WELS Daily Devotions

Devotion - July 29, 2014

20 hours 56 mi

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:24-25


The stories of prisoners of war who survived are fascinating. The accounts of the brutal and inhumane treatment by the enemy are horrific. The extreme emotions felt by the prisoners are breath-taking: the terror of being completely controlled by the enemy, the hopelessness of recognizing that escape is impossible, and the desperation of knowing that if not rescued or released soon death is right around the corner.

Fortunately, stories of those prisoners of war don’t end there. They include rescue or release and the emotions that go along with it. The relief, joy, and gratitude that are described by these former prisoners make their stories enjoyable.

The apostle Paul shared his prisoner-of-war story. It’s a story that is fascinating not just because it has a happy ending, but also because it is a story that each believer in Jesus shares.

We are all held prisoner by our sinful flesh. We know that the sins we commit deserve eternal death, and yet we keep sinning. That’s all that our sinful flesh can do. If our story ended there, we would be filled with fear, hopelessness, and eternal despair.

The story does not end there. We have a Savior who rescues us. Jesus frees us from the bonds of sin. Jesus takes the condemnation to hell we deserve and sets us free. “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” 

Our prisoner of war story is certainly a heart-warming one. Our freedom has been guaranteed by Jesus. Praise to our Savior because of the freedom he has won for us…for you!

Prayer: 

What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thank you, Jesus, for being my rescuer, my eternal Savior. Thank you for setting me free from sin and death and giving me an eternal future with you. Give me strength in my daily struggle against my sinful nature that I may live for your glory in everything I do.  In your name I ask it, dear Jesus. 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 - July 29, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 28, 2014

Mon, Jul 28, 2014

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30


The people to whom Jesus first spoke these words were very much like you and me. People who were looking. People who were searching. People who were tired.  Jesus was calling all those who were weary from trying to work out their own salvation, from trying to make themselves right with God, from trying to find their own way to heaven. He was inviting all those who were weighed down by the burden of vainly, fruitlessly striving for peace, contentment, and happiness in ways that didn't work and in places where it could not be found.

All these people could come to Jesus. He didn't put up any walls. He didn't play favorites. He didn't cater to people who acted a certain way, or dressed a certain way, or talked a certain way. There was no "in crowd" when it came to Jesus' invitation.

So Jesus' invitation is extended to us. It is extended to all of us, regardless of our age or upbringing, regardless of our background or past. Regardless of who we have been or where we have been, regardless of who we are or where we are, Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

"Learn from me," Jesus says. One thing we learn is that God can't accept us as we are by nature. His holiness and justice won't allow it. Our sins separate us from God. And the wages of sin is death—physical, spiritual and eternal death.

Another thing we learn is that God did everything necessary to make us acceptable to him. Because he is gentle and humble in heart, he gave himself for us, that we might have rest for our souls.

That means an end to the weariness of trying to work out our own salvation, of trying to make ourselves right with God, of trying to find our own way to heaven. It means an end to the burden of vainly, fruitlessly striving for peace, contentment, and happiness in ways that don't work and in places where it cannot be found. It means knowing that you are a redeemed and forgiven child of God and an heir of eternal life. It means looking forward to perfect rest with Jesus in heaven.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, let me find rest in you today, and always. 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 - July 28, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 25, 2014

Fri, Jul 25, 2014

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:24-25


Much of the wisdom contained in the book of Proverbs makes sense to us. Laziness will result in poverty while diligent work will bring wealth (10:4). Those who heed discipline are wise while those who refuse to be corrected are foolish (12:1). Spend time with those who are truly wise and you will become wise. Spending time with fools will only bring you harm (13:20). The relationship between cause and effect in these encouragements fits well with what we understand to be rules of life.

However, something seems to be backward here: Give away what you have and you will gain even more. Hold tightly to what you have and you will become poor. This doesn’t seem to add up. Conventional wisdom says, “The more you give away the less you have. The more you save the more you get to keep.”

We do not have a God who operates with conventional wisdom. We have a God who punished the innocent (his own Son) so that the guilty (you and me) could go free and be rewarded with eternal life.

That’s not the way things are supposed to work. The guilty are supposed to be punished, the innocent rewarded. Our loving and gracious God does not do things the way they are “supposed” to be done. He showers blessings on us even though we in no way deserve them.

