WELS Daily Devotions

You Belong – July 23, 2016

10 hours 53 mi

You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.
Ephesians 2:19

You Belong
Daily Devotion – July 23, 2016

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:19
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160723dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Each of us has probably felt it. And although we try not to think about it, many of us can’t forget it. Perhaps you felt it when the captain of the kickball team picked you last. Perhaps you felt it when your grades were lower than everyone else. Perhaps you felt it when your clothes weren’t as nice as others or your physical appearance did not fit the standard of what others considered “good-looking.” It is that catch in your throat and that wave of unease that washes over your body. It’s the terrible feeling that says within you, “I don’t belong.”

And let’s be candid. That feeling does not simply haunt the playgrounds and schooldays of our past. There can still be awful moments or periods of life when that sad, familiar voice speaks again; the voice that says, “I don’t belong.”

What’s even worse is the fear of not belonging to God! It’s true that apart from Christ, we are separated from God. We could win all the popularity contests we want, but without Jesus we have no hope of a peaceful and blessed relationship with God. However, Jesus changed everything! “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2). God accepted the suffering and death of his Son as full payment for our sin. Through Jesus our eternal relationship with God is secured; by faith in our Savior we belong to God. And we are united with other Christians—we “are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

Now, do we always feel that closeness? Do we always feel that bond? No, not always. As long as we are still in this fallen world, our Christian brothers and sisters are bound to let us down, we are bound to let them down, and our flawed emotions will often fail to perceive the close, intimate bond we have with Christ and with each other.

But make no mistake. You belong. You belong to us. We belong to you. And by faith we all belong to God through the precious blood of his Son.

Are there still times when you feel left out and alone? Then remember the blessing you possess in Jesus Christ: You belong!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, because of your blood I belong. I belong to my Christian family and I belong to God. At those times when I feel left out, overcome my emotions with the certainty of your Word. 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. Print PDF

I Don’t Know the Answer – July 22, 2016

Fri, Jul 22, 2016

Jesus said, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . . ” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
Matthew 9:5-6

I Don’t Know the Answer
Daily Devotion – July 22, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 9:5-6
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160722dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I still don’t know the answer to Jesus’ question. I’ve thought about it for a long time but it still stumps me. “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’”?

The reason I don’t know the answer is that I can’t do either of them.

I do not have the ability to heal someone’s paralysis. Doctors can do some amazing and wonderful things but medicine can never give me the ability to heal in the way that Jesus heals.

I do not have the ability to pay for anyone’s sins. There is no sacrifice that I could ever make that would even pay for one of my sins, let alone all the sins of another person.

While I don’t know the answer to Jesus’ question, Jesus not only knows the answer, he can do them both.

Jesus spent much of his ministry healing so that the blind received sight and the lame walked. He cured those with leprosy, made the deaf to hear, and did many, many other miracles of healing.

Jesus also spent much of his ministry telling people those most important words, “Your sins are forgiven.” He gave his life as a payment for our sins so that those words would have real meaning and authority.

Jesus is still doing both these things today. He is now in heaven but he continues to rule all things on this earth as the King of kings. He still provides healing and makes all things happen for the good of his people. He is also still forgiving our sins daily. He is near his Heavenly Father reminding him that he has paid for all our sins by his suffering and death for us.

Which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or “get up and walk”? I don’t know but I am certain Jesus can do both.

Prayer:
Father, we thank you that you sent Jesus. Help us always to trust that each day he gives us the forgiveness we need and rules all things for our good. Amen.

The Thursday and Friday devotions for the month of July focus on the Miracles of Jesus. For previous devotions in this series go here.

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

Is Jesus Sleeping in Your Boat? – July 21, 2016

Thu, Jul 21, 2016

That day when evening came, [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:35-41

Is Jesus Sleeping in Your Boat?
Daily Devotion – July 21, 2016

Devotion based on Mark 4:35-41
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160721dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The disciples supposed that Jesus did not care if they drowned! They did not trust his love for them, nor did they have faith in his power to control wind and wave. Jesus exposes their lack of faith, “Why are you so afraid?”

Jesus exposes our lack of faith with the same question, “Why are we so afraid?” Has Jesus left our “boat”? Do we think that he is sleeping through the problems and troubles of our lives? Do we think that he just doesn’t care? Do we think that he cannot stand up in the middle of danger and disaster and say, “Be calm and be still!” Think about hurricanes and tornadoes, floods and fires, wars and plagues, drought and disease. Even death! Do we think that he is uncaring and powerless to rescue us from everything that threatens us?

Yet there he is with his disciples in that boat on the lake in the middle of the storm. Only the man sleeping on a pillow in back of the boat actually believed that God would take care of him. Only the man sleeping in back of the boat knew the right time to stand. Only that man could speak words filled with such power that the sea became calm mid-crest and the winds stopped howling. Perfect calm!

