WELS Daily Devotions

Glasses of Gratitude – November 26, 2020

Thu, Nov 26, 2020

Do not forget the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 8:11

Glasses of Gratitude
Daily Devotion – November 26, 2020

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 8:11
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201126dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Imagine you have two pairs of special glasses. The first pair makes you see the people and things in your life in all the wrong ways. You see people who irritate you at work. You see people who don’t appreciate all that you do. You see people who slight you and disrespect you. You see all the faults in other members of your family. You see the disappointments in your family life or your lack of family life. With this pair of glasses, you see all the things that make you anxious, bitter—all the things that put you on edge. You see others who seem to have it far better than you. Worst of all, with this pair of glasses, you see no reason to think very much about your relationship with God.

Let’s be candid. You and I often wear these glasses with gusto. And when we do, we give God every reason to forget about us and walk away.

But he hasn’t, and he doesn’t. Instead, he sent his Son. When Jesus walked this earth, he never stopped thinking about us. He had you and me in mind when he lived a perfect life in our place and carried our sins of ingratitude to the cross. And because he has now risen from the dead, you and I not only get to bask in his forgiveness. You and I now get to live our lives wearing a different pair of glasses. These glasses empower us to see our lives as they truly are. They are the glasses of thankfulness.

When you put these on, you see something wondrous. You see the hand of God taking care of you. He makes sure that you have enough to eat, that you have something to wear, that you have a place to stay. He demonstrates his love for you through friends and family. He demonstrates his love for you through medical teams that see to your physical needs. Most of all, he demonstrates his love for you through his living Word, through his message of the cross and the empty tomb of Easter.

With the glasses of gratitude, that is what we see. Wearing them, we will not forget.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord. And help me see all I have for which to give thanks. 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 Enemy – November 25, 2020

Wed, Nov 25, 2020

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:26

The Enemy
Daily Devotion – November 25, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:26
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201125dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Death is big business. In the United States alone, the funeral industry generates 20 billion dollars per year. Funeral homes employ tens of thousands. Add to that the number of people who work for the makers of caskets, urns, hearses, vaults, floral arrangements, and gravestones. And add to that the number of people who maintain cemeteries, crematoriums, and mausoleums. In the US, there are 2.7 million annual funerals. And with ten thousand baby boomers hitting the age of 65 every single day, there should be an abundance of funerals for years to come. Without question, death provides employment and a good living for a lot of people.

The big dollars and the big employment numbers change nothing, however. Death is still the same devastating beast it has always been. It brings crippling grief and waves of pain. It brings a depth of loneliness and loss from which many never fully recover. Do a search for quotes about death, and you’ll find all the easy clichés: “Death is a part of life,” “People don’t really die as long as someone remembers them,”—you know the kind. But it takes classic punk rocker John Lydon to display some real candor about death. “I hate death,” he says. “It takes people away from you. You’re left feeling rudderless.”

When the Son of God entered our time and space in the person of Jesus Christ, he saw death for the monster that it is. He knew that the specter of death was a direct result of sin—your sin and mine. And so Jesus didn’t come to dress it up, to compromise with it, or make it more polite. He came to destroy it.

And destroy it he did. Jesus lived a perfect life as our substitute. He went to the cross to pay for our every wrong. In so doing, he pulled the cause of death out by its roots and threw it into the fire. That’s why he rose from death three days later. He did it to remove all doubt that he had crushed and defeated death once and for all time.

That leaves only life. Eternal life. With Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for destroying death. When grief comes calling, refresh me in what 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.

Cemetery – November 24, 2020

Tue, Nov 24, 2020

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20

Cemetery
Daily Devotion – November 24, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201124dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Perhaps it’s been a long time since you’ve walked through a cemetery. Then again, perhaps not. When you did, what are the emotions you felt?

