WELS Daily Devotions

Safe in His Care – July 9, 2020

15 hours 57 mi

[Jesus said] “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Matthew 10:29-31

Safe in His Care
Daily Devotion – July 9, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:29-31
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200709dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

My wife and I love a good deal. Those big signs above the clearance racks or those special tags on marked down food on the shelf draw us in. Resale shops and websites give us the chance to save money but still have what we need or want. Those things may not be worth much to those selling them, but they are to us.

Do you ever feel like you are on the clearance rack of this world? Cast aside as unwanted. Thrown in a box with clothes that are out of style and toys that the kids don’t play with anymore. Marked down in price or piled on the curb for the garbage truck to haul away.

If we trust in Jesus, other people might view us and treat us that way—like worthless trash. But it shouldn’t really surprise us. That’s how they treated Jesus. To many, he was worthless. They wanted to get rid of him as quickly as they could. And so they killed him.

But God hadn’t forgotten Jesus, his Son. And he won’t forget you. What could be more precious to God than his own perfect Son? And yet, he loved you so much that he willingly gave up his own Son for you. He let his Son bleed and die to forgive every imperfection in your life that makes you unworthy of his love. God put a price on your soul that only he could afford to pay, and then he paid that price willingly.

The truth is, God cares about everything he made, even the smallest sparrows. But you have even more proof of his love. For you, God gave up his own Son. For you, God paid with his own life. And so, you know that he will always love you. He will always care for you. The world may toss you aside as worthless, but your God never will. You are safe in your Father’s care.

Prayer:
Father, when I feel worthless and unwanted, comfort me with your priceless love and perfect care. 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.

Shout It From the Rooftops – July 8, 2020

Wed, Jul 08, 2020

[Jesus said] “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”
Matthew 10:27

Shout It From the Rooftops
Daily Devotion – July 8, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:27
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200708dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Can you keep a secret?

Often, when people trust us with important information, they don’t want us to tell anyone else. Sharing their secrets would violate their trust. Sharing their secrets might cause harm to them or others.

But what if you knew a secret that could help a lot of people? If you knew the cure for cancer—or this year, the cure for the coronavirus, COVID-19—wouldn’t you want everyone to know about it?

The Bible tells us a secret that can do more than stop a pandemic. It tells us the secret to eternal life. Eternal life comes because of a man named Jesus who was not just a man, but the Son of God. It tells us how Jesus did nothing wrong. He only showed perfect love. He only spoke perfect truth. And yet he was opposed, ridiculed, arrested, put on trial, and killed. But he rose again.

Jesus promises that, when he died an innocent death, he accepted the death penalty that we deserve for our disobedience. Jesus promises that, because he came back from the dead, death will not hold us either. After we die, Jesus will raise us from the dead. And all who know him as their Savior will live with him forever.

It’s no secret. But there are many who want us to act like it is. They tell us to keep it to ourselves. They tell us Jesus isn’t for everyone. But Jesus tells us otherwise. He loved us enough to die for us. He rose from the dead and lives again. He did it for you, for me, for everyone. And he wants everyone to know about it.

That’s why we share these devotions with you. We want you to know what we know. And we want you to share with others the good news you’ve heard. Speak it. Share it. Shout it from the rooftops!

Prayer:
Jesus, living Savior, you let me in on the secret that you came to die and rise again for me. Give me faith to believe it and the courage to share the good news! 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.

From One to All – July 7, 2020

Tue, Jul 07, 2020

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 5:15

From One to All
Daily Devotion – July 7, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200707dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Now you’ve ruined it for everyone.” One student breaks the rules, and the whole class has to stay in from recess. One sibling is careless, and now no one can play with the broken toy.

One trespass. One act of disobedience. That’s all it took. There were only two people in the world at the time—Adam and his wife Eve. God gave them one command: “Don’t eat the fruit from that one tree. If you do, you will surely die.”