Now in that boat on that lake right after the storm, the men believed that Jesus possessed infinite power, eternal might. He actually did control the wind and the waves!

This miracle helped the disciples learn the answer to the question, “Who is this Jesus?” “Even the wind and waves obey him.” This miracle displayed Jesus’ infinite power. This miracle teaches us how to respond to Jesus. We join the wind and waves in obeying his every word.

But this miracle also rebukes us when our weak faith wonders, “Does Jesus care?” This miracle demonstrates the boundless, limitless and infinite love of Jesus. The quieted winds and the calmed waves testify, “Yes, he cares for you!”

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, come and stand in our “boat.” Ride with us through the storms of life. Help us wait patiently when you seem to sleep. Help us worship joyfully when you rise to save. Amen.

The special devotions for Thursdays and Fridays this month focus on the Miracles of Jesus. For previous devotions in this series go here.

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

Don’t Laugh – July 20, 2016

Wed, Jul 20, 2016

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.”
Genesis 18:9-14

Don’t Laugh
Daily Devotion – July 20, 2016

Devotion based on Genesis 18:9-14
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160720dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Ah… good times in the school cafeteria. We always had to be on our guard. One of our friends was always watching, waiting for just the right moment when your mouth was full of juice or milk and you were just about to swallow. If he timed it right and picked just the right words, his outrageous statement just might result in a burst of laughter that would cause a mini explosion. The challenge was not to laugh. If you failed… well there would be a mess to clean up and possibly even a burning sensation in your nose.

The natural tendency of just about every human being is to laugh when they hear an outrageous statement. Think about it. When someone tells you something that is just too unbelievable to be true, isn’t your natural and almost immediate response to expel some air from your mouth or maybe even release a little laughter?

That’s what happened to Sarah, the nearly 90 year-old wife of Abraham. The “outrageous” statement she heard was that she would have her first child in about one year, and she laughed to herself. Her laughter didn’t result in a mess that needed to be cleaned up, but her doubt was rebuked. The statement she heard should not have been difficult to believe because the one who made it was the Lord himself.

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Of course the answer is, “No.” Sarah got pregnant and bore a son just as the Lord stated.

There are things we hear from God that sound unbelievable, or too good to be true, but he is God. He doesn’t lie, and nothing is impossible for him.

God loves you and will always be with you. He will not allow more trouble than you can bear to enter into your life. Don’t laugh. It’s true.

Your sins, each and every one of them, have been forgiven by Jesus. Don’t laugh. It’s true.

Jesus defeated death. Through faith in him you too will rise to live forever with him. Don’t laugh. It’s true.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times when my initial response to your incredible promises is doubt. Grant me faith that my laughter may be the result of joy not unbelief. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

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

Struggling with Christ’s Energy – July 19, 2016

Tue, Jul 19, 2016

To this end I labor, struggling with all [Christ’s] energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:29

Struggling with Christ’s Energy
Daily Devotion – July 19, 2016

Devotion based on Colossians 1:29
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160719dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“I just don’t have the energy to go on!” “I can’t do this anymore!” “I’m drained!” “This is exhausting!” Have you ever said anything like that? If you are a parent with young children, you probably have. If you are a parent with older children, you maybe have too. If you are a student working through a tough semester or class, perhaps you have thought those things. Constantly butting heads with a spouse or family member might lead you to say things like that. If you work at a job that demands you do more with less, you might have those feelings right now. If you are suffering with emotional or spiritual issues, your situation can seem bleak and desperate, beyond your ability to go on.

A 1st century man named Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, can relate. In a letter that he wrote to some Christians living in modern-day Turkey, he speaks of it. Paul worked very hard…preaching, teaching, and supporting himself through tentmaking. He engaged in constant spiritual combat…dealing with personal struggles, opposing enemies of the gospel message, admonishing and encouraging Christians in their walk of faith. He lived his life as a servant of Jesus…giving his life for a taxing and sometimes thankless ministry. He suffered in many ways…shipwrecks, beatings, and imprisonments.

