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Dangerous Guest – February 21, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - 15 hours 46 mi

[Jesus said] “I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”
Matthew 5:22

Dangerous Guest
Daily Devotion – February 21, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 5:22
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200221dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Emory University conducted a study on the effects of holding a grudge. When you hold a grudge, that grudge can impact your physiology. For instance, a grudge can create problems for your immune system and metabolism. It can skew organ function. A grudge can elevate your blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. It can be a breeding ground for anxiety and depression. A separate study has even suggested that holding a grudge can contribute to Type 2 diabetes.

In short, holding a grudge is no good. As an article in Psychology Today says, “Holding a grudge is lighting ourselves on fire and expecting the other person to die of smoke inhalation.”

It’s one thing to tell ourselves not to hold a grudge. It’s quite another thing never to do it. The sad fact is that it doesn’t take much to hold a grudge. It doesn’t need to be like Captain Ahab screaming at Moby Dick. A grudge can be very quiet. It can hide behind a gracious smile. It can be a polite but stubborn resentment that just refuses to leave.

And this is when my soul can drift into a dark place. When I allow this polite but stubborn guest to remain in my heart, over time it can begin to poison me. It can begin to infect my view of others and pollute my outlook on life. Worst of all, it can begin to contaminate my appreciation for what Jesus Christ has done to forgive the likes of me.

That’s why the Lord Jesus speaks to our grudges with such urgency. They threaten our relationships with others, yes. But they also threaten our relationship with him.

Listen to Jesus. He’s calling us to repentance. Be washed clean of the grudges. Be cleansed in the blood from Jesus’ cross. Be filled with his Spirit. And be at peace.

Prayer:
My little resentments, Lord Jesus, are not so little. Forgive me. Refresh my love for others with your love for me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Temptations – February 20, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Thu, Feb 20, 2020

It is God’s will that you . . . avoid sexual immorality . . . God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
1 Thessalonians 4:3,7

Temptations
Daily Devotion – February 20, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:3,7
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200220dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Imagine the apostle Paul transports from the first century to the twenty-first century. It falls upon you to bring him up to speed on all the sexual temptations that face a Christian in the present day. You swallow hard, clear your throat, and then proceed. You try to be thorough and hold nothing back. When you are done, you await Paul’s reaction. You may be surprised to find that Paul is not rattled. In fact, he may even remark that in comparison to his own century, the temptations seem a bit mild.

The culture of Paul’s day had taken God’s wedding gift of sexuality and twisted and monetized it in virtually every way possible. In addition, the culture of Paul’s day was not particularly delicate with what was displayed for all to see.

This is helpful for us to keep in mind when we hear Paul speaking pretty pointedly to the Christians living in the Greek city of Thessalonica. He was well aware of the culture that surrounded them and the temptations they faced. Nevertheless, Paul did not flinch from telling them what God’s goodwill for them was. Paul concluded what he had to say by telling them, “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

No one needs to bring us up to speed on our own culture, of course. We know what surrounds us. We know the temptations and the ways we can stumble. And we know those ways are legion. But that’s why we have Jesus.

Are you troubled? Haunted? Burdened? Jesus came to this earth with you in mind. On your behalf, he lived a holy life. At the cross, he washed you clean. And now he lives. Be refreshed in his forgiveness and restored. And when you are, his Spirit will empower you to begin again. For as Paul says, “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for cleansing me in your blood. Empower me to live a holy life for you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

What Remains – February 19, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Wed, Feb 19, 2020

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom . . . but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
1 Corinthians 2:6

What Remains
Daily Devotion – February 19, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 2:6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200219dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The year is A.D. 55. You are standing in front of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is the Temple of Artemis, Goddess of Fertility. Everything about it is extravagant and massive. It dwarfs the Parthenon of Athens in terms of size. And it’s much more beautiful. Double rows of columns surround it―127 columns in all. Each column is sixty feet high and six feet thick, with intricate carvings and precious metals covering every single one. Pilgrims and tourists pour in from around the civilized world to see it. The famous and the powerful come to pay homage. Perhaps more than any other structure, the Temple of Artemis symbolizes the dominant culture and wisdom of the age.