Your answer depends on the circumstances, of course. Maybe the circumstances were such that you felt crushing grief. Maybe you felt a numbness or felt relief mixed with exhaustion. Or it could be that the circumstances were such that you felt simple curiosity about the people buried there. Maybe you felt a fascination about the past. Maybe you felt quiet reflection.

In your imagination, put yourself inside a cemetery for a moment. Walk slowly and look up and down the rows of stones. The words of God before us in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 are from the apostle Paul. In that cemetery, imagine the apostle Paul walking with you. As you walk with him side-by-side, there is something else you would sense from Paul—something different. You would sense from him a great feeling of anticipation.

From 1 Corinthians 15, we know why. There, the apostle Paul points to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As he does, he makes it clear that Jesus’ resurrection is not some isolated, one-time event. Instead, he reminds us that Jesus is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. In other words, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is only the first of many.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is God’s exclamation point to the reality that Jesus Christ, Son of God, has lived a perfect life on our behalf; that he has suffered and died on the cross for our every sin. Through faith in him, we possess forgiveness of sin, peace, joy, and life eternal. Jesus’ resurrection has set in motion a series of wondrous things that are to come.

Which brings us back to the cemetery through which you are walking. In such a place, at times will you feel grief, loss, reflection? Yes, you will feel all of these. Most of all, however, there is anticipation. On the Last Day, these graves will open. The bodies of those who have died in the Lord will reunite with their souls. And the roar of victory will last forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, fill me with anticipation for the wonders we will experience when you return. 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.

Search – November 23, 2020

Mon, Nov 23, 2020

For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.
Ezekiel 34:11

Search
Daily Devotion – November 23, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 34:11
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201123dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The year is 1988. The country is China. The woman’s name is Li. Her son’s name is Jia. Jia is about 18 months old. In October of that year, Li receives news that is every parent’s nightmare. Her child is missing.

At first, Li assumes that her son has simply wandered off and that someone will soon find him and bring him home. It soon becomes clear, however, that people have very likely kidnapped her son with the intent of selling him to a childless family, a crime that is prevalent in China at the time.

Li, however, is determined to find her son. She begins her search. Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months. Months turn into years. As they do, the story of Li and her search gathers more and more attention. She receives hundreds of leads. She pursues every single one. Each is a dead end.

Then, in May of this year, Li receives word about a man who seems to fit her son’s description. The man agrees to a DNA test. It’s a match. When they finally meet, there are tears and smiles and more tears. Li’s extraordinary search of 32 years has come to an end.

You and I are part of a search too. Our own sin snatched us from God’s family and carried us off to a place that is barren, lonely, empty, cold. God’s heart, however, could not forget us. As hour heavenly Father, he refused to give up on us. As part of his rescue mission, God sent his Son, Jesus, to live a holy life on our behalf and to carry our every sin to the cross.

And now he seeks to bring this good news to every lost soul, including yours. Perhaps you are at a point in your life when you feel lost, adrift, forgotten. If so, remember what your heavenly father has done to find you and rescue you. You are not forgotten. You are his.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your search. Thank you for seeking me out. Through faith in your Son, my home is in 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.

Do Not Grieve – November 22, 2020

Sun, Nov 22, 2020

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
1 Thessalonians 4:13,14

Do Not Grieve
Daily Devotion – November 22, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201122dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

We’re not always sure what hope looks like. No hope, however, is easy to spot.

Frustrated folks in corrupt countries see no way up or out, so they lash out in violence, torching cars and burning buildings. American families, who have maxed out their credit cards and can’t figure a way out from under the debt, often have a sense of hopelessness. In instances like these, having no hope of a future causes grief to set in.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Just when there seems to be no way out, Jesus says, “I am the way” (John 14:6). Just when death seems to have a victory, Christ shows us his empty tomb. Just when your world seems to get worse and worse, Jesus says, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).

Even when we lose a loved one to death, we can have hope. The apostle Paul assured the Christians of his day that those who have died trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins are not lost. Their souls are in heaven with Jesus. And, on the day Jesus returns, he will bring those souls with him and reunite their souls with their bodies which will be raised from the grave.