How could he do it? How did he do it? He tells us. The energy he ran on was not his own. Paul relied on Christ and his energy. Paul labored and struggled with the power of Jesus. When Paul felt spiritually weak, he looked to Jesus for strength. When he felt drained because of past sin and failure, he found peace in the forgiveness of Jesus. When Paul grew spiritually tired, he rested in the arms of Jesus. When his labor seemed in vain, he found meaning in the promises of the risen Jesus. When Paul felt inadequate for his work, he looked for guidance in the words and wisdom of Jesus. Paul was an amazing man who did amazing things, but he tells us the secret of his life and ministry: “…I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”

Do you sometimes feel spiritually, emotionally, or physically drained? Does life or any part of it seem to be a struggle? If so, do what Paul did. Find your motivation, strength, energy, and power in Jesus. Look to him and his Word. Fill up on his promises. Let him feed you with his Sacrament. Let him renew and refresh you with his assurances to be with you and uphold you. Speak with Christian pastors, family, and friends, all of whom he uses to remind you of him and his energy-giving gospel promises. Labor and struggle with the energy that comes from Jesus and be amazed at what he will do.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you know how tired I am. You know what a struggle some parts of my life are right now. You know how weak I feel to move forward and accomplish things. Lord, help me. Fill me with your gracious and comforting promises. Assure me of my place in your kingdom through your forgiveness. Help me to labor on in your name and with the energy you provide. In your saving name. Amen.

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

Only One Thing is Needed – July 18, 2016

Mon, Jul 18, 2016

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

Only One Thing is Needed
Daily Devotion – July 18, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 10:38-42
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160718dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

There’s so much to do, and there’s so little time. Are you a busy person? Even if you’re not, you’ve certainly come to realize that there are always plenty of things to worry about.

When Jesus visited the home of his friends Martha and Mary, we hear that Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. You can imagine, I’m sure, what that felt like. Jesus was not only their friend, but also their Lord and Savior. Wouldn’t you want everything to be just right for his visit? So Martha frantically tried to take care of all the business of cleaning and cooking and serving, but she did it to the point that she got distracted from the real point of Jesus’ visit.

There’s nothing against paying attention to many things. The problem is in the way we let those things fill our hearts with worry. Then we lash out at those around us as Martha did: “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” But we’re the ones with the problem. Whenever we set God aside as though we’re in charge of everything, we always learn the hard way that we can’t manage things as well as he can.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord said, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.”

Do you ever get worried or upset over many things? Do you ever get distracted from Jesus? Don’t be afraid. Jesus has never let himself get distracted from you. He went to his cross and suffered and died for you. He has covered all your sins. In a life where it seems like nothing is ever finished, the most important thing is. Jesus has paid for your sins. He said it himself from the cross: “It is finished.”

So find that Martha inside of you, the worrier who is full of anxiety, and tell her to take a hike. You have a Savior named Jesus. He has suffered and died and risen from the dead for you. He speaks to you in his Word. He’s the only thing you need.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, forgive my sins, calm my anxious heart, and lead me to trust you in all things. Amen.

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

Jesus’ Passionate Love for Us – July 17, 2016

Sun, Jul 17, 2016

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Mark 6:30-34

Jesus’ Passionate Love for Us
Daily Devotion – July 17, 2016

Devotion based on Mark 6:30-34
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160717dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus had a passion for people.

It was a passion for people that led him to share his message, “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). He encouraged people to examine their lives to see the wrong they had done and to turn to the Lord for forgiveness. Jesus’ message also came with authority. Isaiah prophesied that the coming Messiah would accomplish many miracles (Isaiah 35:3-5). Jesus fulfilled that prophesy, proving he was the promised Savior, for the blind received their sight, the lame walked, those who had leprosy were cured and the good news was preached to the poor (Matthew 11:5). The people couldn’t seem to get enough of Jesus or his miracles.

It was a passion for people that moved Jesus to enlist the help of his apostles. They went throughout the countryside and shared Jesus’ message and performed miraculous signs as well. The work was becoming so overwhelming that Jesus tried to get his apostles some rest. They went by boat to a place on the far side of the Sea of Galilee, but the people even followed them there. Jesus was so moved by their desperation and misery, that he changed his plans. His passion for people who were lost in the darkness of sin and death moved him to give up his personal quiet time to lead them into the wonderful light of God’s forgiveness and life.

Jesus’ passion for people is most obvious on the cross of Calvary. It was there that Jesus suffered and died to pay for the sins of all people, people he so dearly loved…people like you and me. But Jesus didn’t just die for us. He also rose for us. Three short days after his death, Jesus walked out of his tomb and declared victory over sin and death forever. This victory is one that Jesus shares will all mankind.

Those who follow Christ continue to have a passion for people today. We are led to offer food to the hungry. We offer medical assistance throughout the world for those who are sick. When natural disasters strike, we share the gifts God has given us with those who are hurting from loss. But we are most passionate about sharing Jesus’ good news of forgiveness. This good news not only brings comfort in this life, but a promise of eternal life with God in heaven.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, please help me to recognize Jesus’ passionate love for me. Help me to trust his certain promises. Send the Holy Spirit so that I may follow him in my life. 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. Print PDF

Beautiful People – July 16, 2016

Sat, Jul 16, 2016

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.”
Jeremiah 23:5-6

Beautiful People
Daily Devotion – July 16, 2016

Devotion based on Jeremiah 23:5-6
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160716dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In the days of Jeremiah the prophet, about 600 years before the birth of Christ, many people of God’s chosen nation had turned away from God into unbelief. They followed false teachers and bad leaders that led them into idolatry. However, there were some people who remained faithful to the true God. Through Jeremiah, God promised that he would gather all his faithful ones and bless them.

