made up a vast, complex organism—they assumed that the tiny, human cell itself was a relatively simple thing.

But then, something happened. Just as the Hubble space telescope opened our eyes to the staggering vastness and intricacies of the known universe, so also new developments in technology made it possible to peer into the human cell.

What scientists saw inside a single human cell shattered old assumptions. Some of the scientists have described the shift like this. Years ago, they thought that the human cell was like a basic mud hut. Now they know it’s more complex than a Saturn 5 rocket. Years ago, they thought a cell was more like jelly. Now they know it’s a sophisticated nano-factory. Years ago, they perhaps thought that a cell had as many working parts as an automobile. Now they know that the workings of a cell are more like a galaxy.

As one scientist has said, “[The inside of a single human cell is] one of the most dynamic physical systems in the universe.”

And so how about you stop for a moment and give that some thought. There are over 37 trillion cells in your body. And inside every cell there is a level of activity so complex and so sophisticated that it’s like a galaxy unto itself.

That’s the kind of Creator we have. That’s the kind of God we have. And yet all of that is child’s play in comparison to something else our Maker chose to do. To rescue us from our sin, he chose to become one of us in the Person of Jesus Christ. Through his life and death on our behalf, he redeemed every cell in our body along with our soul.

And he did it for love. That is what is truly unsearchable.

Prayer:
Lord, my very body is proof of your unsearchable greatness. Greater still is that you came to live and die and rise 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 Friendly

Good, Better, Best – September 11, 2017

Mon, Sep 11, 2017

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:13-16

Good, Better, Best
Daily Devotion – September 11, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 16:13-16
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170911dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus asked his disciples an important question. They responded with what could be considered a good answer—one of the prophets. It would have been an honor to be considered one of those powerful figures of the past. They also offered an even better answer when they said, John the Baptist or Elijah. If Jesus were one of them, he would either have come back from the dead, or returned to this life following his departure without seeing death.

Jesus then asked his disciples a second, more specific question, “Who do you say I am?” Without hesitation Peter declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This was the best answer, and it is the one I need to have.

To confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God is to believe what the Bible says is true. Along with the foundation this truth provides, there are the added blessings which flow from confessing Jesus is the Christ. There is the removal of guilt and sin. There is the victory over death and the devil. There is the unshakable confidence of heaven. These are mine through this clear confession. Still there is more. There is strength in times of temptation. There is peace in times of turmoil. There is help in every distress. All these I daily need, and all these Jesus provides as the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Sure, I could agree with some who believe Jesus is a wise and moral teacher. I could agree with still others who believe he is an important figure in history. While these answers may be good, and probably better than many, they are not the best. God has led me to know and confess Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He is my Savior.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you have revealed Jesus to be your Son. Give me the faith I need to put my confidence in him, and without hesitation confess he is my Savior and my God. 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 Friendly

Heaven’s Door is Open – September 10, 2017

Sun, Sep 10, 2017

And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations.
Isaiah 66:18-19

Heaven’s Door is Open
Daily Devotion – September 10, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 66:18-19
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170910dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Luke that the door to heaven is narrow (Luke 13:24). Only those who trust in him for forgiveness and life will enter. The people of Old Testament Israel found this out first hand. Though God had given them every opportunity to put their trust in him and in the coming Savior he had promised, so many rejected his promises and were lost for eternity because of it.

Yet there were some, as Isaiah says in the Scripture before us today, “who survived.” These were the Israelites in whom God preserved saving faith; those who believed God’s promises of the coming Christ and who would live with him forever in heaven. And, as Isaiah tells us, God preserved them for a purpose. Those believers would not only be his children forever, they would also be his instruments in bringing the saving message of Christ to all nations—to those who had “not heard of [his] fame or seen [his] glory.” Indeed, the door to heaven is narrow. But, through God’s grace, it is open to all.

As we hear God’s Word today, Isaiah’s words are being fulfilled. We, who are included in the nations that the Lord desires to save, have not been left without the hope of heaven. God has given us the opportunity to hear the saving message of Christ in his Word, and through it he creates and strengthens saving faith in our hearts. He promises to preserve us in that faith until that day when we will live with him forever in heaven.

And just as he did for those in Israel who believed, God preserves us for a purpose. God now uses us as his instruments to proclaim the message of Christ to all nations, including all those in our own lives who do not yet know him and the promises that he offers in Christ.

So who in your life needs to hear this message of Christ? What opportunities does God present you with each day to share Christ with them? Take advantage of those opportunities so that they, too, can share the certain hope of heaven that you already possess. The door to heaven is narrow, but it is open to all!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, through your work you have saved me from sin and opened wide the door to heaven. Lead me to cherish this truth every day, and give me the desire and the opportunity to share it with others. Amen.