So, if you have lost a Christian loved one, do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. Look forward to being reunited in the halls of heaven!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, give me hope that only you can give because you conquered death and guarantee a glorious resurrection to all who believe in you, life is not hopeless and death is not final. 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 to Give Thanks – November 21, 2020

Sat, Nov 21, 2020

When [Jesus] saw [the ten men who had leprosy], he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:14-16

Faith to Give Thanks
Daily Devotion – November 21, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 17:14-16
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201121dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Ten men had been miraculously healed by Jesus. Nine never bothered to say, “Thank you.” But, before we point our fingers too quickly, we would do well to honestly assess our attitudes about all that God has done for us. It is easy to be like the lepers who went on their way—to be so busy enjoying God’s blessings that we fail to say, “Thank you.” What are some blessings for which you never, or have rarely given God thanks—legs that walk, eyes that see, lungs that breathe, a family that loves, friends that care? Or, how about the forgiveness God grants for Jesus’ sake, even for the sin of being less than thankful for his blessings?

When you take the time to consider the countless blessings the Lord has showered on you, it will move you to take the time to thank him for those blessings. That’s what the Samaritan leper did. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.

Why not do the same today? Throw yourself at Jesus’ feet and thank him. Thank him for as many blessings as you can think of. You may be surprised how long the list is. And, you will be all the more grateful for all of his gifts.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, 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.

Wedding Ready – November 20, 2020

Fri, Nov 20, 2020

[Jesus said] “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. . . . The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ . . . “The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Matthew 25:1-6,10-13

Wedding Ready
Daily Devotion – November 20, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:1-6,10-13
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201120dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What’s the big deal about missing a wedding banquet? People miss them all the time. Sometimes they miss them on purpose. This year, people might have a bigger issue with missing a wedding banquet. Because of the pandemic, countless couples have changed, rearranged, or canceled their plans.

But that’s nothing compared to missing the feast that Jesus invites us to receive. The Bible describes heaven as one, eternal, joyous feast. Jesus has invested so much to include us at this feast. He gave his life to get us in. Jesus clothes us in his righteous garments. He gives us faith that holds onto his invitation. And now he is busy getting the banquet ready. This is one feast we don’t want to miss!

But there is so much that distracts us, that seems more important, that gratifies us now. Why wait for those eternal pleasures? What’s the big deal? The big deal is, you are either in or out. This is one wedding banquet you won’t be able to crash. You either spend eternity in God’s presence, enjoying all his blessings, or you miss out entirely and regret it eternally.

Jesus is coming back. Since we can’t know when it’s wise to be ready. So, keep your faith well-oiled with God’s Word. Repent of your sins. Trust that Jesus has fully atoned for your guilt. And wait with wide-open and expectant eyes for Jesus to return. Then, no matter when he does, you won’t miss it!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for inviting me to your wedding feast. Keep my faith focused on you so that I am ready for your arrival. 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 Bride of Christ – November 19, 2020

Thu, Nov 19, 2020

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! The wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”
Revelation 19:6-9

The Bride of Christ
Daily Devotion – November 19, 2020

Devotion based on Revelation 19:6-9
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201119dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Ever since she was a little girl, she had dreamt of and longed for this day. For years, she had filled a scrapbook with all the things that would make her wedding day perfect. The white linen dress. The names of her bridesmaids. The gowns that her bridesmaids would wear. The color of those gowns. The flowers that would adorn the altar. The bouquet she would hold in her hands. The ever-growing and changing list of guests. The banquet to follow.

But now, as she stood at the end of the aisle, all those things faded into the background. In that moment, she forgot about the gown and the guests. She gazed past the bridesmaids and bouquets. All she could see was her groom standing before the altar. Her eyes locked onto his. Her heart swelled with soothing joy. She was blessed.