The Lord announced that glorious time: “The days are coming when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” With the word “branch,” God wants us to think of a shoot or sprout which grows out of a dying stump or from the ground where a tree stump is decaying. With this imagery, God pointed to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. His roots or ancestry were from the line of David. But by the time of his arrival, the grandeur of the Davidic kingdom had died and decayed under David’s godless successors. The Messiah, however, came to reestablish the glory of David’s throne, although not in the same way as before. Jesus Christ is a King, but his kingdom is new and different. His is a spiritual kingdom where he graciously rules in the hearts of people by faith.

God cares for his people and he saves them. He sent Jesus to do what is “just and right in the land.” In contrast to the people who rejected God and lived in disobedience to his will, Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the will of God and was guiltless of any sin. He lived this way for our benefit. God charged the perfect righteousness of his Son to us. He is: THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Covered with the purity of Jesus Christ, we are beautiful people in God’s eyes and blessed by faith in Jesus to be members of his glorious, eternal kingdom.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 376):
Jesus, your blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Mid flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head. 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. Print PDF

Don’t Cry – July 15, 2016

Fri, Jul 15, 2016

Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
Luke 7:11-17

Don’t Cry
Daily Devotion – July 15, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 7:11-17
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160715dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Don’t cry.” Can you think of a time when you have heard those words? It was probably at a time when you had every reason to cry.

“Don’t cry.” Jesus spoke these words to a widow who had every reason to cry. She had lost her husband. He was not only the love of her life, he was also someone who cared and provided for her. Then it was her son. As it often happens, he had probably stepped up after his father died and been a huge source of support and comfort for his grieving mother. But now, he too was being carried out of the city in a sad procession.

“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” These words weren’t so much a command as a promise. “Don’t cry, because I am here to help.” Jesus placed his hand on the coffin and everyone stood still. Then, surprisingly, he spoke to the young man, as if he weren’t dead. “Young man, I say to you, get up!” Everyone knew that this young dead man didn’t have the power to get up. His pulse had long been gone. His heart hadn’t pumped blood through his veins for hours, maybe days. His lungs were deflated, his pupils weren’t adjusting to changing light, and the neurons in his brain had been shut down—he was dead. But when Jesus spoke, the young man sat up and began to talk!

The people knew what this meant: “God has come to help his people.” Jesus is God. The power that he displayed on that day in Nain would be exhibited for all to see when he himself rose from the dead. The sinless Son of God has power over death! Later Jesus would comfort his friend Martha saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25).

Every day is one day closer to death. As you think about your own death, or when you feel the painful emptiness and loneliness that comes from losing a loved one, remember the power of Jesus. Remember his power over death, and his promise that he will raise from the dead all those who trust in him and give them eternal life. Remember his words to the widow of Nain and hear his voice saying, “Don’t Cry.”

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, you alone have power over death because of your death and resurrection. Even though I may grieve here on earth, help me to remember your power and fill my heart with hope. Amen.

This month the devotions for Thursdays and Fridays will focus on the Miracles of Jesus. For previous devotions in this series, go here.

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

A Great Faith – July 14, 2016

Thu, Jul 14, 2016

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
Matthew 8:5-13

A Great Faith
Daily Devotion – July 14, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 8:5-13
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160714dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Everyone likes to be considered great for something. It feels good to hear someone say, “You have a great voice” or “You are a great cook” or “You are a great parent.” At what would you most like to be great?

How about being known for having a great faith? Imagine having Jesus himself say that you have a great faith. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? That is precisely what Jesus said about a Roman soldier whose servant was sick.

What made the soldier’s faith so great? First, he was humble. He recognized that he did not deserve Jesus’ help. He did not even consider himself worthy of having Jesus enter his house. He knew he was entirely dependent upon Jesus.

So are you. Everything you have and everything you are is a gift from God. The only proper way to approach him is with humility. It is the first ingredient of a great faith.

The second ingredient is trust—trust that Jesus can do whatever you ask him. The centurion trusted that Jesus could command the sickness to leave his servant just as easily as he, himself, could command soldiers to do his bidding. What a great faith!

Jesus did heal the centurion’s servant. But…what if he hadn’t? What do we do when Jesus decides not to do what we ask? Once again, we trust him. We humbly trust that he knows what is best for us. We trust his promise to always and only DO what is best for us.