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

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Celebrate Your Future – September 9, 2017

Sat, Sep 09, 2017

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:18-24

Celebrate Your Future
Daily Devotion – September 9, 2017

Devotion based on Hebrews 12:18-24
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170909dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Opposites abound in God’s Word. From day one there was evening and there was morning. Not long after the shocking difference between good and evil became apparent in Adam and Eve’s lives, and not in the good way in which they were hoping. And immediately following that was the difference between life and death as it was foretold that they would no longer live in the garden and eat of the tree of life. The difference of life with God and life without him would be their fate.

But in the process, another opposite shown forth. God treated them not in anger but in love. He told them that a Savior would come who would crush the serpent’s head. He told them that Eve’s offspring was coming who would win the war that began that day. Instead of wrath, God wrapped his children in love.

And that opposite has been the life story of God’s interaction with his people. Those who approach God in humble repentance don’t receive the terrifying wrath that was the reality for man or animal on Mount Sinai. They receive no firestorm, no terrifying threats, no sure and certain death. Instead they approach God to the sights and sounds of glory. They come to God through a mediator named Jesus. Jesus’ blood makes atonement for sin. Jesus’ blood turns wrath into righteousness. It turns fear into joy. Jesus’ blood turns the threats of God’s law into the promises of his gospel forgiveness. And because of our mediator we can rejoice. We can celebrate the heavenly future that is in store for us, who are covered in the blood of Jesus. We can approach God with confidence and encourage others to do the same.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for giving me the opposite of what my sins deserve and promising me a glorious future at your side in heaven. Be with me as I walk through this life. Please continue to guard and guide me, wherever your paths lead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

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The Giver of Life – September 8, 2017

Fri, Sep 08, 2017

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins… But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:1,4-5

The Giver of Life
Daily Devotion – September 8, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:1,4-5
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170908dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In Ezekiel chapter 37, we read that the LORD took the prophet Ezekiel to a valley filled with dry bones. After leading him back and forth among piles of lifeless bones, the LORD asked him a question. “Can these bones live?”

The physical images were meant to impress spiritual truths about the people to whom Ezekiel prophesied. Physically, they were alive. Spiritually, they were dead. The Word of God in today’s reading relates the same spiritual truths without a trip to a valley of dry bones. Ever since sin entered the world, people are born physically alive, yet spiritually dead in transgressions and sins. “Can these bones live?’

Ezekiel answered, “You know, Sovereign LORD.” Yes, the LORD knows, and he commanded his prophet to proclaim God’s life-giving Word over that valley. The power of the Word was amazing. The valley of death transformed into a valley of life. The dead were made alive!

Once again, the physical images impressed spiritual truths. The LORD raised the dead to life through the power of his Word. Ephesians chapter 2 shares the same power of God’s Word in our own lives. God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ!

“Can these bones live?” God asked Ezekiel this question for the prophet’s benefit and for our benefit. Our gracious and merciful God wants us to know that he is the giver of life—physical life, spiritual life, and eternal life. Find life and gracious love in God through his powerful Word!

Prayer:
Lord God, you are the giver of life. Use your powerful Word to comfort me with your great love, to strengthen me in the new life you have given me, and encourage me in proclaiming your life-giving Word to others. 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 Friendly

Every Spiritual Blessing – September 7, 2017

Thu, Sep 07, 2017

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3

Every Spiritual Blessing
Daily Devotion – September 7, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:3
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20170907dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In today’s Bible verse, the apostle Paul tells the church in Ephesus that believers in Jesus Christ have been blessed with “every spiritual blessing.” Here are some of the blessings we have through Jesus:

• We have been forgiven of all disobedience against God through the sacrifice of his Son.
• The perfect obedience of Jesus Christ has been credited to us. God considers us to be holy and worthy to stand in his presence.
• In Holy Baptism, we have been given a new life and a new identity. Adopted as God’s children, we can approach the Creator of all things as our loving Father.
• We can be confident that God will patiently listen to all of our prayers and will respond in a way which shows his rich love for us.
• In Holy Communion, together with bread and wine Jesus Christ gives us his very body and blood to eat and drink along with the assurance that we are one with him.
• The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts, daily giving us hope and peace.
• In the Holy Scriptures, we find strength to resist temptation and guidance for doing what is pleasing to God.
• United with Christ, the true and living Vine, we are branches which produce fruits of faith such as love for God and for others.
• Our hearts respond to God’s word with generosity and grace. In Christ, we can find joy in service and contentment in any situation.
• All believers are united with each other through their union with Christ. We are members of the biggest family, the Holy Christian Church, which includes all believers here on earth and those who have already died and gone to be with the Lord.
• Christ’s resurrection from the dead guarantees that we will not remain in our graves. He will raise our bodies on the Last Day.
• Our time here on earth is short and full of troubles, but God has promised that we will live with him in Paradise for all of eternity.

Truthfully, there is not a single spiritual blessing lacking for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, comfort and quiet my uneasy soul with your many gospel promises. Thank you for providing for my every spiritual need in your Son Jesus Christ. 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 Friendly