Several blocks away a man is composing a letter. His name is Paul. He’s in the middle of a three-year stay in the area as he shares with others the good news of Jesus. As Paul writes, the sights and sounds and platitudes and presumptions that flow from the Temple are all around him. None of it seems to bother Paul, however. He understands that, while cultures and worldly wisdom will come and go, the message about Jesus Christ will remain. Sure, it might seem like foolishness to the rest of the world. But the good news about Jesus is the very wisdom of God. As such, it slices through the temporary and fleeting. It speaks to the heart of humanity’s problem. The message of God becoming a human being to carry the world’s sin to the cross is the only thing that will heal a world of broken souls. Paul knows this.

It is the present day. You are standing where the great Temple of Artemis once stood. It is now a swamp. Frogs croak in the background. A bird’s nest sits on top of the temple’s one remaining column. The wisdom of Artemis is gone. But the wisdom of God remains.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in the shifting shadows of this world, you are the answer. You are my answer. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Every Moment – February 18, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Tue, Feb 18, 2020

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, [King] David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army . . . But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 11:1

Every Moment
Daily Devotion – February 18, 2020

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 11:1
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200218dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In 2010, a report from the British Psychological Society came forward with a curious finding of human behavior. The finding revealed two things. On the one hand, researchers had discovered that people are better off when they avoid idleness. On the other hand, researchers had also discovered that a majority of people will gravitate towards idleness when given the means and opportunity to do so.

This should not surprise us. Our fallen, sinful natures have been pursuing self-destructive habits for a long, long time.

Which brings us to the worst episode in the life of Israel’s most famous king―King David. You can read the entire sorry mess in 2 Samuel chapter 11. David has an affair with a married woman. She becomes pregnant with his baby. To cover it up, David arranges for her husband to be killed in battle, after which David quickly marries his widow. Adultery. Murder. Cover-up. David’s dark behaviors tumble out one after another.

But God’s Word also records how it all started. It started when David chose to remain idle. Instead of devoting his time to leading his army, David decided to let someone else do the work so he could stay home. And it was in this moment, when David had too much time and too little to do―David’s eyes began to wander.

There’s a fierce warning here. Thanks to the overwhelming conveniences of twenty-first-century life, the temptation is greater than ever to be idle as David was when he chose to stay home. And when that happens, the door is wide open for our minds to wander into some very bad places.

But that’s why Jesus came. He came for David and for us. On our behalf, Jesus devoted every moment of his time to his heavenly Father. In our place, he suffered and died for all we’ve wasted. As a result, not only do we stand forgiven through faith in him but his Spirit now empowers us to engage our time to his glory. Idleness rules no more. Jesus has taken its place.

Prayer:
Forgive my idleness, Lord Jesus. Wash me clean. Restore my zeal to live every moment for you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

My Life – February 17, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Mon, Feb 17, 2020

The LORD is your life.
Deuteronomy 30:20

My Life
Daily Devotion – February 17, 2020

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 30:20
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200217dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

You are a young, adult male―nineteen years old. Through good coaching and hard work, your basketball skills have just given you a contract in the National Basketball Association. You are about to enter a world radically different from the world you have known. It will be different because this new world does not involve just basketball. This new world involves media, being a celebrity, agents, and sponsors. It involves threats to your privacy, constant travel, and suddenly possessing more money than you’ve ever seen before. And it involves all the temptations that go along with it.

It is for these reasons that the NBA insists that, before you enter this world, you get together with all the other rookies for four intensive days of listening and learning. In these four days, Hall-of-Fame players and other mentors sit down with you to impress upon you not only the things that matter but also warn about those things that can ruin your career and life.

When Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord was about to bring the people of Israel into their new home―the Promised Land of Canaan. Before he did, however, he gathered them together for some intensive days of listening and learning. This new land was prosperous and rich, a land “flowing with milk and honey.” But there was something else. It was also a land where they would face temptations and distractions―from the distractions of a prosperous life to the temptations of a pleasure-obsessed culture, to their own sinful tendency to lose focus. God knew how easy it would be for his people to forget what mattered. And so he reminded them, “The LORD is your life.”

God tells you and me the same thing. Your life rests in the One who created you. Your life rests in the One who went to the cross on your behalf, to wash you clean of your every wrong―including all the times we have turned our priorities into ugly chaos. Your life rests in the One who promises to guide even your dark and bitter moments for your good.

So, remember, the Lord is your life.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my life. Forgive my forgetfulness. Remind me of what matters. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Answer is Revealed – February 16, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Sun, Feb 16, 2020

It is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. . . . What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10,12

The Answer is Revealed
Daily Devotion – February 16, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 2:9-10,12
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200216dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“I don’t get it! I don’t understand!” As students in school or learners in life, we have all been there. A difficult math problem. A perplexing philosophical question. An irreconcilable relationship issue. Aren’t you grateful for the patient teacher, the caring classmate, or the wise parent who helps you? The light bulb goes on. The answer is revealed. “Ahh…now I get it! Now I understand!”

On our own, we are in the dark when it comes to understanding God and knowing how he operates. But God doesn’t want us to be in the dark. So, he reveals himself in the Bible. There, he shows us that we can’t do what he demands of us to win his love. We can’t do what it takes to be perfect like him so that we might live with him.

Then, the Spirit shows us what God has done for us in Jesus. Jesus lived and died for us to solve the problem that has no other solution. He won forgiveness for our failings. He rose from the dead to show his power over death and every other problem of life. He promises that he is with us in this world that he controls. And one day he will take those who trust in him to live with him in heaven.

The Spirit shows us the truths about God. The light bulb goes on. The answers are revealed. “Ahh…now I get it! Now I understand!”

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for sending your Spirit through your Word to show me your love in Jesus. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Light Will Speak For Itself – February 15, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Sat, Feb 15, 2020

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5

The Light Will Speak For Itself
Daily Devotion – February 15, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200215dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Benjamin Franklin was one of the most persuasive men of his time. Through a combination of carefully chosen words, good humor, and common sense, Franklin enjoyed great success when it came to winning people over to his point of view.

There was an episode, however, when Benjamin Franklin set his eloquence aside. His home city of Philadelphia did not have streetlamps. Franklin thought it should. But its residents were satisfied with dark streets. Franklin could have unleashed the power of his pen and worked to convince his fellow residents of the many benefits of streetlamps. Instead, he took a different approach. He simply set up a streetlamp outside of his own house. After sunset, the lamp’s light attracted the curiosity of his neighbors. Gradually, the word spread about how wonderful it was to walk near Mr. Franklin’s house at night without fear of stumbling in the dark. Soon the people of Philadelphia were persuaded. Streetlamps for the entire city quickly followed.

There are times when we have a habit of worrying ourselves into silence when it comes to telling someone about Jesus. We convince ourselves that we can convert someone to Christ through our own wisdom and winsome words.

But we can’t. Instead, we have something far better. We have the light of God’s Word. We have God’s promise that his Holy Spirit will work through the words we share about Jesus. By his power, not ours, souls will be persuaded of their need for a Savior from sin and that Jesus is that Savior. So, let the light of God’s Word shine in your life and watch as he uses it to save souls.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, as I tell others about their Savior, help me to trust in you and the power of your Word rather than in myself and my words. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Be Salt and Light – February 14, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Fri, Feb 14, 2020

[Jesus said] “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:13-20 (selected verses)

Be Salt and Light
Daily Devotion – February 14, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 5:13-20 (selected verses)
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200214dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Salt and light are essential for life.