He gives us those blessing for a purpose. He graciously gives us money and material possessions not just so that we can hoard them and keep them to ourselves. He blesses us in order to give us the opportunity to be a blessing to others.

When we are generous with what we have been given, God promises that we will gain even more. We might not receive back the exact same as we have been given. Money given away may not result in a two-fold return. However, good will, friends, appreciation and thanks, as well as the knowledge that we are using our gifts in a way that is pleasing to God–-these are all refreshing, positive returns on investments of generosity.

God wants us to use what he has given us to bless others. He graciously promises to bless us when we do.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, thank you for all the blessings you have given to me, especially the gift of eternal life through your Son Jesus. Help me to use the earthly things I have to bless others. In the name of your Son, Jesus, my Savior. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 25, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 24, 2014

Thu, Jul 24, 2014

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.

Proverbs 11:13


How many friendships have been destroyed by a juicy morsel of gossip mouthed in a moment of anger or mentioned because of envy? How many have become twice shy about sharing an intimate secret with an acquaintance or a family member because of a careless slip of the tongue, even if the motive wasn’t to hurt? On the other hand, how many have found their best friend to be the one who is able to keep secrets and to love them in spite of what they know? How many business people have held in high esteem those partners or employees who know how to keep quiet about what has been told them in private?

We know, especially if we’ve been burned by loose lips, how damaging the tongue can be. We also know, sometimes from experience, how rare and beautiful it is to find someone with whom we can be comfortable and confident to share anything. Is it any wonder that God includes damaging words of the tongue among those he forbids within his 10 Commandments? Martin Luther, who had tremendous insight into the Lord’s commands, wrote these words as explanation to the Eighth Commandment (You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor): “We should fear and love God that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him or give him a bad name….”

When we use our tongue in a way that betrays another’s confidence, we do more than disappoint, or potentially lose, a friend. When we let loose with some nugget of information (even if true!) that causes shame or disgrace, we break God’s command. Can you think of a time that has happened in your life? Perhaps it’s not a specific example, but you’re pretty sure you’ve let your tongue slip once or twice or many more times than that. As we hear proverbs like this one of Solomon, may God lead us to confess that we’ve sinned by the way we’ve used our tongue. And then may he lead us to look to Jesus. The perfect trustworthy man. The perfect confidant. The one who used his tongue only for the glory of God and always for the good of neighbor! That one who lived perfectly in our place then innocently went to the cross for every one of our slips, every one of our careless words and all of our malicious mud-slinging.

As followers of Jesus, desiring to thank and serve him, let’s strive to put this proverb of God’s truth into practice. What a blessing God can make us to others as we rein in our tongue! What a tremendous privilege to live our lives for others, using constraint as we talk about them and what they’ve shared with us! We live as trustworthy men and women with those we love and those with whom we work and worship, all in and through Jesus who strengthens us with his grace and guides us by his Word.

Prayer: 

Lord, forgive me for the times when I have used my tongue in a sinful way. I know in Jesus you have forgiven me. Restore any relationships that have been broken in my life because of sins of the tongue. Help me to glorify you and to serve my neighbor by the things I say…and the things I don’t. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 24, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Clone of Devotion - July 28, 2014

Wed, Jul 23, 2014

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30


The people to whom Jesus first spoke these words were very much like you and me. People who were looking. People who were searching. People who were tired.  Jesus was calling all those who were weary from trying to work out their own salvation, from trying to make themselves right with God, from trying to find their own way to heaven. He was inviting all those who were weighed down by the burden of vainly, fruitlessly striving for peace, contentment, and happiness in ways that didn't work and in places where it could not be found.

All these people could come to Jesus. He didn't put up any walls. He didn't play favorites. He didn't cater to people who acted a certain way, or dressed a certain way, or talked a certain way. There was no "in crowd" when it came to Jesus' invitation.

So Jesus' invitation is extended to us. It is extended to all of us, regardless of our age or upbringing, regardless of our background or past. Regardless of who we have been or where we have been, regardless of who we are or where we are, Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

"Learn from me," Jesus says. One thing we learn is that God can't accept us as we are by nature. His holiness and justice won't allow it. Our sins separate us from God. And the wages of sin is death—physical, spiritual and eternal death.