Even if marriage is not part of your or God’s plan for your life, God wants to bless you through the wedding supper of the Lamb. The Lamb, who is Jesus, wants to join with you and me in a perfect, eternal union, to be one with us, and live with us forever. He wants to care for us and shower us with eternal pleasures from his hand.

But are we a suitable bride? Soiled with sin, we wouldn’t be fit to be carried over heaven’s threshold. Still, Jesus wants us to be his. So, he gives us his love. On the cross, he piled our sins on himself and paid for them all. The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. His perfect life covers all our guilt. We are forgiven and fit to be his bride.

Are you ready for the wedding feast? Invited by the Father and clothed in Christ’s righteousness, you are. Don’t let the worries and pleasures of life distract you. Keep dreaming of and longing for the day when Jesus comes and calls out, “Everything is ready. Come to the feast!”

Prayer:
Lamb of God, by your power and grace, keep me ready and waiting for your heavenly feast. 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.

Resurrection Reassurance – November 18, 2020

Wed, Nov 18, 2020

And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:17,18

Resurrection Reassurance
Daily Devotion – November 18, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:17,18
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201118dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In a popular comic, Hobbes the tiger and his boy Calvin are careening down a hill in a red wagon. As they unknowingly speed toward a cliff, Calvin yells out, “It’s true, Hobbes, ignorance is bliss!”

Ignorance can be bliss. Not knowing about a problem means you are not worried about that problem. Being ignorant about a problem means you aren’t trying to fix that problem. You are blissfully unaware.

But, as the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon illustrates, being ignorant about something does not make it go away. And, sometimes, being ignorant can have catastrophic consequences—like riding your red wagon off a cliff.

Death is one of those things about which people like to be blissfully ignorant. They do not know what will happen to them after they die and prefer not to think about it. They are blissfully ignorant. But, being blissfully ignorant does not make the reality of death go away. It is something we will all face.

Thankfully, the Bible has some comforting news about what happens when we die. It assures us that Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose again. And he promises he will raise all of these followers from the dead when he returns on judgment day. And just as sin and death can’t touch Jesus’ body anymore, so Jesus will change our bodies. We will be without sin, pain, or any disability. “And so,” Paul concludes, “we will be with the Lord forever.”

When it comes to death, ignorance is harmful, but the Spirit-imparted wisdom of Jesus’ resurrection gives us eternal encouragement and good hope.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, because of you, I shall not die but live and proclaim what 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.

At Home With Jesus – November 17, 2020

Tue, Nov 17, 2020

I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. . . . My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Ezekiel 37:26,27

At Home With Jesus
Daily Devotion – November 17, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 37:26,27
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201117dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

There’s no place like home. That’s why we want to be home for the holidays. That’s where we want to be after a long day at work. Home is where we feel safe, and our hearts are at rest.

In the prophet Ezekiel’s day, the people of Israel were far from home. They were living in far-off Babylon. And it was their own fault. They had separated themselves from God by worshiping other gods and living for themselves rather than for him. So, God used King Nebuchadnezzar to invade Israel, rip them from their comfortable lives, and whisk them a thousand miles away to Babylon. Living as exiles, the Israelites learned a hard lesson. They longed to be at home with God.

Do you feel like your sin has put distance between you and God? The prophet Ezekiel has some words of assurance for you. God has made a permanent pact of peace with you. God knew that we couldn’t bridge the chasm created by sin. So, Jesus closed the gap for us. He loved God and us perfectly. On the cross, he suffered hell, the consequence of everyone’s sin. Because God raised Jesus from the dead, nothing can separate those who are in Christ Jesus from God’s love.

So, when your sins leave you feeling far from God, look to Jesus. Remember what he has done to rescue you from those sins. Remember that because of what he has done, God promises to dwell with you. And, one day, he will take every one of his followers home to heaven. And you can be sure there is no place like it!

