WELS Daily Devotions

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WELS Daily Devotions
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A Friend In Jesus – May 15, 2021

3 hours 15 min ago

Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:13-15

A Friend In Jesus
Daily Devotion – May 15, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:13-15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210515dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

It is always interesting to watch teenagers try to find their place among their peers. There is that constant struggle of determining whether they are part of the ‘in’ group, or if they are on the outside. If they are a part of the group, they have the inside scoop on everything important that is happening. If they are not, the important news and happenings of their world pass right around them.

As Jesus spoke to his disciples, he called them friends. He didn’t leave them wondering whether they were in the know or not. As friends, they had the inside scoop. Everything Jesus learned from his Father he made known to his friends. He revealed that he is the Son of God. He explained that he came to seek and save the lost. He even foretold how he would save them. He said, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise” (Mark 9:31).

Just as Jesus made it clear where his disciples stood, so Jesus doesn’t leave his followers today wondering if they are part of the group. He also calls them his friends. He gives them the inside scoop. As they sit down to read his Word, the Bible, they hear everything that Jesus learned from his Father and made known to his disciples. They also can hear Jesus explain who he is, the reason he came, and how he saved the world from eternal death by dying for it.

Friend, listen to Jesus. Learn from him. Trust that what he says is true. And discover all the comfort of being called a friend of Jesus.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, thank you for revealing all of the truths about you and for being willing to call even a sinner like me your friend. 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.

For the Church – May 14, 2021

Fri, May 14, 2021 - 01:00am

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Ephesians 1:22,23

For the Church
Daily Devotion – May 14, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:22,23
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210514dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When bosses go away for a while, you assume that they are relaxing somewhere on a sandy beach, or at least doing whatever it is you think bosses do when they go on vacation. Are they thinking about you, the workers? You doubt it.

What is Jesus doing right now? He’s not appearing to people the way he did for those forty days after he rose from the dead. Instead, he ascended into heaven, and the Bible says that he is getting a place ready for his followers there. What a nice thing for the boss to be doing!

But that’s not all he’s doing. In case you ever doubted that someone who sacrificed himself on a cross could actually be the boss, the Bible says that God the Father declared him still to be in charge of everything for the sake of the church.

This shouldn’t surprise us. The church has important work to do, speaking the Word of God, and Jesus is interested in that work. But you might not realize who the church is. When you believe in Jesus, you are the church. And Jesus is interested in everything you do.

In fact, he is arranging things just for you. He is in charge of everything so he can make sure you are okay. He is using what you do to make sure that other people are okay. Because of Jesus’ great mercy, he is forgiving and loving you, inspiring you to forgive and love other people.

The boss will be back soon. In the meantime, he is helping you keep up the good work.

Prayer:
Now to him who is able, according to the power that is at work within us, to do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! 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 the Same Way – May 13, 2021

Thu, May 13, 2021 - 01:00am

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:10,11

In the Same Way
Daily Devotion – May 13, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 1:10,11
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210513dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Today the Christian Church remembers how Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after he rose from the dead. He had appeared to over 500 people during those forty days, and it was clear that he was alive. Would he keep appearing to them? It was a legitimate question on the minds of the people who saw Jesus ascend into the sky until a cloud hid him from their sight.

Two angels addressed what was on their minds. They said that Jesus had gone to heaven. And there would be no doubt about how he would return. It would not be in secret. It would not be to redo what he had already done.

When Jesus returns, it will be judgment day. He will appear in the sky quite visibly. Angels will accompany him. Souls from heaven will accompany him. Their bodies will rise from the dead, glorified, and the souls will reoccupy those glorified bodies. Those who are still alive will be gathered by the angels from around the world and brought to the place where Jesus is visibly returning.

You will be there. You will know it is judgment day. Jesus will return in the same way that those people saw him go into heaven. You can trust that at that moment, God will keep the promise the angel made, the one that says, “whoever believes in him will have eternal life.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when you return for judgment day, let me see you with joy as 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.