Another thing we learn is that God did everything necessary to make us acceptable to him. Because he is gentle and humble in heart, he gave himself for us, that we might have rest for our souls.

That means an end to the weariness of trying to work out our own salvation, of trying to make ourselves right with God, of trying to find our own way to heaven. It means an end to the burden of vainly, fruitlessly striving for peace, contentment, and happiness in ways that don't work and in places where it cannot be found. It means knowing you are a redeemed and forgiven child of God and an heir of eternal life. It means looking forward to perfect rest with Jesus in heaven.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, let me find rest in you today, and always. 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 - July 28, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 23, 2014

Wed, Jul 23, 2014

The prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.

Jeremiah 28:9


Although we look for and long for peace, it is not often found and short-lived when it is. Full-blown wars are waged across the globe. Minor skirmishes break out continually. Violence erupts in city streets. Domestic abuse comes to old and young and many in between. How great it would be to hear that right around the corner is an end of the fighting and an entrance of peace! Sadly, that’s not what God tells us to expect in our world. Hatred and hostility, not harmony and hand-holding, are the world’s hallmarks.

Why? Why is peace such a rare commodity? The simple answer is: sin. Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, their descendants in this world are in a wrecked relationship with God and each other. Sin that dwells in human hearts reveals itself in self-destructive acts of rebellion against God and his commands. Human hearts reveal their sinfulness in thoughts of jealousy and suspicion against fellow human beings. Wicked thoughts often lead to ugly words and malicious accusations. Greed and unbridled desire propel people to take action to sink the competition and gain ground for self. Is it any wonder that unchecked human beings who gain wealth and power will use them to gain even more, with little or no care for those they hurt in the process? Sin destroys peace…peace we long for on earth…but more devastatingly, peace with God!

The prophet Jeremiah, some 2600 years ago, recounted the accurate prophecies made against nations and people, all which came as a result of sin. Then, to a certain false prophet who was trying to raise the people’s hope for peace he said, “The prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.” Jeremiah was warning the people that the prophet who predicted peace for the nation of Israel was a liar.  How depressing!

But wait! Later in his rather long book of prophecy, Jeremiah himself spoke of peace (30:10, 46:27). He talked of a lasting peace which would bring ultimate security. And…his prediction came true! The Lord himself brought peace to human beings by sending his Son as the peace-maker. He came, not as one who demands that all lay down their arms, but to lay down his life as an offering for sin and sinners. Not coming to bark orders and demand that everyone treat each other nicely…or else, he came to bring about a divine cease-fire through his pure life, innocent death and resurrection from death. Those actions of Jesus Christ have been accepted by God himself as solution to sin and the terms of a truce between God and people, between God and you!

We shouldn’t expect to see an end of the fighting in this world. But, in Christ, there is peace that goes way deeper than that: peace with God through the forgiveness of sins! As you hold tight to Jesus in faith you have a divinely secured peace, which no one can take from you and that will last forever!

Prayer: 

Lord God, thank you for sending your Son to restore peace in my relationship with you. Help me to reflect that peace in the way I serve you and treat others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

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

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

Devotion - July 23, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 22, 2014

Tue, Jul 22, 2014

Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:1b-11


Sometimes we hear that we are forgiven and we still feel bad. When I was little and that happened to me, my dad would say, “Remember your baptism.” But I couldn’t remember it. When I got older, I realized that Dad meant, “Remember that you are baptized.”   

Baptism is not just simple water. It is water used by God’s command and connected to God’s Word. Baptism has great power. When people are baptized according to the command of God, they are connected to Christ. So what is true of Jesus Christ is also true of baptized people.

Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment for the sins of the world. Baptized people have their sins forgiven through faith in Jesus. They can count themselves dead to sin.

Jesus rose from the dead. Transcending time, God sees that baptized people have already risen from the dead. Baptized people live new lives in Christ. Their sins are forgiven and their deeds of love are the way that God works in the world. Baptized people can count themselves alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, when I hear that I am forgiven and I still feel bad, remind me that I am baptized, and keep me close to Jesus. 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 - July 22, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 21, 2014

Mon, Jul 21, 2014

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 10:37-39

Whom do you love?

