WELS Daily Devotions

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

Devotion - October 2, 2014

Thu, Oct 02, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Jesus sinners does receive;
Oh, may all this saying ponder
Who in sin’s delusions live
And from God and heaven wander.
Here is hope for all who grieve—
Jesus sinners does receive.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 304, verses 1 and 3)

There’s only one thing harder than confronting somebody else when they’ve done wrong. It’s accepting correction ourselves. We aren’t good at that at all. I worked at a construction job for several years, and I experienced this firsthand. It was always easier to try to hide a mistake than to own up to it. But when the job supervisor would discover it, even then the first go-to-reactions would be to deny it or to make an excuse for it. It was never easy to simply say, “I messed this up. I cut the board too short.”

Why is this so hard for us? There are two reasons. The first is our pride. We don’t like to admit that we’re wrong. If that’s true for even the minor mistakes we make, how much harder it is for us to own up to all the sins that we commit! Indeed, in our pride we may be living in sin’s delusion, unwilling to acknowledge sin for what it is. In our pride we may wander far from God and far from heaven.

The second reason why we have difficulty accepting correction is fear. We may be afraid to own up to our sin. We may wonder if God will forgive us. We’re afraid of the consequences.

In the hymn, “Jesus Sinners Does Receive,” these hang-ups are readily addressed and overcome. The title alone tells us that our fear is misplaced! Jesus sinners does receive! That includes you and me!

Since Jesus does receive sinners, you and I have a different attitude towards accepting correction. We will welcome it. We will rejoice that there are others who call us back when we stray so that we may not lose our way. If they do that for us, it is really a demonstration of their love for us. They love us enough to point us back to our Lord Jesus. Returning to him, we’ll discover how true it is that Jesus sinners does receive:

Sheep that from the fold did stray
Are not by the Lord forsaken;
Weary souls who lost their way
Are by Christ, the shepherd taken
In his arms that they may live—
Jesus sinners does receive!

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, you joyfully receive sinners. Overcome our pride and fear. Give us hearts that willingly acknowledge and confess sins, turning to you for forgiveness. 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 2, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - October 1, 2014

Wed, Oct 01, 2014

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself. “Son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?” ’ Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’

Ezekiel 33:7-11


The cancer support group gathers in a circle in the church basement. They tell their dreary stories of unending fatigue, nausea and pain. Finally a young man who has been listening quietly announces, “I have a brain tumor. The doctors want to do surgery and remove it, but I’m not going to do it.” Support gives way to exasperation. “What?” “How can you do this?” “Don’t you want to live?”

When faced with a cancer diagnosis, our loved ones will most likely make every effort to see to it that we seek out every treatment available. The goal is staying alive.

“Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?” The inner, spiritual death caused by sin is cause for deep concern. Too many of us know the agony of watching our loved ones separate themselves from God through careless and persistent sin. God insists that we stand guard and speak out to dissuade our loved ones from their sin.

There is no reason to die because of sin. God “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” He wants us to live so much that his own Son took all of the careless and persistent sins we have committed and removed them by his sacrificial death on the cross. Troubled sinners cry out, “How then can we live?” Our loving God answers, “Turn from sin and trust that my Son’s death is life for you.”

Prayer: 

Gracious God, lead us all away from sin and to your loving forgiveness in Jesus. Overcome everything harmful to body and soul with your promises of heavenly glory. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - October 1, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 30, 2014

Tue, Sep 30, 2014

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:1-2


Being the President must be a thankless job. It must be a stressful job. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, no matter what decisions you make; roughly 50% of the people are not going to be happy with you. Close to half of the country inevitably will disagree with your decisions. I can’t imagine trying to please everyone in the country for one whole day, let alone four years.

In the U.S. we have the freedom to disagree with our government officials and many feel that the First Amendment allows us to express that disagreement pretty much any way we want to. As you have no doubt observed, this quickly gets out of hand. People express their displeasure with the government through angry bumper stickers, inflammatory emails and vicious comments on blogs and Facebook posts all over the Internet. There is often no respect for the position or for the person in authority. Perhaps we too at times are tempted to join in and to vent our displeasure in sinful ways.

God is not pleased. He commands and encourages us to submit to the governing authorities. God intends to bless us through the government that he has established. God says, “Whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” That is a fate we all deserve for our sins.

The good news is that Jesus came to pay for those sins and he faced judgment so that we wouldn’t have to. He gave his life to pay for our rebellion and disrespect, and he shed his blood to forever wash those sins away. Now as his forgiven children he gives us government and leaders all in an effort to bless us in so many ways. He asks us to follow his example in honoring the government as God’s appointed representatives. While being the President may be a thankless job, let us not forget to thank God for the blessings we have through our government.

Prayer: 

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for blessing me in so many ways through the government you have established. Help me to see my governing authorities as your appointed representatives. Bless our nation’s leaders with wisdom and grant them a willingness to listen to your Word. 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 - September 30, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 29, 2014

Mon, Sep 29, 2014

“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. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or tax collector. I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 18:15-18


“It’s none of my business.”

“I’m afraid it will damage our friendship.”