Prayer:
Merciful God, you are mine and I am yours. By your Holy Spirit, make your home in me that I may rest in 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.

God is Here – November 16, 2020

Mon, Nov 16, 2020

Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, . . . Shake off your dust; rise up, . . . For this is what the LORD says: “You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed.” . . . “Therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I.”
Isaiah 52:1-3,6

God is Here
Daily Devotion – November 16, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 52:1-3,6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201116dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

An old man sits hunched in the dust. His wife and three children huddle around him. Their vacant stares and tear-swelled eyes telling a tale of hopeless surrender. In his hand, the father limply grasps a lyre. His captors call for a joyful tune, but when he opens his mouth all he can produce is a song of lament: “By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept when we remembered Zion” (Psalm 137:1).

Babylon had destroyed everything that Israel held dear and dragged them into captivity. Having lost hope of ever returning home, they were sleepwalking through life.

Still, they had reason for joy. They were God’s people. He hadn’t stopped loving them. He was with them. He hadn’t forgotten his promise to them. The long night would end. He would set them free and send them home.

What joy has been stolen from you? What sadness stings your eyes? We all suffer loss that leaves us slumped in the dust, sleepwalking through life, wondering, “Where is God?”

In our stupor, God speaks tender words of assurance. “Here I am,” he says, “Yes, it is I.”

God, who delivered us by his Son, Jesus Christ, is here. He, who strong-armed Satan and paid the debt of our sins on the cross, is here. He, who disarmed death and opened heaven’s gates for all who trust in him, is here. He has not forgotten you. He has not forsaken you. You are loved. You are forgiven. Heaven awaits.

Wake up! Watch for him in faith. Why surrender to sin? God arms you with strength in his Word. Why wallow in self-pity? God has purchased you for himself with the blood of his Son. Why sleepwalk through life? God will deliver you as he has promised. And when that day comes—when shackles, storm clouds, and shed tears are past—you will know that God is here and has the power to save.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I am dismayed, be near me and deliver 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.

Inside or Outside – November 15, 2020

Sun, Nov 15, 2020

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord! Lord!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Matthew 25:10-13

Inside or Outside
Daily Devotion – November 15, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:10-13
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201115dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins illustrates two different ways to approach the day Jesus returns to judge the world. One is to be prepared as the five wise virgins were. The other is to remain unprepared as the five foolish virgins. While both groups went about their daily affairs, the wise virgins made sure they were prepared no matter how long the wait was. The five foolish always thought they had more time to prepare.

The lesson is clear. I want to model my life after that of the five wise virgins. Mainly, this means giving attention to God’s Word. As I do, I will be reminded again and again that because of what Jesus did to save me from my sins, I can one day enter the “wedding banquet” of heaven. And, knowing this, I will want to live a life pleasing to him. And, rather than being distracted by the things of this world, I will keep one eye on the sky, looking eagerly for Jesus’ return.

When will this be? Only God knows. But we do know this: It could be today. So, live this day as if Jesus will appear on the clouds at any time. After all…he just may.

Prayer:
Gracious Savior, I know you are coming again in glory. Give me the strength of faith to prepare myself for that glorious day. 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 Lord is Our Refuge – November 14, 2020

Sat, Nov 14, 2020

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

The Lord is Our Refuge
Daily Devotion – November 14, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 46:1
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201114dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Christianity is a crutch for the weak.”

This is the atheist’s argument against putting one’s faith in the God of the Bible. They argue that anyone who depends on anything other than themselves is feeble.

Medically speaking, a crutch is a tool the injured use for support. Only the wounded need crutches. But here’s the thing: somehow, someway, we are all wounded. We all need help. Some just choose crutches other than Christianity.

When we don’t feel good about ourselves, where do we turn for assurance? We have enough options to choose from: earthly goods, food, alcohol, drugs, money, work. The problem with many such crutches is that they offer only temporary reprieve and often only mask much deeper issues of the heart.