They didn’t listen. They thought they knew better. They disobeyed. From that moment on, they were no longer able to obey God’s commands. They deserved God’s wrath. Eventually, they would face physical death. And unless something was done about it, eternal punishment in hell would follow. And every one of their descendants inherited their disobedient spirit and the deadly consequences that come with it. And that includes you and me.

But something was done about it. We can’t make up for the wrong we do—not before God. But God gave us something we didn’t deserve. He gave us a gift—the gift of his own Son. Jesus, God’s Son, undid the devastating effects of Adam’s disobedience and our disobedience that followed.

Jesus took the blame for Adam’s disobedience and ours. Jesus accepted the consequences for every act, word, and thought that fails to meet God’s demands. And he made right what was oh so wrong.

Because Jesus was the perfect Son of God, the price he paid with his life was enough to count for everyone—for Adam and all of his descendants, for you and for me.

Adam ruined it, but so do we whenever we disobey God’s commands. But Jesus fixed it. He removes every wrong we’ve done and replaces it with the right things he did. He accepts our death and gives us his life.

Now, something far better than recess time or a favorite toy is ours. Now, we get to live forever as forgiven children of God surrounded by God’s love.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in overflowing love, you sent your Son to undo what my sins have done. For this I praise and thank 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.

Hope on Trial – July 6, 2020

Mon, Jul 06, 2020

I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.
Acts 23:6

Hope on Trial
Daily Devotion – July 6, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 23:6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200706dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The criminal justice system is meant to punish those who do wrong and protect those who do right. When it works properly, it provides peace and order in society. It preserves rights and freedoms.

But it doesn’t always work properly. Personal and political agendas interfere. Corruption conceals evidence and clouds judgment.

That is what was happening in the first century. The apostle Paul, a pastor and missionary, had been arrested. A mob of Jewish patriots wanted him dead. They accused him of opposing traditions and inciting riots.

But what they were really against was not Paul himself but the one he believed in. The one in whom he put his hope. The one whose life and death and resurrection was the heart of the message he proclaimed.

If you are a Christian, you may sometimes feel like you are being put on trial for your faith. The Bible claims truths that the world denies. Christians are ridiculed for believing things that the world calls outdated and out of touch.

But at the heart of it all is Jesus. Jesus was not just a moral teacher. He was the one who perfectly fulfilled God’s perfect moral code. Jesus was not just an innocent victim of a corrupt society. He was the one who willingly suffered death for crimes he didn’t commit. But the most surprising and unbelievable thing that happened to Jesus was that he didn’t stay dead. He came back to life.

As soon as it happened, people denied it. They tried to cover it up. But they couldn’t change the truth. Jesus was alive. His mission was complete. His death accomplished the impossible. It put an end to death once and for all. Those who trust that Jesus died in their place have eternal life, no strings attached. When Jesus comes again, they will rise from the dead to live with him.

It sounds crazy. It sounds foolish. Many in the world will mock those who believe it. But it’s true. Jesus lives! And so will we. And because of that, we have hope. Eternal hope that no trial can take away.

Prayer:
Risen Jesus, when my faith and the truth are on trial before the world, help me to cling to the hope your resurrection gives 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.

More Certain Than Death – July 5, 2020

Sun, Jul 05, 2020

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 5:15

More Certain Than Death
Daily Devotion – July 5, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200705dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

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 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 else that is certain. 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!

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.

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.

Real Freedom – July 4, 2020

Sat, Jul 04, 2020

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Real Freedom
Daily Devotion – July 4, 2020

Devotion based on Galatians 5:1
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200704dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Today, citizens of the United States of America celebrate freedom. The Fourth of July is Independence Day—the day which marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Freedom is a blessing we hold dear and defend boldly. Our nation’s armed forces are of one mind, that protecting our freedom is worth dying for. We are what our national anthem proudly proclaims: “the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

But are we really free? Whoever we are and wherever we live, are we free from what really matters? On our own we are not free; all people are very much slaves. We find ourselves to be slaves to sin, and on our own, we cannot break its shackles. We are slaves to our sinful nature and cannot live a day, an hour, even a minute without our sinful nature rearing its ugly head. Thoughts that pass through our heads, words that come flowing from our mouths, self-serving deeds that we scheme to carry out—they all show our true nature. They all show just how much we are slaves to sin.