May God give you the faith of that centurion—a GREAT faith.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive me for the times my arrogance overcomes my humility. Forgive me for the times I fail to trust that you can do all things. Forgive me for the times I fail to trust that what you choose to do in my life is best. Please Lord, grant me a great faith! Amen.

This month the devotions for Thursdays and Fridays will focus on the Miracles of Jesus.

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

The Power of a Promise – July 13, 2016

Wed, Jul 13, 2016

The LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
Deuteronomy 30:9-14

The Power of a Promise
Daily Devotion – July 13, 2016

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 30:9-14
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160713dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Contemplate the power of a promise.

Mom and Dad promise the family that they will be taking a spring break trip to a big amusement park. They hint that good behavior is expected at home before leaving on this exciting journey.

For a while good behavior wins the day. Then the days grow long and the promised fun seems far away. The power of a promise drains away like an overused battery. Mom and Dad are disappointed, but suggest again that good behavior is expected.

Do you ever wonder if God our Father feels disappointed with all of us—the children who have been promised every good thing, but too frequently cannot sustain a life of obedience even for a day? What is the Father to do?

Does he hint at better performance on our part? Does he withdraw his blessings? No. He keeps on promising blessings. God does condemn sinners, but the fear of hell is not what drives his people to obedience. We are, rather, drawn to him by his love and his love is expressed in his promises.

He says that obedience comes from his Word and this Word when heard and believed is with us in our hearts.

In our hearts we marvel that God would send his only Son to live and die for us. The message of eternal salvation through Jesus is the crown jewel in God’s treasure store of promises and blessings.

Why could we; why should we; why would we obey our heavenly Father? His promises express his love and his love changes hearts.

Prayer:
God in heaven, my loving heavenly Father, in your Word I hear your promises to me and I see your love for all mankind. Lead me to love you in return through willing obedience and faithful keeping of your word because you have put it in my heart to do so. Amen.

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

Rescue Story – July 12, 2016

Tue, Jul 12, 2016

[The Father] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13-14

Rescue Story
Daily Devotion – July 12, 2016

Devotion based on Colossians 1:13-14
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160712dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In 1979, a man by the name of Tony Mendez came up with a rescue plan so risky and far-fetched that, even now, it sounds like fiction. It’s not fiction, however. It’s all true.

Here’s what happened. When the American embassy in Tehran fell to an angry mob and the Iranian Hostage Crisis began, six Americans from the embassy managed to escape and hide in a couple of nearby homes. Tony Mendez worked for the US Government, and through his intelligence contacts he knew where those Americans were hiding.

He was determined to get them out, and this is what he did. He and his team posed as eccentric filmmakers who wanted to make a science fiction movie on location in Iran. As they did so, he quietly established contact with the six Americans. His plan was to make them part of his eccentric film crew. He gave them new names, along with new passports, new credentials, new backgrounds—everything they would need to walk their way past all the security checkpoints. It worked. Thanks to Tony Mendez, those six Americans proceeded right to the airport, got on a plane, and flew home to freedom—all within plain sight of hostile people. The details of their unlikely rescue did not become public knowledge for 17 years.

As strange as that true story is, you and I are part of a rescue story that’s even more unlikely. But ours is true as well. Your sin and mine had cut us off from the goodness of God. As a result, you and I were hostages in a dominion of darkness as God’s Word describes it. And left to ourselves, that’s where we would have remained—trapped, condemned, cursed by our own rebellion against God.

But God was determined to get us out, and this is what he did. He became one of us. He became one of us in the Person of Jesus Christ. On our behalf he lived the sinless life he wants us to live. In our place he endured the punishment and death we deserved for our sin. Then, through faith in our risen Savior, you and I received full forgiveness, new identities, and freedom. And the old dominion of darkness can touch us no more.

That’s a rescue story worth remembering.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you did the unthinkable in order to secure my rescue. Now I am forgiven. Now I am yours. Now I am free. Amen.

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

Only Through Jesus – July 11, 2016

Mon, Jul 11, 2016

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 10:25

Only Through Jesus
Daily Devotion – July 11, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 10:25
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160711dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

An expert in the law came to Jesus with a very pointed question. It remains pertinent today, because many people still ask, “What must I do to be saved?” The question is straightforward, yet the answers offered seldom are. Some believe good works are the answer. If they do enough good for enough people they will be saved from eternal death and live with God in heaven forever. Others believe they will be saved regardless of what they do. Finally, though, Jesus provides the only right answer.

In his response to the expert in the law, Jesus revealed good works were not sufficient. I need to accept the same truth. My good works are always lacking when compared to what God requires. Even my promises to try harder and be better will never meet God’s expectations. This leaves but one answer which offers any hope, and that is, I am saved only through Jesus.