The heart of the issue is that we are all sinners in desperate need of saving. And the only one who has the power to help us is Jesus Christ. He took up our infirmities. He carried our sorrows. And by his wounds, we are healed.

God graciously allows us to go through hardship so that we seek the only one who can help. When we seek Jesus in our struggles, he finds us in his Word.

You say, “I’m too tired.” … Jesus says, “I will give you rest.”
You say, “I’m all alone.” … Jesus says, “I am with you always.”
You say, “I don’t know where to turn.” … Jesus says, “I am the way.”
You say, “I’ve had enough.” … Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
You say, “I’m afraid.” … Jesus says, “My peace I give you.”
You say, “I can’t forgive myself.” … Jesus says, “I forgive you.”
You say, “I have my doubts.” … Jesus says, “Whoever believes in me will never be put to shame.”

One famous Christian named Saint Augustine, reacting to the sufficiency of Jesus, observed, “Lord, you created us for yourself. And our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”

What was his point? Nothing satisfies like Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
God, you are my refuge and my strength, a helper who can always be found in time of trouble. I gladly count on you as my crutch. 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.

Like a Thief In the Night – November 13, 2020

Fri, Nov 13, 2020

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:1,2

Like a Thief In the Night
Daily Devotion – November 13, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:1,2
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201113dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Thieves don’t send you a “save the date” card in the mail when they are planning to break into your place and take things. They wait until you’re not home, or until they think you’re asleep. They often like the cover of darkness. The point is that they want to be unexpected.

It seems a little strange that God would compare himself to a thief. He says, “I’m not going to send you a ‘save the date’ card for the day Jesus returns to judge this world. You’ll just have to be ready for it to come at any time.”

God does this for a couple of good reasons. One reason is so that you are not taken in by charlatans who claim that they know the date that Jesus is returning for judgment day. Some of them are foolish enough to set an exact day, but more of them predict a year or a season, and if you believe them, you might be tempted to do some strange things in anticipation.

Another reason God does not tell us the date of judgment day is that he knows us. If we think we have time before something, we procrastinate. But if we know we have to be ready any time, we are moved to get our acts together.

How do you get your act together for judgment day? Repent, and believe the good news that Jesus is your Savior. Trust in him and not in anything that you have done for your salvation. Be sure to tell the people you love so they can be ready too.

Prayer:
Whether my death or judgment day comes first, Lord Jesus, keep me always ready for your salvation. Amen.

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

The Righteous Get Eternal Life – November 12, 2020

Thu, Nov 12, 2020

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Matthew 25:46

The Righteous Get Eternal Life
Daily Devotion – November 12, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:46
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201112dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

There is such a thing as eternal punishment. It’s for anyone who is not perfect. Heaven is perfect, and nothing unclean or impure will ever enter there. Eternal means eternal, so eternal punishment outside of heaven doesn’t just come to an end. It’s not a pleasant thought. Hell is not a pleasant place.

Hell is a place of eternal punishment prepared for the devil and his demons outside of the presence of God. Human beings don’t have to go there as long as they’re righteous. That means perfectly holy in every thought and action throughout life.

It’s a tall order. In fact, if you’re honest with yourself, you know you’ve already blown it. Even if you’ve never done anything majorly bad in the eyes of society, you know perfectly well you’re not perfect.

But God did not want you to suffer eternal punishment. So he sent his Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life that you could not live. Jesus was perfectly holy. His righteousness was complete and pure. Then, when he suffered the punishment that he did not deserve by dying on the cross, he declared that he did that for you. And through faith in him, he gave you his righteousness. God made the one who had no sin be sin for us so that in him, we become the righteousness of God. Jesus is the Lord our righteousness.

Now, on judgment day, through faith in Jesus, you will go right to eternal life in heaven. You have the righteousness of Jesus—not your own—as your ticket to heaven, and nothing can take that away from you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness. You took on you what was mine and gave me what was yours. I will thank and praise you 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.