Thankfully, Jesus broke the shackles of sin and Satan. Jesus has forgiven those sinful thoughts of our minds, the devious actions from our hearts, the careless and hate-filled words that we speak. He forgives us because he lived up to God’s sinless standard for us. Then Jesus willingly and lovingly allowed the punishment we deserved to be placed on him. On the cross, Jesus endured our death and hell. When he burst forth from Easter’s tomb, he shattered the chains of sin and death.

In Jesus, we have eternal life with God. That’s something that no power on earth or scheme of man can ever take away. That’s real freedom!

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for the real and true freedom that you give me in Jesus. Thank you for the blessings that I enjoy and the freedom to worship you. Keep safe those who celebrate this weekend and help me to never forget that real, lasting, eternal freedom is mine in your name. Amen.

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

Messengers – July 3, 2020

Fri, Jul 03, 2020

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Matthew 10:1

Messengers
Daily Devotion – July 3, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:1
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200703dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson—ever heard any of those names before? Most likely. Not only are they some of the NBA’s best, but they also played together on the 1992 Men’s Olympic basketball team. When NBA players were given the green light to play in the Olympics, the players selected were professional basketball’s best scorer, best passer, best defender, best shooter, and best rebounder. They were known as the Dream Team.

You would think, with so much hanging in the balance, that Jesus would have assembled a “dream team” of disciples. This was a one of a kind moment in history. God had come to save the world. And his gospel would need to go out from there across hundreds of nations, over thousands of years, to billions of people.

But Jesus didn’t put together the dream team. How surprising, how unexpected! Instead, he called people to be his disciples who didn’t always “get it” and didn’t always have all the answers. Jesus called people with emotional baggage, character flaws, checkered pasts, confidence issues, and family drama. He had come not to call the healthy but the sick. And he started by calling these disciples.

Perhaps it’s obvious how much the disciples he called to follow him have in common with the people he calls to follow him today. A dream team of disciples we are not. That’s not denying that God’s people indeed have a variety of gifts and talents. What it is saying is that we don’t have to be supermen or superwomen to be useful in God’s kingdom.

Our names won’t find their way into any history books, most likely. They probably won’t mean much to people who live 100 years from now. But we can make a big difference in the lives of the people around us right now as Jesus works through us in their lives. So we follow him as the disciples did—learning from him, caring like him, serving for him. Superstars? Not at all. We’re just happy to be on the team.

Prayer:
What a privilege it is to be called your disciples, Lord Jesus. Bless me in my service! 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.

In Its Boastfulness – July 2, 2020

Thu, Jul 02, 2020

Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:11

In Its Boastfulness
Daily Devotion – July 2, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:11
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200702dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Honesty, empathy, maturity, sense of humor. If you google “ideal qualities in a partner” those are some of the results that come up. Boastfulness is nowhere to be found on the list. And that’s no surprise. A boastful person is not a person people like to be around—because they want to call attention to themselves, to their accomplishments, to what they consider to be their admirable qualities.

In Romans 5, Paul says that boasting is what God’s people do. How surprising, how unexpected! But as you might suspect, this is not referring to the type of boasting we usually witness. Typical boasting calls attention to the boaster. Christians, in their boasting, call attention to God, to his accomplishments, to his admirable qualities. We boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

But there’s a secondary, supplemental surprise in this verse. It’s not just that Christians are encouraged to boast. It’s that Christians are able to boast in someone besides themselves. Their natural spiritual condition directs their attention inward, looking for something inside of themselves that might be lovable, praiseworthy, or admirable. So they naturally go to great lengths to trumpet their “good things.” They go to even greater lengths to minimize their “bad things.” The boasting that’s meant to convince people of their greatness only convinces them of their self-absorption.