As God’s one and only Son, Jesus offered his Father the perfect life that God requires. No sin, no fault, no disobedience—nothing was found in Jesus which disqualified him from being perfect. Not only did Jesus complete his Father’s requirements for perfection, he also offered his life as the payment to secure my complete release from sin and its just punishment.

The benefit of Jesus’ precious work is my only hope to be saved. Through faith in him, everything he completed is mine. As a result, God the Father credits me with Jesus’ perfection and declares me not guilty. In Jesus, I am released from relying on my works, my good intentions, and my faulty hopes. In Jesus, I have no doubt that I am saved from the guilt of my sins. In Jesus, I am saved from the punishment I deserve. In Jesus, I have the inheritance of eternal life.

While many try to rely on themselves and their good works to be saved, through faith I know the one true way. My confidence and my salvation come only through Jesus.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, Jesus Christ, I thank you for the precious gift of your obedience, and for securing my release from guilt and punishment. Give me the strength of faith to trust in you alone for my salvation. Amen.

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

Mission Work – July 10, 2016

Sun, Jul 10, 2016

Calling the Twelve to him, Jesus sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Mark 6:7-13

Mission Work
Daily Devotion – July 10, 2016

Devotion based on Mark 6:7-13
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160710dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Wouldn’t you have just loved to be one of those first disciples! Every day you could wake up and literally follow Jesus, listen to him preach and teach, see him do miracles! Learning from Jesus was very important for those first disciples (and for us), but there’s more to following Jesus than only learning his word. He has work for us to do—mission work.

Jesus sent his disciples out on a mission, but he didn’t send them out empty handed. He gave them the most powerful tool any missionary is glad to have: the Word of God. Jesus told them not to worry about provisions or extra money. Bags stuffed with many changes of clothing were not required; just the clothes on their backs and the sandals on their feet. He sent them to preach that people should repent. Jesus wanted his disciples to show compassion and share God’s love. This is what they did, and God granted them tremendous success.

The mission work of Jesus is still essential. For everyone, including you and me, need to repent because we are sin-sick sinners who need the cure and remedy Jesus won for us at the cross. We need to know that our sins have been paid for, that we are forgiven, that Jesus has established an everlasting peace between God and us.

Just as in Jesus’ day, God grants success when his Word is proclaimed. But can God use you to do mission work? The answer is: absolutely! The words of this Gospel account clearly show that the authority, the power and commissioning for you to do his work is from God, and so are the results which he will grant. You have a mission field—people you know and meet who need Jesus. Share with them the message of repentance and forgiveness. You may not see results right away. It may take time for the seed of God’s Word to germinate in people’s hearts, but as it does, that’s God at work.

You have been given the finest tools. You have the best support, Jesus, who is with you at all times. And as you follow Jesus, God will bless you as you share his Word and do his mission work among the people you know, and as you support his mission work in places all over the world.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, please bless your words—both the Scriptures I read and hear as well as the words I share. Grant success to those who share your word in places where I cannot go so that many more souls may come to worship you as their Lord and Savior. 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. Print PDF

Our Guaranteed Inheritance – July 9, 2016

Sat, Jul 09, 2016

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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:3–14

Our Guaranteed Inheritance
Daily Devotion – July 9, 2016

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:3–14
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160709dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What gifts do you treasure the most? Is it the handmade card you received from your child? Perhaps it was the ring you were given from that very special person in your life, or a precious heirloom passed on from generation to generation. Whatever the gift may be, chances are you treasure it because there is some sentiment attached to the item.

In this section of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul describes how great the treasures are that God has given to you. He calls them spiritual blessings in Christ. He explains how these blessings are the greatest gifts you could receive. One can only marvel at the magnitude of these gifts. The Father chose you before the world was created and determined that you would be one of his believing children. He freely gave his Son to redeem you from your sin. He works all things out according to his will for you. He sent his Holy Spirit to mark you as his own. He gave to you an inheritance of eternal life.

Paul praises God for all of these spiritual blessings so that you too can praise God for his grace. For these precious gifts of God bring you comfort and joy. God doesn’t want to leave you struggling with any doubts or worries when it comes to your relationship with him. He doesn’t want you wondering if you are really his child. He doesn’t want you debating whether or not you are good enough to enter heaven. No, God wants you to sleep soundly at night and to live boldly in Christ. So God emphasizes that he chose you. He redeemed you. He marked you as his own. He has guaranteed your inheritance of eternal life.

As you contemplate the spiritual blessings you have received in Christ, treasure them. Then praise and glorify God for “the riches of his grace.”