Salt is essential for the proper function of nerves and muscles. It also plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and digestion of food. Without salt, the human body is at risk of heart failure.

The light of the sun is essential to life on earth. The sun controls the changing seasons and weather. The sun generates energy in plants that supply the earth with oxygen. Without the light of the sun, the world would be a lifeless ball of ice-covered rock.

Jesus says that his followers are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. They are not essential for the physical preservation of the world. They are essential for the spiritual preservation of the world.

Jesus’ followers know that Jesus paid for their sins when he died on the cross and that he gave them eternal life when he rose from the grave on Easter morning. They are so thrilled to know these things that they demonstrate God’s love as they interact with the people of this world. This is what Jesus meant when he said that his followers are the salt and light of the world. The people of this world need to know the true God and all he has done for them. God uses Jesus’ followers to tell them.

What an awesome opportunity! What an awesome privilege!

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Supplement – 771)
Heavenly Father, I want to walk as a child of the light; I want to follow Jesus. You set the stars to give light to the world, the star of my life is Jesus. Grant me a heart like his, that all may be drawn by me to you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Live as Light in the World – February 13, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Thu, Feb 13, 2020

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

Live as Light in the World
Daily Devotion – February 13, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:9
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200213dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Businesses spent over five million dollars for a 30-second commercial at this year’s Super Bowl. They reached 100 million viewers. Despite that far-reaching audience, analysts say that the best advertising is still personal endorsement.

Like Super Bowl ads, the Bible has a global reach. It is the most circulated book in the world. Yet, those who need it most won’t read it. They will, however, read you. In fact, it was to this that God called you.

Once you were lost, but God sent Jesus to seek you out. You were an outsider, but God made you family through faith in his Son. You were just another face in the crowd, but by his Spirit God set you apart. You were second-rate, but clothed in Christ, you are God’s gem.

As his special treasure, God puts you on display. God wants those outside his kingdom to see the night-and-day difference he made in your life. His hope is that the world takes notice of your joy in Jesus.

Let the world see the wonders that God has done for you. Show them that God has given you a place in his family by living as a stranger in this world. Show them that you have a permanent home in heaven by not getting too cozy here. Show them you are looking forward to eternal pleasures by not giving in to fleeting moments of sinful pleasure. Let them see God’s goodness to you by living honorably among the natives of this world.

By God’s power, when they see and hear your personal endorsement of God’s mercy, you may win over their hearts for the Lord.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 471)
Renew me, O eternal Light, and let my heart and soul be bright, illumined with the light of grace that issues from your holy face. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Someone who will Never Disappoint – February 12, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Wed, Feb 12, 2020

When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified . . . so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:1,2,5

Someone who will Never Disappoint
Daily Devotion – February 12, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 2:1,2,5
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200212dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

No one likes to be let down. No one likes to be disappointed, especially when the one disappointing us is someone we respect and trust. The problem is, eventually everyone we admire will disappoint us in one way or another. The parent who seemed perfect while you were a child suddenly reveals flaws as you grow older and wiser. The professor who seemed to know it all when you were in school turns out to have made mistakes. No matter whom we admire or how much we admire them, eventually, they will let us down.

The apostle Paul knew this. He knew it about himself. He was a sinful man just like every other man. And he knew there was a danger that the people who heard him preach and teach might make too much of him. They might equate the validity of his message with the reliability of his person. And if they did, they might abandon his message when he let them down.

So, he told them not to make that mistake. He reminded them that the validity of his message was not dependent on his personality or power of persuasion. His message was valid because it was true. And his message was powerful because God made it so.

Christians today are in danger of making the same mistake as the first-century Christians to whom Paul gave this warning. We can put our trust in the people who tell us about Jesus rather than in the message about Jesus.

Thankfully, the forgiveness of our sins and hope of heaven does not rely on the people who preach to us about it. It relies on the cross of Christ–where he shed his blood to pay for the sins that separated us from our God. It is an accomplished fact.