The Holy Spirit shows us our true worth and how it comes to us! In the Bible, he assures his dear children that in Christ they are loved, valuable, reconciled, and headed for heaven. With that knowledge, it suddenly becomes a lot less important to boast in themselves. There’s no longer pressure to constantly build one’s self up. And that frees up the child of God to build others up and spend our days boasting about our God.

Prayer:
Help me, Lord, to remember my true worth and how it comes from you. Keep boasting far from me, except when it comes to boasting about you and the great things you have done. 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.

Surprising Recipients – July 1, 2020

Wed, Jul 01, 2020

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:6

Surprising Recipients
Daily Devotion – July 1, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200701dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I pray that it doesn’t happen to any of us often, but perhaps you know what it’s like to be so “stomach flu sick” that any sort of movement, whatsoever, is going to make bad things happen. So, the cool bathroom floor becomes your temporary bed, and all you can do is stay put. That’s the picture Paul paints of mankind’s natural spiritual state with the word powerless. Too weak to move, helpless, and pathetic.

But it gets worse. Paul also describes himself, his hearers, and us as “ungodly.” Day after day, time after time, we cross our arms and dig in our heels, turning away from the things God wants, and turning toward all kinds of things that will wreck us. Who would actively seek out people so foolish? Who would patiently and repeatedly welcome back people who’ve acted so selfishly, knowing that their NEXT selfish act is only moments away?

Paul goes on to say that someone might be willing to give up their life for a noble cause, but who dies for a scoundrel? A degenerate? A parasite? Jesus does. So excessive is God’s affection, so unwavering is God’s commitment to save, that Jesus died for the ungodly. How surprising, how unexpected!

And it begs the question, who might be the surprising recipients of the love that we now show to others? It’s pretty easy to love the people who love us (although that’s not always such a cinch either!). When we love them, it’s generally not all that surprising. But it’s when we show kindness to and sacrifice for those who make us clench our teeth, that’s when we are most closely imitating our Savior, and reflecting the surprising love that that continues to be shown to us. Holy Spirit, help us do this!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you laid down your life for me when I was helpless and ungodly. That is good news, both surprising and welcomed! Send me your Holy Spirit in powerful Word, that I may grow in faith and show genuine love and kindness to friends and enemies alike. I ask it in your name and to your 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.

Surprising Compassion – June 30, 2020

Tue, Jun 30, 2020

Moses said to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD‘s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
Numbers 27:15-17

Surprising Compassion
Daily Devotion – June 30, 2020

Devotion based on Numbers 27:15-17
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200630dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Moses’ job was not a cushy one. The people of Israel were chronic complainers and as their leader, Moses was the most convenient lightning rod for their angst. One wonders how much stress-related insomnia he suffered, how many ulcers he powered through, over the course of his 40-year tenure. But at last, finally, they stood on the precipice of the Promised Land—at last, finally, he would get to see the fruits of all his labors: Israel marching into their new homeland. Only he wouldn’t get to see that. The people indeed would come to the Promised Land, but Moses himself wouldn’t see the day. He’d glimpse the Promised Land from afar, and then his earthly life would end.

If there were ever a time for lashing out, it seems this would be it. If anyone ever had a reason to be jaded and angry, it would seem to be Moses. But instead of telling Israel, “Good luck living without me!” Moses pleads for the people’s wellbeing; he prays that God would give them a strong leader. How surprising, how unexpected!

But it’s not all that surprising when we remember what the kingdom of God is all about. 1,500 years after Moses died, Jesus also saw a people lacking spiritual direction, helpless, and perhaps not even realizing how desperate a situation they were in. And instead of saying, “You deserve what you get. Good luck trying to make it without me!” Jesus had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

That surprising compassion, when jadedness would’ve been completely justified, is what pushed Jesus beyond mere sympathetic feelings and to life sacrificing, sin atoning, world redeeming action. We are the beneficiaries of that selfless compassion. And now we are grateful, joyful imitators of that selfless compassion as well.