Prayer:
My heavenly Father, I praise you for the precious spiritual blessings that you give me through Jesus. While you also supply all my physical needs, your greater gifts are those that bless my soul. These are eternal treasures that lead me to glorify you! 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. Print PDF

Who am I, Lord? – July 8, 2016

Fri, Jul 08, 2016

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Luke 5:1-11

Who am I, Lord?
Daily Devotion – July 8, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 5:1-11
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160708dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Peter and his companions knew how to fish. It was their livelihood, their profession, their passion. When a person spends their life doing something, they usually become pretty good at it. Fishermen know the natural rhythms of the water and the patterns of its creatures. Maybe this is why Jesus’ miracle had such an impact on Simon. He had seen Jesus turn the water into wine at Cana, drive a fever from his mother-in-law, and heal countless others of their diseases. But this was different. Peter probably didn’t know much about making wine or about medicine, but he certainly knew about fish. So when Jesus sent so many fish into their nets that they began to break and their boats began to sink, he was astonished.Falling at his Master’s knees he says, “Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man!”

Does Peter’s reaction surprise you? Wouldn’t we expect him to say, “Lord, since you can do miracles like this, stay right next to me! If this is how you fish, we are going to be rich!” Instead he says, “Get away from me!” Peter knew that this was an act of God himself. And his only response was one of fear and unworthiness. He knew that he didn’t have any business being near the one who had power over creation and all of its creatures.

We can understand his response, can’t we? When we are confronted with Jesus’ power in his Word, when we hear his perfect commands and his exacting demand for obedience, we feel the same way. Who am I Lord? Who am I to be near you? Who am I to be one of your followers? Thankfully, Jesus deals with us the same way he dealt with Peter. He says, “Don’t be afraid.” Don’t be afraid because I have forgiven all of your sins. Don’t be afraid because I came to lay down my life for you. Don’t be afraid because from now on you will fish for people.

After we understand who we are and what God has done for us, Jesus sends us. Go! Go with the good news that God loves sinners because of Jesus. Go with the good news of who you are and what God has done for you. Go, knowing that your Savior who used his power to cause all those fish to rush into the disciples’ nets, will use that same power to bless you.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to remind me of my sin, but even more to assure me of your love and forgiveness. Empower me to be a fisher of people and to share the message of your salvation with others. Amen.

This month the devotions for Thursdays and Fridays will focus on the Miracles of Jesus. For previous devotions in this series, go here.

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

You Can Take Jesus at His Word – July 7, 2016

Thu, Jul 07, 2016

Once more [Jesus] visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his household believed. This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.
John 4:46-54

You Can Take Jesus at His Word
Daily Devotion – July 7, 2016

Devotion based on John 4:46-54
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160707dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What does God want from you more than anything else? Trust. He wants you to trust him. Just like he wanted Adam and Eve to trust him when he commanded them not to eat from a specific tree. Just like he wanted Noah to trust him when God told Noah to build an ark because he was going to send floodwaters over the whole earth. Just like he wanted his people in the Old Testament to trust him when he promised to send a Savior.

In today’s lesson from God’s Word, we meet a royal official who trusted Jesus. He walked some eighteen miles to find Jesus and ask him to heal his son. Jesus said to him, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. He took Jesus at his word. He turned around and began walking home. Imagine the level of trust that took! As far as he knew, he would have to walk the long distance to his home before he would know if his son was safe. He was able to make that walk because he took Jesus at his word.

You can take Jesus at his word as well. As you walk the long, winding, often bumpy road of life—you can trust that he will be with you every step of the way—just as he said. You can trust that he will provide for all your needs—just as he said. You can trust that he will give you the strength you need during difficult times—just as he said. You can trust that he will forgive your missteps—just as he said. And you can trust that when you reach the end of the road, he will give you eternal life—just as he said.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to take you at your word. I need your help because I so easily and so often doubt your promises. Replace that doubt with the courage and confidence that come with the knowledge that your word is completely trustworthy. Amen.

This month the devotions for Thursdays and Fridays will focus on the Miracles of Jesus.

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

What Makes You Rich? – July 6, 2016

Wed, Jul 06, 2016

“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her…you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.” For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream … As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass…”
Isaiah 66:10-14 (selected portions)

What Makes You Rich?
Daily Devotion – July 6, 2016

Devotion based on Isaiah 66:10-14
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160706dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When I was young, I believed that if you had a cabin “up north”, then you had “made it.” You were rich. As I grew older I began to realize things that challenged my youthful perceptions. I learned that those who did have cabins “up north” spent much of their time there cleaning, maintaining and repairing. They hardly had it made!

More importantly, I realized that riches had very little to do with things—including cabins “up north” and everything to do with the spiritual blessings that come from a loving and personal God.

In flowing poetic language, Isaiah the prophet speaks of some of those blessings.