These words of Jesus may be a bit difficult to comprehend, especially if you’ve ever held your own child in your arms. The love which parents, especially new parents, have for their child is something that can hardly be described. It’s overwhelming. It’s profound. Some find the greatest joy in these moments.

Something more…perhaps you’ve been there as your mother or father or sibling is passing away. You’re filled with another kind of profound love and care for them. It’s overwhelming and profound to a different degree, and yet it is still love.

Now, as you consider the words of Jesus once again, you have to ask yourself, “Is my love for my child, parent, sibling…greater than my love for Jesus?” If so, Jesus’ words cut deeply. In truth, we are breaking the very First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods,” if we are loving people more than we love Jesus. The results of this are eternally damning.

Let’s consider this from heaven’s eternal viewpoint. Everything we have is a gift from God–a gift that is best viewed “on loan.” Our parents are his. Our children are his. The material things we have are his, on loan to us for a time. If we love the gifts and not the giver of the gifts, we are idol worshippers and will lose our life.

Jesus had it all, and yet he gave it all up. He is the eternal Son of God who gave up the glory of heaven to come to this world where he died destitute–all because he loved God above all else. He truly is the only one who has earned the title “worthy.” Yet, by grace alone, through faith alone, he forgives our sins and calls us worthy! Whoever loves him and believes in him HAS eternal life.

What astonishing love Jesus has for us! What an amazing gift he has given to us! In love he gives us eternal life—a gift that far surpasses all material gifts. May his love lead us to love him above all else–always.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, help me to love you more and more each day. Thank you for all the gifts you have given me. 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 - July 21, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 18, 2014

Fri, Jul 18, 2014

Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Proverbs 11:4


If you’ve ever discovered a rabbit’s nest in the middle of your lawn, maybe you’ve wondered: why did that rabbit choose this spot? Even apart from an animal’s lack of reasoning power, you would think that her instincts would lead her to a safer place. Didn’t she consider how vulnerable she and her babies would be to predators? Didn’t she notice the humans living nearby?

We all need a place to go where we feel secure and at peace. We need a nest. So we work hard, like a rabbit digging a hole. We make money. We buy the things that our hearts desire. And we burrow in, thinking that all will be well. But when we stop and look around, we find that we are not in the safe and peaceful place we thought we would be. Wealth comes and goes. So does the happiness that it brings.

We all do it. We try to dig a permanent nest in a place where we will never find peace. This is worse than foolish. We are guilty of the sin of greed. This is serious because greed is idolatry. It is the worship of a false god called wealth. How easily we forget that a day is coming when we will meet our Maker!

Left to ourselves, we would never know where to find security and peace. So God dug a nest for us, where nothing can ever harm us. Jesus was righteous for us. His righteousness counts for us. His righteousness covers our greed and every other sin. In Jesus, we are safe. In Jesus, we have peace. No enemy can take that away from us. Not even death can harm us now.

All that digging….all that striving...all that chasing…what joy it is to know that Jesus has already given us all we need!

Prayer: 

Dear Lord Jesus, your righteousness covers my sin. In you, I am safe and at peace. I am home. Thank you! Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 18, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 17, 2014

Thu, Jul 17, 2014

The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.

Proverbs 11:1


“Honesty is the best policy,” it is said. God agrees! But dishonesty has been pervasive in the world ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin by listening to Satan’s lies. Jesus said of Satan, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 9:44). Throughout our lives, Satan tempts us to follow his lies to act and speak dishonestly.

Ask yourself: “What have I done or failed to do when it comes to being a person of integrity? Do I make good on my promises? Do I withhold information from others to cover up the way I’ve behaved? Do I lie to my parents or others in authority because I don’t want to disappoint them or be disciplined? Do I fudge on my tax return? Do I cheat people? Do I put in an honest day’s labor for my wages or do I slack off when the boss isn’t looking?
 
Any manner of dishonesty is displeasing to God: “The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” The LORD is the “God of truth” (Psalm 31:5) who “does not lie” (Titus 1:2). Jesus, true God, proclaimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus, who while on trial before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, declared unequivocally: “For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). 
 
Who will you listen to? Will you follow Satan’s deceptive lies which lead to death—eternal death in hell? Or will you listen to Jesus, the voice of Truth? Jesus invites you: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). “Come,” the voice of Truth beckons. Come to the foot of his cross and lay down the heavy burden of your sin, including the guilt of every deceitful action and dishonest word. Then rise up, renewed by his pardon, filled with his peace, and reassured that Jesus loves you unconditionally!”