Repentance and Forgiveness – May 12, 2021

Wed, May 12, 2021 - 01:00am

Repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24:47

Repentance and Forgiveness
Daily Devotion – May 12, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 24:47
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210512dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

How do the speakers at a high school and college graduation boil down everything that happened during those years of education into something that captures all of it and holds the attention of the crowd? Many of them do not even try. They tell a few jokes, maybe a story, and then go for a memorable sentence general enough that most graduates can apply it to their lives.

When Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, he had his turn to boil down three years of education for his disciples into something that could apply to every one of their lives from that time forward. Here’s what he told them: repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations.

Repentance was necessary for every one of them, and it was necessary for every person to whom they would speak. Repentance is sorrow for sin and trust in God’s promises, and it is just as necessary for the nations today as it was back then.

Forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus is the key message of Christians. Nothing is more important. When the name of Jesus is put on something, it belongs to him, and he has put it on people from nations all around the world. They belong to him, and they have forgiveness of sins from him.

This has been a crazy school year. All around the world, graduation speakers are trying to summarize it. But you don’t have to be graduating this year to appreciate something that can be applied to every life as most important: repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, as I continue on the path of life, give me repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith 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.

Love One Another – May 11, 2021

Tue, May 11, 2021 - 01:00am

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11

Love One Another
Daily Devotion – May 11, 2021

Devotion based on 1 John 4:11
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210511dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Dig down deep enough, and we can find something unlovable about anyone. Sometimes we don’t have to dig too far. It’s obvious. How can we ever find the strength to love people who are difficult to love?

Dear friends, God loves us. He knows unlovable things about each of us, and he still loves us so much that he sent his one and only Son to be our Savior. When we are feeling unlovable or unloved, we can return to that comfort. God still loves us, and his opinion counts more than any other in the universe.

Dear friends, God also loves those other people. He sent his Son for them as well. Taking his opinion into account, we realize that it’s pretty bad if we withhold our love from people God loves. So we take the confidence we have from being loved by God and make ourselves vulnerable to love the people he has put into our lives.

Because we are frail humans, we may struggle with the proper way to express our love in any given situation. But it’s worth the struggle to figure out the best ways to demonstrate our love for one another. When we fail, it’s an appropriate act of love to apologize and ask for forgiveness. When others fail and apologize, it is an act of love to forgive them.

We love them because he first loved us. Whenever we are not feeling it, return to that truth, and pray for strength.

Prayer:
Lord God, strengthen my love for you and for others, in the name of 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.

This Is Love – May 10, 2021

Mon, May 10, 2021 - 01:00am

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10

This Is Love
Daily Devotion – May 10, 2021

Devotion based on 1 John 4:10
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210510dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

People want to know what love is. Teenagers want to know if their strong feelings for another person are puppy love, infatuation, or the real thing. People who have been burned in relationships wonder whether they were ever actually in love. On one day, the memes about love resonate, and the next day they ring hollow.

Do you want to know what real love is? Take a look at the attitudes and actions of God.

God loves you. He wants you to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. He is committed to the best for you. He knows the real you, the times you have disappointed him. He knows your weaknesses and failings. That doesn’t stop him from loving you.

While you were still a sinner, Jesus died for you. His death was a sacrifice because he didn’t have to do it. The Son of God could have continued living in glory for eternity. Instead, he took on a human body and a human soul, then suffered hell so that you wouldn’t have to. He let that body and soul separate in death, paying the complete price for your sins.

Some people want the best for you and are committed to you, but no one else has done what God has done for you. Even your gratitude and love for God are not the best example of love.

This is love: God loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Now you know what love is. But people don’t just want to know love. They want to experience it. In Jesus, you have experienced it, and you can heal from every harmful human relationship that has fallen short of perfect love.

Prayer:
Jesus, you are all compassion, pure love without boundaries. Enter my trembling heart and make me confident in your continuous perfect love. Amen.