He records the word of the LORD about peace flowing to us like a river. Think of the peace of forgiveness through Jesus who removed the guilt of sin and the punishment that comes with it, by his death on the cross.

The prophet tells of eternal blessings which the LORD describes as “overflowing abundance.” Think of the indescribable glory of heaven—riches beyond compare and beyond counting.

Isaiah gives us the LORD’S promise of comfort. Think of the comfort of God’s daily, personal presence with each one of his people.

Am I rich yet? Yes, extremely and incomparably rich! My God has blessed me through Jesus his Son and through Jesus is calling me up, up to the glory of heaven. “Oh the depth of the riches” says the apostle Paul, a Christian man who knew full well what that meant.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I thank and praise you for sharing the abundance of your riches with me and my loved ones. We find joy in your comforting presence. Through the proclamation of your word we pray that many other lives will be eternally enriched by your grace. Amen.

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

A Greater Reason – July 5, 2016

Tue, Jul 05, 2016

Let us not become weary in doing good.
Galatians 6:9

A Greater Reason
Daily Devotion – July 5, 2016

Devotion based on Galatians 6:9
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160705dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Did you know that an act of kindness might actually lower your blood pressure? According to an article in Good Housekeeping, a chemist by the name of David Hamilton has studied the health benefits of kindness. Hamilton says that performing a kind act releases into your brain the same chemical that surges when you hold your baby or snuggle a dog. This chemical, in turn, then lowers your blood pressure for a time. “Kindness is literally good for your heart,” says Hamilton.

The article continues with a list of “Fifty Simple Acts of Kindness.” Number 1 says, “Leave a bouquet of flowers at the hospital—the nurses will know who needs it the most.” Number 13 says, “Send a thank-you note to the officers at your police station.” Number 15 says, “Arrange to pay for a soldier’s breakfast when you see him or her dining alone.” Number 31 says, “Leave some quarters for the next person at a vending machine.” Number 37 says, “Relay an overheard compliment.” Number 46 says, “Pay the toll for the car behind you.” And number 48 says, “Rescue a wallflower. Strike up a conversation with someone who’s standing alone at a party.”

But here’s the thing. While it may be true that performing acts of kindness may be good for the heart, Christians have a far greater reason. As Christians, we can immerse ourselves in the joy of serving others because of what Jesus Christ has already done for us and for all. Out of a love we will never fully grasp, God became one of us in the Person of Jesus. He lived a perfect life on our behalf. He suffered and died for our every failure, our every wrong. Then he rose from death and now lives to keep his promises to us every single day.

When we demonstrate kindness toward someone else, we are celebrating the forgiveness we possess through faith in Christ. When we demonstrate kindness toward someone else, we are seizing an opportunity to thank our Savior. When we demonstrate kindness toward someone else, the Lord can use us to build a bridge—a bridge by which the Good News of Jesus can cross to touch one more blood-bought soul.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, through faith in you I am blessed beyond measure. Open my eyes to see how I may celebrate you. Move me to give moments of kindness to those who need them. Amen.

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

“Rejoice” – July 4, 2016

Mon, Jul 04, 2016

“Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:20

“Rejoice”
Daily Devotion – July 4, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 10:20
http://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20160704dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Rejoice—it is an invitation repeatedly offered in the Bible. It is something I want for my life, yet, it is hard to do, especially when so many things work to rob me of it.

Rejoice—it is what the disciples did when they returned from their travels. Jesus had commanded them to go and do some amazing things in his name. As they reported back to him what they saw and accomplished, they were filled with joy.

Rejoice—it is what I do when I see similar blessings in my life. There is joy in knowing the Lord. There is joy in being committed to his will. There is joy in what I do in his name.

Rejoice—it is what I would like to do all the time. Unfortunately, too often I see my joy wane. It is difficult to rejoice when dull routine overtakes me. It is hard to rejoice when obedience becomes tedious. It is even more challenging to rejoice when blessings succumb to challenges, disappointments, and failures.

Rejoice—it is what Jesus reminded his disciples to do, not because “the spirits submitted to them, but because their names were written in heaven.” It is a reminder I daily need. Regardless of what I do, or see, or accomplish, regardless of what challenges try to rob of my joy, I can always rejoice. My joy comes from the Savior who rescued me. My joy comes from the Lord who provided for my release from sin’s dreadful judgment. My joy comes from Jesus who defeated death and the grave, and destroyed the tyrannical grip of the devil. Through his precious work he has even provided the guarantee that my name is written in heaven.

Rejoice—it is what I can do, not because of the things I have done. It is what I can do because of the great things Jesus has done for me.

Prayer:
O blessed Jesus, I thank you for making me yours. I especially thank you for the joy and blessing of heaven. Keep me in your loving care until I receive what you have secured for me. Amen.

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