Honor the Service – November 11, 2020

Wed, Nov 11, 2020

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
Matthew 25:34

Honor the Service
Daily Devotion – November 11, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:34
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201111dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Today many countries celebrate their military veterans. Whether it’s called Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, or Veterans Day, it’s a time to honor all those who have served their country in war or peace, dead or alive, although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.

Christians honor Jesus for a similar reason. He was willing to sacrifice himself in order to win a great victory for us. Ever since the creation of the world, Jesus wanted us to live with him forever in heaven. It didn’t look good since we were going to be born sinful and could not enter a perfect heaven that way. But Jesus took care of that by being born without sin and then remaining sinless throughout his life until he sacrificed himself and took the punishment for our sin. He volunteered to serve in this way, even though he was King over the entire universe. That was quite a sacrifice!

Many veterans make the sacrifices they do so that their families and communities can remain in peace and safety. They know that peace is won in this world only with blood and sacrifice.

Jesus won peace for us with his blood and his sacrifice. He did all that so that he could say to us on judgment day, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Take your inheritance. Come with me to heaven. Live in eternal peace and safety.”

Prayer:
We honor your service for us, Lord Jesus, today and every day. 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.

Not to Worry – November 10, 2020

Tue, Nov 10, 2020

He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Matthew 25:32,33

Not to Worry
Daily Devotion – November 10, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:32,33
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201110dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

People worry about the day they will face their maker the day this world comes to an end. They wonder if a movie of their life will play, and everyone will see the bad things they have done. They wonder if they will have the right words to say when they are called on to give an account of their lives.

Jesus instructs people who believe in him not to worry about judgment day. He is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep, and he will not forget about them or abandon them. He knows precisely who his sheep are, and he promises to be with them all the way through the process of judgment day.

When Jesus returns in glory with his angels, he will sit on his throne and send his angels throughout the earth to gather up his sheep. Those who have died will have their souls reunited with their bodies, and their bodies will be restored, never to die again. Those who are still alive will have their bodies glorified, and then they will be picked by the angels to be taken to the place where Jesus is judging.

The angels will not confuse right and left. Those who trust in Jesus will be on his right, and he will give them eternal life. Those who do not believe in him will be on his left, and he will give them the eternal death that they deserve. There will be no movies and no long line of people guessing what the right words are. For those who are followers of Jesus, there will only be the relief of leaving a sin-filled world to spend eternity at the side of their loving Lord. No wonder there is no reason to worry!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my Good Shepherd. Send your angels and guide me safely to your right hand on judgment day, then onward into 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.

Judged By the Son of Man – November 9, 2020

Mon, Nov 09, 2020

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him.
Matthew 25:31,32

Judged By the Son of Man
Daily Devotion – November 9, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 25:31,32
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201109dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Judges are important for any society that seeks justice. They are responsible for seeing to it that every person is treated equally and fairly. Judges are important.

Jesus said that when he returns one day, there will be a courtroom of sorts, and there will be a judge sitting on a throne. All the angels will be with him, but none of them will be more important than the judge on that throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, but no one from those nations will be more important than he is, no matter how important those people were in life on earth. The judge will be the most important person there. He will hold the power of eternal life and eternal death.

When Jesus says that the judge will be the Son of Man, he is referring to himself. Although Jesus is the God of this universe, he became a human being, so he is called the Son of Man. Long before he was born, he ruled over the earth, and on judgment day, it will be obvious that he still does, even though he humbled himself to be the son of a woman.

As a perfectly just judge, Jesus would have had to find every person guilty of disobeying his holy Word because every single one of us has—over and over again. But, thankfully, when he came to this earth the first time, he took the punishment for our disobedience. He will not forget this when we stand before him on the Last Day. All who trust in his saving work will be found not guilty and spend eternity with him and his angels. How wonderful to know that on that wonder-filled day, we will not need to be afraid!