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

A Special Plan For You – May 9, 2021

Sun, May 09, 2021 - 01:00am

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. . . . Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:13-18,23,24

A Special Plan For You
Daily Devotion – May 9, 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 139:13-18,23,24
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210509dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Our Bible passage for today gives us some remarkably comforting information. For example, it assures you that you are not a random accident of evolution. No, God personally knit you together in your mother’s womb. The end result is something fantastic, unique, and special.

As a special creation of God, God assures you that he knows the exact amount of days you will live on this earth. During your life, God has a specific plan mapped out just for YOU. When you stray from the plan, God pulls you back. And when you stray again, God does not leave you. He stays with you. He uses his Word to correct and comfort you.

Together with the writer of today’s Bible reading, you can say: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to treasure the physical life you have given to me as a gift. Even more so, help me to treasure the spiritual and eternal life you give to me as a gift through faith in Christ 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 Grace of God – May 8, 20 2021

Sat, May 08, 2021 - 01:00am

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us, so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
Psalm 67:1,2

The Grace of God
Daily Devotion – May 8, 20 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 67:1,2
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210508dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Everywhere on the internet, there are those fake ads where someone pretends that they have received a free phone or computer because the company has made a mistake. If you foolishly click on the link, you will always find out that it’s a scam. No company would give away valuable merchandise that you haven’t paid for, right?

But God has given away something more valuable than a phone or a computer, and you haven’t paid for it. God has given away salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life in heaven. We haven’t paid anything for these valuable gifts. In fact, we don’t deserve them, and we can’t do anything to pay for them. Instead, Jesus paid for them by shedding his innocent blood and dying for us on the cross. Because we don’t deserve the love of Jesus, we call God gracious. Because the gifts of God bring us many good things in our lives of faith, we say that he blesses us.

Why would God do that for us, especially when we don’t deserve it? Is he making a mistake?

God doesn’t make mistakes. He knows what he is doing. One of the reasons he blesses us is so that his ways might be known on earth. If people realized that there really were sweet deals on the internet, getting something valuable for nothing, they would be sharing those deals immediately with family and friends.

In the same way, when we realize the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, we find ways to post it and tell it and pass it on—across the street, across the internet, and across the world.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 249)
God of mercy, God of grace, show the brightness of your face. Shine upon us, Savior, shine; fill your Church with light divine, and your saving health extend to the earth’s remotest end. 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.

To God Be the Glory – May 7, 2021

Fri, May 07, 2021 - 01:00am

[Jesus said] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . . You are the branches. . . . This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:1,5,8

To God Be the Glory
Daily Devotion – May 7, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:1,5,8
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210507dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Everyone has a “born on” date. And we all have an “expiration” date. Everything in between is summed up with a “dash.” The question is, what do we do with the “dash” between those dates? What are we supposed to do with our lives?

Look to plant life for the answer. A vine produces grapes. A flower blooms. A stalk sprouts ears of corn. But it is the gardener who makes it happen. He chooses the seed and gives it life by planting it in good soil. He makes it grow and flourish by watering it and weeding around it. So, when a plant is fruitful, the glory belongs to the gardener.

This is the way for God’s people. From eternity he chose us to be his own. Through faith in his Son, our Savior, he gives us life. By his word, he causes us to grow and flourish in line with his will. So, when we are fruitful, it is because God is at work in us for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

So, what do we do with the dash? What are we supposed to do with our lives? We don’t all bear the same fruits, but we all have the same Father. He loves us. He gives us life and the ability to produce.

“So, whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and giving me life in your Son. Help me to glorify you in all that I think, and say, and do. 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.

It Will Be Done – May 6, 2021

Thu, May 06, 2021 - 01:00am

[Jesus said] “I am the vine; you are the branches. . . . If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
John 15:5,7

It Will Be Done
Daily Devotion – May 6, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:5,7
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210506dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Wow, that is one incredible promise! But what does it mean? It sounds like Jesus is some kind of genie in a jar. Do you want to be wealthy, healthy, lucky in love, successful? Ask for whatever you wish, and “Poof!” Jesus will grant it.