Prayer: 

(Psalm 25:4-5):
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 17, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 16, 2014

Wed, Jul 16, 2014

I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. I hear many whispering, "Terror on every side! Report him! Let's report him!" All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, "Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him." But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten. O LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous and probe the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause. Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.

Jeremiah 20:7-13


The question is whether to be silent or to speak. When you see so much immorality and injustice in the world, do you gain anything by speaking up about it? The prophet Jeremiah wondered. The culture of his time was in steep decline. He wondered if he should say anything.

But the word of the Lord was in his heart like a fire, so he risked ridicule and was honest about what was right and wrong. He counted on the Lord to rescue him from the wicked. He counted on the Lord to send the Savior.

We sing and give praise to the Lord our Savior. His word is like a fire in our hearts, and so we speak what the Bible says is right and wrong, calling people to repentance, so that they can hear the wonderful message of forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus.

Prayer: 

Lord God, give me the opportunity and the courage to speak your word so that others can hear about the Savior from me. 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 - July 16, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 15, 2014

Tue, Jul 15, 2014

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned...But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

Romans 5:12,15

More Certain than Death

In a 1789 letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

A famous and often-quoted statement, but not entirely true.

Taxes cannot be said to be certain. Ruling authorities may or may not require the payment of taxes. And when taxes are required, they can be avoided—sometimes legally, sometimes illegally. There may be consequences, but they can be avoided.

Death, on the other hand, is certain; it’s unavoidable. The Bible tells us that death came to all people. That happened when the first man, Adam, sinned. The result for Adam was death, “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The result for us and all people is also death, for we are all born in Adam’s image—we are born sinful, and the wages of sin is still death.

Death reigns. People die. Benjamin Franklin got that right. Yet there is something more certain than death. What’s that? God’s grace and the gift that comes by his grace through Jesus. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

God’s grace to you is absolutely certain. It is embodied in the person of his Son. It is enacted through Jesus’ life. It is sealed in Jesus’ blood. It is guaranteed by his resurrection from the dead. And it is yours! By faith in Jesus the gift of eternal life is yours!

God’s gift of life through Jesus is more certain indeed! The Word of God says, “The gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”

Prayer: 

O Lord, thank you for your undeserved love and the gift that comes by your grace—the gift of life through Jesus. May I live today in confidence, knowing that death has been overcome and life reigns. Through Jesus, 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 - July 15, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 14, 2014

Mon, Jul 14, 2014

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Mathew 10:29-30

An Abiding Love

Does God really love me? Is he really concerned about my problems? Does he really hear my prayers? These questions tend to grow when the seeds of doubt and distress are planted, and when they are fully grown, they produce fear. I'm afraid when sickness comes. I'm afraid when problems arise. I'm even more afraid when death threatens. 

The answer to my doubts and fears is clear, but I may not always remember it. This is why I need to listen to God's promises, to trust his will for my life, and to rely on what God has done for me in Jesus.

A good starting point is when Jesus teaches his disciples about his abiding love. What is amazing is that he uses such a simple picture. Sparrows are plentiful, and they have seemingly little value. Still Jesus uses his Father's care for these tiny creatures as evidence of his abiding love. Think of it. Not one escapes God's loving oversight. Not one is uncounted. Not one is uncared for.

Jesus uses this picture to remind me how precious I am to God. He further adds that every hair on my head is numbered, and not one falls without his knowledge. This is the intimate assurance I need. There is no doubt Jesus has an abiding love for me, but if any doubt lingers still in my heart, then I go to his cross. There I see an even clearer display of his abiding love.

At the cross I see everything Jesus did for me. My guilt, my sorrow, my punishment–-all that was needed to free me from sin, death, and the devil–-Jesus endured in my place.  In his life, his death and his resurrection as my Substitute, Jesus displays his abiding love. Through faith I see his love is pure, limitless, and mine.

It is because of Jesus' abiding love that I can trust him and rely on his care. It is also why I don't have to be afraid.