No matter how often other people disappoint us, Jesus never has and never will.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 387)
Drawn to the cross, which you have blessed with healing gifts for souls distressed, to find in you my life, my rest, Christ crucified, I come. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Serve the Lord – February 11, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Joshua 24:15,16

Serve the Lord
Daily Devotion – February 11, 2020

Devotion based on Joshua 24:15,16
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200211dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

If you read a good book, there is some excitement when you reach the end of a chapter. What will happen next? When you finish a chapter in your life, there can be some uncertainty. What will you do next?

Joshua was near the end of his earthly life. Joshua was the man God chose to lead the nation of Israel into the Promised Land of Canaan. Before his death, Joshua gave a farewell address to the people. He said, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”

“Whom will I serve?” That’s an important question for you to ask yourself. Not just at the end of some season in your life. Every morning is a new chapter. You may plan ahead of time that today you will go here and do that. But before you do anything, dedicate yourself to serving the Lord in everything.

Why would you do such a thing? Just remember what the Lord, in his grace, has done for you. Jesus has delivered you from slavery to sin and has given you a place in his family. Amid life’s changes, he is always your rock. And at the end of your life, he will lead you safely through death to the eternal Promised Land of heaven.

There is blessing in serving the Lord in everything. Throw away the idols that you served yesterday because they cannot save you. Turn your heart to the Lord who alone satisfies your desires. Pray for courage. And let the world see, by humble acts of kindness, the choice of your heart.

Say along with Joshua, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Prayer: (adapted from the hymn, Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
Lord Jesus Christ, I confess your holy name. Help me to cast every idol from its throne. Give me courage to show the world that you, with Father and Holy Spirit, are God alone. To you all praise and glory. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Finding God – February 10, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Mon, Feb 10, 2020

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: . . . to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
Isaiah 58:6-9

Finding God
Daily Devotion – February 10, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 58:6-9
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200210dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“I’m showing God how sorry I am for my sins, but God isn’t noticing.”

“I’m doing all kinds of good, but God isn’t reciprocating.”

“I keep praying, but God isn’t listening.”

“Where is God?”

It’s natural for us to say such things when the going gets tough. We expect that if we do good and work hard, good will come back to us. We assume that God should work the same way. If I do what God commands of me, God should reward me. That’s just fair.

But that’s not the way God works. God is not good and merciful to us because we are good toward him or merciful to others. He is good to us because he is good. He gives us what we don’t deserve. He gives forgiveness, daily bread, and eternal life through faith in Jesus who lived, died, and rose again for us.

What does God want? He wants hearts that humbly admit and turn from sin. He wants faith that joyfully trusts in and turns to Jesus for forgiveness. He wants lives that respond to his grace with thanks by serving others with sincerity.

Where is God? You will find him where he has promised always to be—in his Word recorded in the Bible. Make God’s Word your delight and he will satisfy the desires of your heart.

Prayer:
Jesus, Savior, wash away all that I’ve done wrong today. Make me ever more like you, good and gentle, kind and true. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

A City on a Hill – February 9, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Sun, Feb 09, 2020

[Jesus said] “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Matthew 5:14

A City on a Hill
Daily Devotion – February 9, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 5:14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200209dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The Sea of Galilee sits down in a “bowl,” with ridges rising all around it. Jesus was on one of those hillsides when he said, “A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” On the top of one of those ridges is a city called Safed. It’s thought that Safed was the city to which Jesus was referring in this passage. When you’re near the Sea of Galilee, you can see Safed for miles and miles.

Now put yourself into the shoes of the ancient fishermen, out on the lake and fishing all night. You don’t have much light, particularly if it’s a moonless night. How do you know where you are? Safed—that city on a hill—was your beacon! And most interestingly, Safed was almost in line with the location of the ancient fishing pier. In other words, if you can see Safed you can get home.

The real home for us humans isn’t here, it’s in heaven. Jesus won that home for each of us by dying and rising. His death paid for sins; his resurrection proved that sins were paid for, in full.