If that were true, then everyone would be a follower of Jesus.

So, does that mean Jesus is a liar? Of course not! Look closely at the promise Jesus makes to us. He says he is the vine, and his people are the branches. A branch doesn’t wish to become a butterfly. Neither do Jesus’ followers wish to be anything other than like Jesus.

Rooted in Jesus by faith and nourished by his Word, Jesus’ people grow in the grace and knowledge of him. They know that Jesus suffered, died, and rose again to set them free from sin and death and to set them free to thrive as God intends.

May this be true of you. Rather than praying “my will be done,” may your prayer be, “Heavenly Father, thy will be done.” And God’s answer will always be “Yes,” in Christ.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, accomplish in me the works that you have prepared in advance for me to do. Amen.

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

A Fruit Filled Life – May 5, 2021

Wed, May 05, 2021 - 01:00am

[Jesus said] “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:4,5

A Fruit Filled Life
Daily Devotion – May 5, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:4,5
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210505dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In technologically advanced cultures, people take much for granted. But there are still some remote places in the world where people don’t even have access to electricity.

The story is told of a man from such a place. He travels to a modern city and is amazed by all the electric lights. What a blessing these would be to his village! So, he took what little money he had and bought a bag full of bulbs and a light switch.

Back home, he excitedly hung the bulbs around his yard and on the front of his home. Puzzled, the other villagers asked him what he was doing. “Wait until dark, and you will see,” he replied.

When evening came, he flipped the switch, but nothing happened. No one had told him that without a connection to electricity, light bulbs are useless.

Without a connection to Jesus, we can’t do the good that God created us to do. But when God connects a person to Jesus by faith, the power of his forgiving love flows through them, enabling them to do what is pleasing to God.

Do you want to live a more God-pleasing life? The key is Jesus. Connect to Jesus through his Word. He will empower you to produce those God-pleasing fruits.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, keep me connected to Jesus through your Word so that I live a life that pleases 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.

Pruning Love – May 4, 2021

Tue, May 04, 2021 - 01:00am

[Jesus said] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . . Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”
John 15:1-3

Pruning Love
Daily Devotion – May 4, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:1-3
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210504dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Some people have a “green thumb.” I do not. My wife once gave me some cacti from Arizona. They could survive in the desert’s arid atmosphere but not under my artless attention.

That’s why I’m amazed by anyone who can not only keep plants alive but make them bigger or more beautiful. Have you ever seen those prize pumpkins at a county fair that weigh over 300 pounds? How do they do that? They direct all the nutrition to one or two blossoms rather than the whole plant.

God is such a skillful gardener. He wants us to produce the fruit of love in us. So, he connects us to Jesus, the true vine who gives us life. And he prunes away things that hurt our connection to Jesus, the vine.

The pruning process is often painful, but God isn’t punishing us. Jesus has already made you pure in the sight of God through faith in his holy, precious blood. Through his Word, the Bible, God is directing the flow of his grace so that the fruits of love we produce are more than mediocre—they are magnificent.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for planting me in the vine by your gospel of grace. Help me accept whatever pruning I need so that my life better displays your splendor. 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.

You Are a Planting of the Lord – May 3, 2021

Mon, May 03, 2021 - 01:00am

[Jesus said] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. . . . If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
John 15:1,2,6

You Are a Planting of the Lord
Daily Devotion – May 3, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:1,2,6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210503dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Spring is in the air. New life is signaling the death of winter. Bird songs fill the air. The grass is greening. Leaves are budding. Flowers are blooming. And soon, the fruit will be ripening on the vine.

Yet, amid the kaleidoscope and fragrance of flowers mingles the gray haze and pungent smell of brush fires. The smoke isn’t pleasant, but it is necessary. Gardeners need to trim away lifeless branches, rake up the waste, and burn it to protect the healthy plants and promote new growth.