Prayer: 

O blessed Jesus, how great is your mercy. How deep is your compassion. How amazing is your love. By means of your abiding love you rule over all things for my benefit. By the same love you also answer my doubts and remove my fears.  I rejoice in you, my Savior. 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 - July 14, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 11, 2014

Fri, Jul 11, 2014

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.

Proverbs 10:28

What do you hope for?

Remember hoping for that car? Perhaps it was months or years. Perhaps it was a new car, or maybe a classic muscle car. You researched all the online websites. You read up on the pros and cons and finally you made the purchase. It was a happy day, but the days that followed were not quite as happy. The expenses started to add up. No matter how much you babied it, you couldn’t stop the grocery cart from running into it, the hail storm from pelting it, or some of it parts from failing. Your high hopes were coming to nothing but frustrations.

This scenario holds true for every earthly thing we set our hearts on, because in the end, it will all come to nothing. The Bible tells us “the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:10). In the same way the hopes of the wicked, that is, the unbelievers, will come to nothing because their hopes are not in God. As a result they too will be destroyed.

For what do we hope? On what do our thoughts linger? Too often it’s the things of this world, isn’t it? We are led to believe that the new job with more money or new clothes or new electronics will bring us lasting happiness and joy. Those are simply Satan’s lies, lies that, in the end, will come to nothing.

Proverbs 10:28 tells us there is hope, hope for the righteous, hope that will bring lasting joy. Those who put their hope and trust in Jesus, who believe in him as their Lord and Savior from sin, have a truly joyful hope and prospect for this life and the life to come. Jesus is our most priceless treasure. Putting our hope in him and his promises gives us absolute assurance that our sins are forgiven and heaven is ours.

Certainly the Lord has given us many wonderful gifts, even worldly ones.  But let us not treasure them over and above Jesus, our most priceless treasure. Jesus alone is our Joy!

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, keep me from craving the things of this world and help me to keep Jesus as my most priceless treasure. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 11, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 10, 2014

Thu, Jul 10, 2014

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Proverbs 10:19

"Measure twice, cut once," is an old carpenter's adage. How well we would do to apply it not only to pieces of lumber but also to our words. Words spew out of our mouth without careful thought. Once spoken, words are even more difficult to repair than wood cut too short.

Angry words attack. Selfish words belittle. Gossip ruins reputations. Reflect on the words you have recently spoken. How many were aimed to hurt? How many tore others down? How many did you regret saying, wishing you could take them back?

What about a lie that's told and then more lies to cover up that lie? It snowballs. "When words are many, sin is not absent." How often do we color the truth to paint ourselves a little better than we are?

Do we drag God's name into our sinful words, adding to our guilt? Does his name become an interjection to express anger, frustration or surprise? Do we think others won't take us at our word unless we invoke God's name? How guilty we are!

Did Jesus ever misuse his words? Never, not even once. When sin needed to be confronted, Jesus certainly spoke stern words, but not in selfish anger. Even his harshest warnings came from a heart longing for his hearers to turn from their sin and be saved. And what tender words of invitation Jesus speaks to our hearts burdened by guilt and weighed down by sin! "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Rather than using our words to bargain with God or to try to convince him that we're not all that bad, let's hold our tongues and listen. Our own words condemn us. But Jesus' words cover all our evil words. His perfect life in word and deed counts for us. Faith hears Jesus' resurrection speaking the final word: "Dear sinner, you are freely justified. You're sins are fully forgiven."

May all our words harmonize in tune with Jesus' melody!

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, forgive my many words that fall short. As I close my mouth and listen to your word, let it fill my heart and overflow from my mouth. Lead me to speak your truth with humility and 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 - July 10, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 9, 2014

Wed, Jul 09, 2014

After the Israelites set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.

Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, "We will do everything the LORD has said."

Exodus 19:2-8a

One way to define the word "hypocrite" is to say one thing and then do another. Accordingly, we all have to admit that we are hypocrites because we have not fully followed through on every word we've spoken.

In the same way, we could call the Israelites hypocrites. They had just received God's word through Moses from the top of Mount Sinai. Just months earlier God had delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh as they passed safely through the Red Sea. They were ready to do whatever the LORD their God said. Their hearts of faith were burning in love, fear and awe for the LORD. The LORD rescued them from slavery in Egypt and was leading them to the Promised Land! Yet, so many times thereafter they showed themselves to be unfaithful to the LORD. They said one thing, but did another.