And yet many are wandering around in spiritual “darkness,” not knowing Jesus and what he’s done for them. How will they get “home”?

God very well may work through you and me! Jesus calls his followers “the light of the world.” As people see us being kind, compassionate, forgiving, honest, fair, humble, confident, etc., they get a chance to “see” Jesus’ love in action. That, in turn, may open up a chance for us to tell someone about Jesus.

And that may be the time when God works faith in that person’s heart, putting them on the road … to their heavenly home.

Prayer:
Jesus, forgive me for failing to let my light of faith shine as clearly as it should. Often my light is shrouded by sin. Forgive me! Use me to shine brightly, that others might come to know your love, and finally be brought home with you in heaven. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Our Delight – February 8, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Sat, Feb 08, 2020

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
Psalm 1:1,2

Our Delight
Daily Devotion – February 8, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 1:1,2
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200208dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What delights you? A hot fudge sundae covered with caramelized pecans? A romantic candlelight dinner at a favorite restaurant with the one you love? Time in the outdoors away from the hectic pace of your daily life? A weekend at the spa, being pampered? An offer from your mom to watch the kids, while you and your spouse get away for some needed R & R?

I suppose everyone’s list would be different. But check your list carefully. Maybe something is missing, something vitally important, something that is truly satisfying, something that delights the heart of those who give attention to it, something you have let slip lately.

Psalm 1 contrasts the path of the wrong way of living, and the path of God’s right way of living. When we follow the second path, our “delight” is in the Word of God. The Word of God delights God’s people because it not only exposes our failings and reveals our great spiritual need, but it delivers God’s free solution for sin—complete forgiveness! In the light of God’s unfailing love for sinners, we look to God’s commands not as a hopeless measure that cannot be met, but as a way to show our love to Jesus who kept the Law perfectly in our place.

Don’t daydream today about the things you “think” will give delight to your heart. Spend time on that which will. The eternal lover of your soul has promised that if you “delight yourself in the LORD, he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). The details are found in his Word!

Prayer:
Loving Lord, create in me a desire to spend time with and meditate on your Word and grant me the joy and satisfaction only it can provide. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Go Ahead and Boast – February 7, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Fri, Feb 07, 2020

Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:31

Go Ahead and Boast
Daily Devotion – February 7, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:31
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200207dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Boasting is frowned upon in polite society. No one likes a braggart. Jesus himself once warned that “all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:14). Eventually, boasting will come back to bite you.

So where does the Apostle Paul get off telling God’s people to boast? Well, you’ll notice that he isn’t suggesting that they boast about themselves or their accomplishments. Hardly. Instead, he paraphrases the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah and declares, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

What does it mean to “boast in the Lord”? It means telling others what a wonderful Savior Jesus is. Like writing a glowing, online review about some product we’ve recently discovered and love, Paul is urging God’s people to let others know what they’ve found out about Jesus.

And what’s so great about Jesus? Well, has the world ever known anyone more powerful than the very Creator of the universe? No. Has the world ever seen anyone more compassionate than the One who gave sight to the blind and made the lame walk? No. Has the world ever experienced the kind of self-sacrificing love that Jesus demonstrated not just for some, but all people? Never. Has the world ever witnessed anyone else who’s been raised from the dead never to die again, only to promise us, “Because I live, you too shall live”? Absolutely not! Jesus is a one-of-a-kind gift given by a merciful Father in heaven to every one of us. Through him, we sinners have God’s perfect forgiveness and the certainty of eternal life. That’s something special, unique, amazing, and completely undeserved. God saw nothing in us that prompted him to give us such a gift but he gave it anyway because God is love. He can’t help himself. He loves you.