Prayer:
How desperately we need you, Good Shepherd! Thank you for looking on your sheep with compassion. Give us hearts like yours, that we may treat others with care and compassion as well. 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.

Good News – June 29, 2020

Mon, Jun 29, 2020

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
Matthew 9:35

Good News
Daily Devotion – June 29, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 9:35
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200629dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Recently, actor John Krasinski attracted the attention of millions of Americans with a homemade, self-produced news show that featured only good news in every segment. He called it SGN-Some Good News. And Americans flocked to it, reposting it on their social media feeds, and giving the show’s initial episode 18 million views on YouTube. It’s not hard to understand why. People are desperate for some good news.

It was not all that different 2,000 years ago. People back then faced disease and witnessed oppression. They saw marriages break apart and families disintegrate. They wrestled with hypocrisy and anger in themselves. They experienced disillusionment, and they coped with tragedy. Its manifestations may have changed over the years, but sin was indeed able to mess things up back then, just as it does today. People needed some good news.

And Jesus brought it, going through all the towns and villages, proclaiming the good news. But Jesus’ good news was more than just human-interest stories of kindness and hope. The good news that Jesus brought told people of the kindness of the eternal God, bringing hope of eternal life to people surrounded by sin on every side. He proclaimed the good news of the kingdom!

How surprising, how unexpected! It wouldn’t have been at all shocking if the Son of God had come proclaiming the bad news. It wouldn’t have been at all shocking if Jesus had proclaimed, “You deserve only anger from a holy God.” He would have been exactly right.

But the Son of God came not to destroy us, but to destroy the devil’s work by achieving perfect obedience in his life and by offering a perfect sacrifice in his death. The price has been paid in full, and we didn’t have to do anything to earn it. That’s good news.

In the end, Some Good News lost a bit of its luster as John Krasinski faced popular backlash for selling the rights to the show to CBS. Yes, even the best news that comes from the heart of man can still result in angst and turmoil. But the good news of the kingdom never loses its luster. God has come near and paid for sin. That’s surprisingly good news in a bad news world.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, make your good news a comfort for me in our chaotic world and my hope of a brighter future with you in eternity. 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.

Knowing Where to Look – June 28, 2020

Sun, Jun 28, 2020

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Knowing Where to Look
Daily Devotion – June 28, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 5:8
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200628dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Sometimes I forget how powerful the disease of sin truly is in my life. I forget that my sinfulness infects even my thinking, even my sense of logic.

For example, I dictate to God how he can show his love for me. I demand that he demonstrate his love for me by giving me good health, a good job, a stable family, money in the bank, popularity, prestige, a solid retirement plan. But when my health fades, when the good job goes away, when there’s heartbreak in the family, when the money dries up, when I feel like a stranger around my friends, I accuse him of not loving me. I accuse him of not caring. I even wonder if he exists.

Perhaps your line of thinking has often gone the same way.

How blind we can be, you and I. How arrogant and foolish. We question God’s love, even his very existence, all the while ignoring the ultimate demonstration of his love for us: The death of his Son for your sins and mine.

But there’s the beauty, the very way by which God demonstrates his love for us is also the very thing that washes away the stains of our foolish arrogance. It also seals God’s promise that his love will guide even the pain and sorrow of life for our good.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, fix my eyes on the cross, the ultimate demonstration of your love for me. And empower me to see your love at work even in the pain and sorrow of my life. 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 Sins are Forgiven – June 27, 2020

Sat, Jun 27, 2020

Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
Matthew 9:1,2

Your Sins are Forgiven
Daily Devotion – June 27, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 9:1,2
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200627dev.mp3
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Matthew chapter 9 is one of the most rapid-fire chapters of the Bible. In fewer than forty verses, we see Jesus perform at least seven miracles, answer questions and complaints from the teachers of the law, Pharisees, and even followers of John the Baptist. All the while we see him confidently going about his ministry, calling another Apostle, instructing his disciples, and explaining his purpose on earth: to forgive sins and save souls. He raises a girl from the dead. He reads minds. He heals the blind, the paralyzed, the demon-possessed, and a woman with an unknown malady of constant bleeding. Except for time out to eat at Matthew’s house, the text of the chapter suggests that these events happened in a very short period of time during a brief stay in Jesus’ “own town.”