Like the Israelites, I know the LORD. I know the wonderful, gracious, merciful things God has done for me by sending his Son Jesus to be my Savior. I certainly don't deserve such compassion through Jesus who has freed me from slavery to sin, death, and the devil. On top of that he has given me the sure hope of the heavenly, eternal Promise Land. My heart of faith can't help but respond: "I will live for and serve my God! I will do whatever he tells me in his Word!"

The reality for you and for me is that while we are on this side of heaven, we all have a sinful selfish nature that seeks not what God wants, but what WE want. This sinful nature, this old evil self is why we continue to fall into sin, even when we've told God that we won't do that anymore. We must recognize this enemy within us so that we learn there is only one source of help and rescue: God our Savior.

In humility we daily return to the LORD, the God of free and faithful grace, and confess our many sins. We confidently trust Jesus whose blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We gladly listen to God who holds open the door to the Promised Land of heaven. Then we rightly respond and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, strive daily to live according to his Word.

Prayer: 

LORD, you alone know my many faults, sins and shortcomings. Forgive me, O LORD, and renew my spirit each day that I may live for you more and more. 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 - July 9, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 8, 2014

Tue, Jul 08, 2014

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

When God Chose to Love Us

Some years ago, actor Harrison Ford starred in a motion picture entitled, Regarding Henry. Ford portrays a man by the name of Henry Turner. Henry is a successful Manhattan lawyer. He is also callous, cruel, adulterous, unethical and self-absorbed. His toxic personality made life miserable for his wife and daughter. The family is on the verge of collapse.

Then, something happens. Henry walks into a convenience store just as a robbery is about to take place. Bullets fly. Henry gets shot in the head. The trauma he sustains is severe. He nearly dies.

Many months pass. After much rehabilitation, Henry is able to walk and talk and function as before. But his memory of life before the shooting is still unclear. As he works to fit back into his old life, he slowly learns from others what kind of a man he had once been. The Henry who exists after the shooting discovers that he wants nothing to do with the Henry who existed before the shooting. He becomes a devoted husband, a caring father, a principled lawyer, a faithful friend.

Here’s a question: For which man would you rather die to save…the Henry who existed before the shooting, or the Henry who exists after the shooting?

Today’s Bible verse tells us that Christ died for us “while we were still sinners.” At a time when hearts of people contained nothing but the bitter bile of sin, at a time when we were all about us and wanted nothing to do with God–-at that time God chose to become one of us, to take on himself the punishment for our toxic lives, to die on the cross to wash us clean.

That’s the kind of love God has for you in Jesus. It doesn’t depend on what you do for him. It doesn’t depend on what you did for him. God’s love for you in Jesus flows from himself.

That simple truth makes me want to be like the Henry who exists after the shooting. No doubt that simple truth makes you want to do the same.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, at a time when I was nothing but sin, you died for me. Now I’m yours by faith alone. Move me by your Spirit to live my life for 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 - July 8, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 7, 2014

Mon, Jul 07, 2014

When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

A Compassionate Savior

"My God needs to be loving." Fred was adamant in describing what God should be like. "He should answer all my prayers. He should accept me the way I am. Finally he should let me into heaven because I have been a good person."

There are many people who want God to fit this kind of description. They feel he should respond to their every whim and desire. They want him to overlook most, if not all of their infractions. They also assume he should open wide the doors of heaven because they have been good people. While this may be what many want, Jesus offers a different picture of what it means to be a compassionate Lord and Savior.

Jesus' compassion for all people was evident in the way he responded to them and their needs. He saw people "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." He, then, acted accordingly to relieve their needs. This is an important picture because it is still applicable. Instead of me, as one of the Lord's sheep, directing the shepherd to do what I demand, the shepherd is always there doing what is best for me.

In compassion Jesus knows me and my life. He knows my challenges. He knows my troubles. He even knows the burden of guilt I carry. In compassion he responds to these needs and more. While I may not always understand his answer, I can always trust it will be the best for me. I can be confident of this because, as my compassionate Savior, he laid down his life for me. He lived and died so that I could know his undeserved love and boundless compassion. There is no clearer evidence of Jesus' love than this: the shepherd giving up his life for a harassed, helpless and wandering sheep such as me. This is the precious assurance I need to put my trust in Jesus, to faithfully follow him as my Shepherd, and in all things to joyfully acknowledge he is my compassionate Savior.