Prayer:
Calm my fears about death and judgment day, dear Lord. Let your saving work give me unshakable confidence. 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.

Sheep Among Wolves – November 8, 2020

Sun, Nov 08, 2020

[Jesus said] “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.”
Matthew 10:16

Sheep Among Wolves
Daily Devotion – November 8, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 10:16
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201108dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I am constantly amazed at the bravery of the men and women in our armed forces. What is it like to walk down a street, knowing at any moment an RPG could come careening into your squad and blast you to pieces? What is it like to get up every day to patrol that same street, with that same danger lurking in the shadows? Their training and their equipment help them. They know they need to be the fastest, strongest, smartest soldiers out there. Their lives depend on it. They cannot let their guard down for an instant.

Don’t we approach life the same way? I need to be bigger, faster, stronger, and smarter than the people around me. If anyone tries to cut in line in front of me; I’ll let him know where the back of the line is!

Jesus didn’t strap a flack vest on his followers, teach them hand to hand combat, and then give them 120 pounds of ammo, machine guns, and combat knives. He sent them out into the mean, ugly, God-hating, Christian-persecuting world with only a woolly lambskin!

Not quite. But he told them they would be sheep, surrounded by the biggest, baddest, meanest wolves they ever saw.

How could they survive? Jesus was with them. He was the one behind the “I am sending you.” Instead of trusting a snarl to put someone in his place or an insurance policy to cover losses, they could trust Jesus to look after them. After all, he pulled them from the fires of hell. He walked down the street to the cross and took the full force of God’s fiercest wrath over their sins.

He’s done the same for you. Whether it is the dark of night or the light of a new day, there’s no need to fear. We can show love to others and accept all the vulnerability that comes with being Christians. We know our Shepherd will care for his sheep—no matter how the wolves may snarl.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, although I know I am like a sheep among wolves in this world, I also know you are with me and will watch over me. Grant me the peace that comes with knowing this. 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.

Eternal – November 7, 2020

Sat, Nov 07, 2020

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.
Revelation 14:6

Eternal
Daily Devotion – November 7, 2020

Devotion based on Revelation 14:6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20201107dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

For lovers of history, it is a dream location. If you drive through central Wyoming along State Highway 220, you can’t miss it. From the proper angle, it looks like a giant cereal bowl turned upside down. It is called “Independence Rock.” Independence Rock is 12 stories high. If you get out of your car and walk around the base, you’ll be walking for more than a mile. During the 1800s, Independence Rock was a major landmark along the Oregon Trail. Pioneers in covered wagons knew that if they could reach it by the Fourth of July, they were on schedule to finish their journey and get settled before winter. Many carved their names into the rock. You can still see their names today.

But for those who love history, here’s something about Independence Rock that is, perhaps, the most powerful. If you climb to the top and look around, you’ll see virtually no evidence of 21st Century civilization. There are no towns, no gas stations, no motels. In fact, if you climb back down and travel a bit further, what you will find are the ruts left by the covered wagons from so many years ago.

In a world where rapid change is the norm, it is a comfort for some to know that there are still some places that have changed very little.

Such a sense of comfort, however, is nothing in comparison to the comfort that comes from something that is truly permanent—the permanence that comes from the eternal gospel about Jesus Christ.

No matter how old you get, no matter what changes you see, the eternal gospel remains the same. No matter how many times you have failed, no matter how often you have disappointed others, the eternal gospel remains the same. No matter how heavy the guilt from your past, no matter how chaotic your present or how uncertain your future, the eternal gospel remains the same. The gospel message that God came to this earth in the person of Jesus Christ, that he lived and died as your Substitute to wash away your wrongs, that he raised himself back to life to assure you that all is well—every part of that message remains the same. None of it will ever change.

And that is a beautiful thing to know.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the same yesterday and today and forever, and so is your gospel. For this priceless comfort, I thank and praise 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.