Jesus’ “own town” was Capernaum. This was his base of ministry in Galilee. Often he visited there, but he wasn’t completely welcome there. In Matthew 11:20-24 we read that Jesus warned this city that it would be judged because the people refused to believe in him despite the miracles he performed in their midst.

But therein Capernaum Jesus shows us why he came into the world—he came to forgive sins. He said to the paralyzed man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

When God declares our sins forgiven, we can be assured that they are completely gone because God cannot lie.

If your sins are burdening you, if your guilt is weighing you down, take heart. In Jesus, your sins are forgiven!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, the forgiveness of sins you freely give assures me that I am free of God’s sentence of condemnation. Clinging to your forgiveness by faith, I am blessed with a close and loving relationship with God forever. With all my grateful heart, I thank 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.

Promise of Salvation – June 26, 2020

Fri, Jun 26, 2020

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
1 Timothy 1:15

Promise of Salvation
Daily Devotion – June 26, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Timothy 1:15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200626dev.mp3
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Several years ago, a man donated his kidney to save his wife. His wife needed a kidney transplant in order to live. Not wanting to wait for her name to come up on the list, and not wanting his wife to die, he decided to donate his. The transplant was a success. This man saved his wife’s life.

18 months later, the wife began a long-term affair with another man. She cheated on her husband. After several years, her unfaithfulness was discovered, and the man eventually filed the paperwork for a divorce, in which was included a demand that she return the kidney he had donated to save her life. He wanted his kidney back, knowing she would die if that were to happen.

Those who have been the victim of an affair might understand that man’s anger and pain. It’s why what God did for the Apostle Paul is so noteworthy.

Paul called himself “the worst” of sinners. Prior to meeting Jesus, he had made a career of persecuting Christians. But he wasn’t referring to his previous life of unbelief when he called himself “the worst” of sinners. It was when he was a Christian that he said, “I am the worst.”

He knew that compared to the perfection God demands of us, we always fall far short as we carry on our long-term relationship with sin and regularly prove ourselves to be unfaithful to our Creator. How does God respond to such sinners?

He does not want us to die in our sin. And we will not die in our sin, because Christ Jesus already came into the world to save sinners. He gave not just his kidney, but his entire perfect life as a substitutionary payment to save even the worst of sinners.

Whatever your sin is, however great it might be, whatever damage it has already done cannot change the truth that Christ Jesus has already saved you.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, strengthen my faith in you by keeping me focused on your faithfulness to me 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.

Have Faith in the I AM – June 25, 2020

Thu, Jun 25, 2020

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.”
Exodus 3:14,15

Have Faith in the I AM
Daily Devotion – June 25, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 3:14,15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200625dev.mp3
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When Moses asked for God’s name, God replied by calling himself, “I AM.”

That might sound like a strange name to us. But consider how often Jesus, himself, used this name to bring comfort to the hearts of God’s children.

“I AM the Living Bread,” Jesus says to those who have been starving for forgiveness, love, and attention.

“I AM the Light of the World,” he says to all who’ve lost their sense of direction.

“I AM the Good Shepherd,” he says to the vulnerable sheep who are hurting.

“I AM the Way,” he says to all who are searching.

“I AM the Resurrection and the Life,” he says as you cry at the coffin of your friend, your dad, or your mom.

“I AM … with you, always, to the very end” of whatever path you happen to be traveling.

And wherever you are on that path, the job God has given you is exactly the one he gave to Moses. It is to remember that the person you have been doesn’t change who you are through faith in Jesus. You are God’s child. Your job is to remember that, just as God called Moses to be there for Israel, he has called you to be there for your family, friends, and neighbors—not to be the great I AM—but to point them to the great I AM.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for being consistent in who you are so that I can find regular comfort in who I am in Christ Jesus, my Savior. 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.