Prayer: 

O dearest and compassionate Savior, I rejoice in your love for me. I also rejoice in your tender, loving care. Keep me as your own until I arrive in the heavenly home you have prepared for me. 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 - July 7, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 4, 2014

Fri, Jul 04, 2014

Moses said, "Now show me your glory." And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."

Exodus 33:18-20

God’s Goodness

July 4th! Will you go to see fireworks tonight? Sing some patriotic songs? Clearly we in the U.S. thank God for the blessings which he's poured out upon us and our country.  And yet we also groan because of so much wrong in our country, so much activity that opposes the unchanging word and holy will of God. So perhaps we would pray, like Moses did, "God, show us your glory!" 

God answered Moses by saying, "I'll show you my goodness." Not glory. Goodness. Why? Because sinful human beings would die if they were to see the perfect glory of God. 

Instead, God—who is Love—shows us his goodness. We see it most clearly in Jesus who went to the cross to pay for our sins. What a "good" God we have, who rescued us from our sins, even paying for them himself! 

And ultimately, that's what you and I—and our country—need to see. We need to see God's forgiving love. We need to hear that God loves us now, that God loves us forever.  We need to see that God is gracious, compassionate, forgiving. Seeing God's goodness leads us to appreciate all the more his greatness and his might. 

So, go ahead! Enjoy the fireworks, the patriotic songs. But all the more, enjoy the goodness of God! Appreciate his forgiveness, his compassion, his love. Those bring real fireworks, fireworks for the soul!

Prayer: 

(From “God Our Refuge” produced by the WELS Commission on Special Ministries):
Lord of the nations, I praise you for the precious inheritance of this great land.
I pray that I and my fellow citizens might ever remain mindful of your blessings and rejoice to do your will.
Bless our nation with God-fearing leaders, honorable industry and peace from our enemies.
Preserve us from violence of every kind, from discord and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every other evil.
Defend our liberties and unite us as one people. Grant wisdom and integrity to all who are entrusted with positions of authority that there may be justice and peace, law and order throughout our great land.
Equip and embolden your church on earth to make good use of the blessings you have granted by promoting your gospel in every village and city. In times of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness.
In times of trouble, do not allow our trust in your providence to fail. 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 - July 4, 2014 --Daily Devotion

Devotion - July 3, 2014

Thu, Jul 03, 2014

To fear the LORD is to hate evil.

Proverbs 8:13a


The small child trembled as her father held her. It wasn’t terror, dread, or fright. For even her young heart knew that Daddy would keep her safe. Such power pulsed through his hands! How could she not tremble in awe and amazement?

True to his promise, the Lord opened his hand to rescue sinners. The Father opened his hand and gave his one and only Son. Jesus opened his hand and was pierced by nails, pierced for our sins. The Holy Spirit opened his hand to bring us into God’s family, reborn through Baptism. Such powerful love pulses through the hands of the Lord!

How can faith not tremble in the presence of such greatness? How can the believing heart not bow in holy fear and reverent awe? The hands of the almighty God hold us, fragile creatures. The hands of the Lord have rescued us, broken sinners. This is the fear of the Lord.

Why would we not love what he loves and hate what he hates? Yes, the sinful flesh within us rebels against his love and clings to what’s evil. But the Lord who rescued us is still powerfully at work in us. Does this too not cause us to tremble in holy awe and reverent fear? The Lord is powerfully at work in his people whom he called to faith through Jesus, so that we hate evil and flee from it.

We don’t cower like a slave, who figures he had better shape up and do his best or the master will beat him. Rather, we truly want to imitate our Father who has loved us so dearly. We hate what he hates. This includes hating that sinful nature within us along with its evil desires and deeds. We daily drown it so that our new self shines out to live in the fear of the Lord, the fear that trembles in awe at the great things he has done for us and continues to do in us. For you see, someone much greater than our earthly father holds us in his hands.

Prayer: 

O Lord, I tremble at the greatness of your love. Keep working in me both to will and to act according to your good purpose. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 3, 2014 --Daily Devotion