So, go ahead. Boast! Boast in the Lord.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me see what a wonderful and perfect Savior you are, and inspire me to boast about you and your love alone, now and forever. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Being Something You Are Not – February 6, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Thu, Feb 06, 2020

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
1 Corinthians 1:30

Being Something You Are Not
Daily Devotion – February 6, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:30
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200206dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I was never going to be an NBA center. Though I’m tall by average standards, I would appear tiny standing next to a seven-footer. Worse than that, I’m not good at basketball. Even though people probably told me as a child, “You can be whatever you want to be,” I was never going to be an NBA center, no matter how much I wanted it.

You can’t be something you’re not, right? If you’re bashful, it’s hard to be outgoing. If you’re outgoing, it’s hard to keep your mouth shut. We’re all created and wired in our own special way. We all have unique gifts and interests. It’s nearly impossible to be something you’re not.

And yet that’s exactly what Jesus has done for us. He’s made us something we’re not. He’s made us sinners righteous, perfect, and holy in our heavenly Father’s sight, even though we’re not. We could never have become perfect and sinless by ourselves. No combination of our time and effort could have ever gotten over the finish line. But what was impossible for us sinners has been done by Jesus, and through faith in him, his perfection is ours. Yes, as St. Paul writes, Jesus “has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”

Martin Luther called it the Great Exchange, this trading places that we sinners do with the sinless Son of God. He marveled endlessly at this amazing reality. “Lord Jesus,” he once wrote, “you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and given me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not.”

The way Jesus saves sinners is both simple and profound. He takes on himself what is ours—sin and death—and gives us what is his—perfection and life. We could have never done it ourselves in a million lifetimes, but Jesus has done it for all. He has made us something we’re not.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me marvel in the fact that by your death and resurrection you have made me what I am not—perfect. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Making Something Out of Nothing – February 5, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Wed, Feb 05, 2020

God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:28,29

Making Something Out of Nothing
Daily Devotion – February 5, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:28,29
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200205dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What do you do when life hands you a bunch of lemons? You make lemonade.

That common saying is supposed to teach us that when our plans or expectations sour, we should make the best of what we have. Just add a little sugar, and everything will turn out fine.

Is that what God did with our broken and sinful world? Did he simply squeeze the lemons that we sinners are by nature, add a little divine sugar, and make it all better? Not really, because sinners are not just sour lemons. They are rotten ones that should be thrown out altogether. No amount of sugar or any other additive could ever solve the problem.

So what did God do instead? He made something altogether new out of nothing. He powerfully spoke a new reality into existence. Just as he did when he first created the things of this world by declaring them to be, God has now spoken his powerful Word over a sinful world, declaring each one of us to be perfect in his sight. We were nothing, but by his creative Word, he made something out of nothing.

That was no accident or afterthought. It was all according to plan. As our Bible reading for today says, “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are.” In other words, it wasn’t as if God carefully picked through the lemon pile to select the very best ones to make the most of an otherwise lost cause. No, he bought up the whole worthless lot. And what was the purchase price? Not gold or silver, but the holy, precious blood and the innocent sufferings and death of his Son, Jesus.

And then God did something amazing. For Jesus’ sake, he declared us sinners perfectly sweet and sinless, as only he could. He made something out of nothing.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, give me confidence that, though I am sinful, you have declared me innocent for Jesus’ sake. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

God Chooses the Opposite – February 4, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Tue, Feb 04, 2020

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
1 Corinthians 1:27

God Chooses the Opposite
Daily Devotion – February 4, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:27
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200204dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When I dish out ice cream for my two children at the same time, I very purposefully put more in one bowl than I do the other. It’s an experiment. Which bowl will the first-comer choose, the one with more ice cream or less?

So far, I’ve been able to predict the outcome with pinpoint precision. The first to choose always chooses more ice cream. Always. Go figure!

What accounts for this unfailing phenomenon? I think you already know. It’s not random, and it’s certainly no accident. Like their father, my children are sinful and self-concerned, so it’s natural for them to want more of something good than their neighbor. Of course, we sinners want more than the other person. If given the choice, we almost always choose the most, the best, the brightest, the strongest, the most attractive.