Faith Rests in God – June 24, 2020

Wed, Jun 24, 2020

The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey . . . So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Exodus 3:7-10

Faith Rests in God
Daily Devotion – June 24, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 3:7-10
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200624dev.mp3
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No one ever intends to get to the end of the day, look in the mirror, and feel inadequate, guilty, unlovable, or unimportant. But these things still happen. And if they have ever happened to you; if you have ever stood in the middle of life’s demands feeling more scared than assured, more discouraged than confident, more vulnerable than protected, then you have something in common with Moses.

That might surprise you. After all, Moses is the man who parted the Red Sea, saw God, held the Ten Commandments, and set the Israelites free. But, when God called Moses to lead his people out of Egypt, Moses saw himself as entirely inadequate.”Who am I?” Moses asked God; which wasn’t as much a question as it was a declaration that Moses didn’t think he was able to do what God was asking.

And God agreed. That’s why he said, “I have seen their misery … I have heard them crying … I am concerned about their suffering … so I will rescue them.” God wasn’t asking Moses to be their Savior. His job was to remind Israel that they already had one. Just as you do.

You aren’t a slave to the Egyptians. But you are a slave to your sins against God and the guilt that goes with those sins. You aren’t anymore able to free yourself than Moses was able to free the Israelites. But God is. And God has. He sent his Son, Jesus, to free you from your sins by his perfect life and innocent death. May the story of Moses comfort you with the reminder that the Savior-God of Moses is your Savior-God too.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for the rescue you provide for our souls through the gift of our Savior, 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 Promise of Forgiveness – June 23,2020

Tue, Jun 23, 2020

Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
Matthew 9:12

The Promise of Forgiveness
Daily Devotion – June 23,2020

Devotion based on Matthew 9:12
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200623dev.mp3
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Compared to some of the other disciples, we don’t know a whole lot about Matthew. Other than the story of Jesus calling Matthew to be his disciple, Matthew’s name is only mentioned 4 times in the New Testament, and those 4 times are each a listing of the 12 disciples. He’s typically way down on the list, in the eighth or ninth spot.

What we do know about Matthew is that he had a very bad reputation in his community. You see, he was a tax collector. He collected money from his fellow countrymen on behalf of the hated Roman government. To make it worse, tax collectors were expected to overcharge and keep the extra money for themselves.

Jesus, of course, was well aware of what Matthew did for a living. And, when Jesus was scolded for eating dinner with Matthew, Jesus didn’t excuse Matthew’s sins. Instead, he announced that spiritually sick people like Matthew were precisely the people he had come to save. One wonders how Matthew felt as Jesus publicly described him as a sinner.

While we don’t know what Matthew felt in the moment, we get a glimpse into his relationship with Jesus when we discover that the name Matthew means “gift of God.” You see, when other writers in the Bible write about Matthew, they don’t call him Matthew. They call him Levi, his given name. Only Matthew calls himself Matthew. He realized that Jesus’ willingness to forgive him and associate with a sinner like him was a gift from God.

Whether or not your name is Matthew, this is also God’s gift to you.

God knows all the ways we are sick with sin. This is why he sent Jesus whose blood is the medicine that cures every sin.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, you know my heart and are aware of my every sin. Let me never forget the gift of forgiveness already won for me by your Son, 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 Promise of Forgiveness – June 22, 2020

Mon, Jun 22, 2020

[Jesus said] “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:13

The Promise of Forgiveness
Daily Devotion – June 22, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 9:13
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200622dev.mp3
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There is a website that invites you to confess your deepest, darkest secrets. It invites you to use their website to share with the entire internet the most shameful skeletons you have in your closet. On one recent day, there were thousands of individual confessions that had been posted.

There are proven benefits to confessing our deepest secrets. Holding onto secrets about yourself, especially the bad ones, dramatically increases your stress, drastically cuts into your amount of needed rest, and radically transforms your mood and emotions into an inconsistent mess. This website was created as a way for people to unload the heaviest burdens on their hearts.