“Who am I to point out the sin of another since I am a sinner myself?”

When a fellow Christian is caught in a sin, these are the excuses that so often find their way into our vocabulary. On the surface, they all seem legitimate. Why would we ever want to be considered meddlers or controversy starters or self-righteous hypocrites?

But when we trace such excuses to their roots, they get exposed for what they are: tricks and schemes of the devil. After all, Satan will do everything in his power to make sure we do not view sin for what it truly is—a poison that doesn’t just wound or hurt, but a poison that kills. And Satan desires nothing more than for people caught in deliberate sin to continue down that road of sin unrepentant—refusing to recognize their sin and refusing to recognize their desperate need for the forgiveness of our Savior. This is always Satan’s desire, because the road of unrepentance leads to hell.

That’s also why Jesus commands what he does in these words from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 18. Jesus desires the salvation of souls. And so, Jesus commands Christians to call those caught in sin to repentance, that they may recognize their sin and then turn to him for forgiveness.

The steps Jesus calls Christians to follow are clear concerning a brother or sister in Christ. First, approach the fallen sinner privately, that your careful warning may lead him to the repentance God desires. If the person does not repent, involve two or three others, that the seriousness of the matter may be underscored while its privacy maintained. If the sinner still does not repent, take the matter to the church, that the entire body of believers may demonstrate just how seriously the Lord desires repentance and just how greatly the Lord desires to forgive. Finally, if the unrepentant sinner refuses to listen even to the church, exclude him from the church, that he may be continually reminded that impenitence kills saving faith.

Because our Savior has issued us this command solely out of love for sinners, we carry it out with that same spirit of love. We approach it with a single-minded desire to lead sinners to repentance, that they may experience the joy of his forgiveness once again. And we approach it with a humble heart, recognizing that it is only by God’s grace that our own sins have been forgiven. May God grant all of us such love and humility as we carry out this important work!

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, in your unlimited love for souls, you have commanded your believers to call sinners to repentance. Move us to carry out this command with that same spirit of 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 - September 29, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 26, 2014

Fri, Sep 26, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Take away our love of sinning; Alpha and Omega be.
End of faith as its beginning, Set our hearts at liberty.

We would ever seek your blessing, Serve you as your hosts above,
Pray and praise you without ceasing, Glory in your perfect love.

Sanctify your new creation; Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us trust your great salvation, Won for us on Calvary,


Till we lay our crowns before you, Till in heav’n we take our place,
Till in glory we adore you, Lost in wonder, love and praise.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 365, verses 2-3)

 

Love Divine, All Love Excelling

God loved us so much that he sent his only Son to be our substitute. That Son lived a perfect life in our place and died to take the punishment for our sins. Whoever believes in that Son has eternal life and will never go to hell.

When we hear about this great love for us, we are moved to demonstrate our gratitude to God. How can we do that? God gives us a few ways. “Love me more than sinning,” he says. With just a little experience, we realize how hard that is, so we pray to him, “Take away our love of sinning.” And he answers us, “I have freed you to serve me. Remember that I am always with you.”

We would like to live pure and spotless lives in loving gratitude to God, but we fail. God calls us to repentance, again and again, and says, “Trust that the forgiveness that Jesus won for you by dying on the cross makes you pure and spotless in my eyes. You are my own dear child.”

Sometimes, especially in worship, we forget about our guilt and all of the sin around us, and we find simple joy in Jesus. But then sinful earthly reality intrudes again. At those moments, we look forward to heaven, where there will be no more sorrow, no more pain. Until then, we pray and praise God, giving thanks.

Prayer: 

Jesus, you are all compassion, boundless mercy from above. Visit us with benediction; comfort us with heavenly love. 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 - September 26, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - September 25, 2014

Thu, Sep 25, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Love divine, all love excelling,
Joy of heav’n, to earth come down,
Fix in us your humble dwelling,
All your faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, you are all compassion,
Boundless mercy from above,
Visit us with benediction;
Comfort us with heav’nly love.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 365, verse 1)

Love Divine, All Love Excelling

The saddest stories are the ones where there used to be love in the family but then it becomes clear that love is gone when someone moves out. When we receive love, especially in the family, we want it to last as long as we live.

God created us to love him and be in his family, but the saddest stories in the Bible are when human beings reject that love and decide that they want to live outside of the family of God.

The happiest story of the Bible, however, is that God does not give up on us when we walk away from his love. Jesus, who is Love itself beyond all other loves, came down to earth to demonstrate God’s love for us. While we were still sinners, he died for us. He speaks words of blessing to us, comforting us and making us part of God’s family again.

God’s family love is even stronger than human family love. When Jesus lives in us through faith, we have comfort even if father or mother forsake us. Jesus will never leave or forsake us. Our spouse may leave us, but Jesus’ love is so strong that he forgives us again and again and stays with us always.

Human love is delightful, fantastic, satisfying, and fulfilling. Divine love is even better.

Prayer: 

We would ever seek your blessing, Jesus, serve you as your hosts above, pray and praise you without ceasing, glory in your perfect love. 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 - September 25, 2014 --Daily Devotion