How different we are from our holy and perfect God! St. Paul tells us that God is just the opposite. When it comes to God choosing things in this world—especially people—he chooses the opposite of what we would naturally choose. “God chose the foolish things of the world,” Paul declares. “God chose the weak things of the world.”

Is God just being difficult, bucking the trend? No, he’s trying to teach us the important lesson that what we judge to be important and best often isn’t important or best at all. Our sinful hearts and minds attempt to convince us otherwise, but God puts his foot down by choosing the foolish things “to shame the wise” and choosing the weak things “to shame the strong.”

We see this most clearly in the way that God chose to save us from our sins. He sent his Son, Jesus, who had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, to die an awful death on a cross as our substitute. The cross seems foolish and weak to our eyes, but through faith, we see the opposite, the wisdom and power of God’s love for us sinners shining brightly.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to see and understand the wisdom and power of your choices and Jesus’ cross. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Your Worth – February 3, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Mon, Feb 03, 2020

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
1 Corinthians 1:26

Your Worth
Daily Devotion – February 3, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:26
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200203dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Like me, you’re probably not often asked, “How much are you worth?” Unless you roll with the Bill Gates of the world, your wealth is not wrapped up in your stock portfolio. Instead, it may be no greater than next week’s paycheck. Like Old Man Potter once mused about George Bailey in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” we may even be worth more dead than alive.

The people to whom St. Paul was writing in his letter to the Corinthians were apparently in the same boat. They weren’t worth much in the eyes of the world. They weren’t movers and shakers. They had never gotten—nor could they ever expect—their fifteen minutes of fame. “Not many of you were wise by human standards,” Paul reminded them. “Not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.”

We naturally wish it was different. Regardless of how big our house is, we wonder what it would be like to live as the rich and famous do. Little girls dream about being princesses, and little boys knights in shining armor. We want to be a somebody, but so often we feel like a nobody. We seem to be nothing. Regardless of how much we might have, we still feel worthless.

And that’s only when we’re comparing ourselves to other human beings. Consider comparing yourself to our holy and perfect God! If God is the measuring stick for judging our worth and worthiness, then where does that leave us? Doubly worthless!

If that’s the way you feel about yourself, good. At least you’re being honest about yourself. More than that, though, you’re exactly the kind of person that Jesus chooses to save and bless eternally.

Jesus once told a story about one self-important man who boasted about his worth and another man who couldn’t help but confess his worthlessness before God (Luke 18:9-14). The second man, Jesus concluded, was the one worth imitating. He was the one who was saved from his sins because he was the one who knew he needed saving.

What are you worth to Jesus? Everything!

Prayer:
Jesus, help me understand how much you value me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Love Like the Lord – February 2, 2020

WELS Daily Devotions - Sun, Feb 02, 2020

[Jesus said] “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous . . . Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:43-45,48

Love Like the Lord
Daily Devotion – February 2, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 5:43-45,48
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200202dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Sometimes the words of the Bible make you cringe. Sometimes they make you crinkle your brow in confusion. Sometimes they seem so wrong. Love your enemies? What a crazy concept! “Love the ex-spouse who hurt me? Love the co-worker who ruined my reputation? Love the family member who took advantage of me? No! I want to make them pay for what they did. I want to hurt them for the way they hurt me. It just makes more sense.”

It makes sense to my sinful nature. But it is not God’s nature. He sends blessings even on those who thumb their noses at him. He sacrificed his own Son to save those who sinned against him again and again—people like you and me. Our Father PERFECTLY loves us—although we have not perfectly loved others.

If we want to be like our Father in heaven then we will love even our enemies. We will forgive the spouse who hurt us. We will be kind to the co-worker who ruined our reputation. We will pray for the family member who took advantage of us. After all, they need love and forgiveness just like we do.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for loving me perfectly. Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me when I was unlovable. Dear Holy Spirit, create in me a perfect love for others, even my enemies. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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