Despite that, you might still wonder why anyone would choose to openly confess their darkest secrets to the entire internet. One reason may be that all of the confessions are anonymous. People are fine with the whole internet world knowing the most intimate details of their secrets, as long as no one can ever connect those secrets with their names.

And we understand why. We easily wonder what people would think of us, and what consequences would follow, if they knew the entire truth about our past, or about the thoughts and passions we so often indulge.

But Jesus is already aware of all of them, whether or not we confess them to him. When Jesus approached a man named Matthew to call him as a disciple, he was well aware of Matthew’s deserved reputation as a “sinner.” Yet he assured him that sinners like Matthew were exactly the type of people for whom Jesus had come. He came to call sinners into God’s kingdom.

Whatever your skeletons, whatever your secrets, whatever your sins, you don’t need to be afraid of them. Jesus calls you to confess those sins to him, knowing that he offers full and free forgiveness.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, as you hear me confess my deepest sins, draw my eyes to the Savior who forgave them. Amen.

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

This is the day the Lord has made – June 21, 2020

Sun, Jun 21, 2020

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made
Daily Devotion – June 21, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 118:24
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200621dev.mp3
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When I was a youngster, my father bought a poster with the Bible passage for today printed underneath a picture of an 18-month-old child. The child was eating spaghetti. And of course, as little ones eat, they don’t seem to think they’ll get the full nutrients unless they try to absorb some of it through their skin. So, this little one had taken the bowl of spaghetti (yes, noodles and sauce) and had dumped it over his head!

Of course, after beginning to “wear” the spaghetti, the child discovered that it wasn’t as pleasant an experience as he had anticipated. So the child was now sitting there, covered with spaghetti and sauce, and crying his eyes out. And at the bottom, it read: “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Yes, life can be messy. Unfortunately, often we cause the messes ourselves, because of our own sinfulness.

Yet, we rejoice!

How can this be? For one reason—Jesus. Jesus’ death washed my sins away. And Jesus’ resurrection guarantees that I, too, will be getting out of the grave someday. Guaranteed. No doubt about it. I WILL be going to heaven, because of Jesus’ wonderful work. And as long as we live, there will never be a day on which Jesus hasn’t died, on which Jesus hasn’t risen. It’s true. It’s done. We rejoice!

Even when there’s some spaghetti sauce running down our faces!

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, that I can rejoice and be glad this day because it is a day that you have made. 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.

Know Your Need – June 20, 2020

Sat, Jun 20, 2020

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23

Know Your Need
Daily Devotion – June 20, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 3:23
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200620dev.mp3
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In medicine, whether the medical professional is dealing with an afflicting disease or an addiction to some substance, often patients deny that they are sick and in need of help. This kind of reaction is not limited to people with physical or mental problems. It is also typical of human beings when confronted with the truth about their spiritual condition. What is that condition? The Bible tells us, “All have sinned.”

Sadly, denial of the problem means a failure to recognize the need that we each have as sinners—namely the need to be forgiven. If there is a malady worse than sin, it is this, the denial that I am a sinner in need of a Savior.

“All have sinned,” wrote Paul. “and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This is the truth of our spiritual condition before God. If we claim to be good enough to stand before God on our own, “we deceive ourselves” (1 John 1:8).

There is only one way to have a relationship with God. Through Jesus. He lived a perfect life, fulfilling the holy standard of God’s will. In love for us, God credits Jesus’ holy life to us. And what is more, Jesus died innocently. God counted Jesus’ death as full payment for the penalty of our sin. God has declared us holy through Jesus and has freed us from sin’s terror.

So, know yourself. Know your sin. Know your great need for Jesus. Like me and everyone else, your sins separate you from God. But like me and everyone else, Jesus came to save you from those sins. He is our perfect Savior!

Prayer:
Jesus, help me overcome my natural inclination that I can make myself right with God. I know that I need you. Trusting in your sacrifice for the forgiveness of my sins, I am proud to call you my Savior! 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.