In the garden of God, every believer in Jesus is a planting of the Lord. To God, the gardener, we are the display of his splendor (Isaiah 61:3) and the pleasing aroma of Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:15). We flourish best when our heavenly Father trims away everything that threatens our faith.

God’s gardening activity is always for our good, even though the smoke and shears may bring about tears. Sometimes God’s shears and smoke are a warning signal for us: Be on your guard against anything that can threaten your faith in Jesus.

Sometimes, God’s shears and smoke signal that God is at work in our lives, caring for us and correcting us when necessary so we can bear the fruit of love for him and our neighbor.

Prayer:
Lord God, mercifully forgive me for my sins and accept my thanks for graciously grafting me to Jesus, the true Vine. 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.

Stay Connected – May 2, 2021

Sun, May 02, 2021 - 01:00am

[Jesus said] “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. . . . If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
John 15:5,7

Stay Connected
Daily Devotion – May 2, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:5,7
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210502dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What do we mean when we say we have “connections?” We are implying that we have a relationship that gives us a special advantage. It gives us an advantage that we would not normally have.

Our Bible passage for today tells about a connection that we have—that we are connected to Jesus. That was not always the case. In fact, we had a disconnect. We were sinners. Because of sin, we were separated from God and earned his anger for breaking his commands. But God was not willing that we remain disconnected from him. He sent his Son, Jesus, who died in our place, taking the punishment we deserved as sinners. Then Jesus rose from the dead to assure us that his death counts for us.

The Easter message is clear—we are no longer cut-off from Jesus by our sin. He took it all on himself. By faith in the living Jesus, we are branches firmly attached to him and empowered to lead lives that give glory to God for our salvation!

Do we have a special connection? Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Stay connected to Jesus through his Word, and he will grant your wishes in ways that he knows are best for you. Jesus is our special advantage!

Prayer:
O dearest Jesus, as the true vine, you provide me with life and the ability to produce the fruits of faith. Keep me connected to you. Keep me growing in my love for you. Keep me close to you in this life and forever. Amen.

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

Jesus is Our Hope – May 1, 2021

Sat, May 01, 2021 - 01:00am

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

Jesus is Our Hope
Daily Devotion – May 1, 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 25:4,5
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210501dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Drivers are required to follow rules and regulations as they drive. Obey the speed limit. Stop on red; go on green. Don’t cross the centerline; stay in your lane. The laws for road travel are set for the safety of everyone. Accidents, injuries, or even worse, are caused when drivers disobey laws.

Just as drivers have rules to follow as they drive, we have rules to follow as we live our lives. They are rules given us by the God who made us. They are rules meant to keep us safe–both physically and spiritually.

Sadly, we don’t always follow God’s rules. We think we know better, so we do our own thing and go our own way. Had God left us to our own devices, we would have wandered away from him forever.

But, as we see from today’s Bible verse, God is our Savior. He sent Jesus from heaven who walked life’s path for us—perfectly. And for all the times we fall and fail to follow God’s way, Jesus bore our guilt and suffered the judgment we deserved. Instead of being charged with breaking the rules of the road of life, through everything that Jesus did for us we have a perfect record. Instead of crashing into the destruction we deserve for lawbreaking, we have the joy of God’s love and assurance of life with him forever.

Having seen how much God loves us, we become more and more confident that the path he has marked out for our lives must be best for us. And so, with the writer of today’s Bible passage, we say, “O LORD, teach me your paths.”

Prayer:
Jesus, I praise and honor you for being my Savior who walked the path of life perfectly for me and rescued me from the destruction I deserve for my sin. Guide me now to live and walk in God’s way out of thankfulness and joy for the hope that you give 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.

Shepherds Take Care of Their Sheep – April 30, 2021

Fri, Apr 30, 2021 - 01:00am

Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
Acts 20:28

Shepherds Take Care of Their Sheep
Daily Devotion – April 30, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 20:28
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210430dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

A friend invites you to worship with him on Sunday. He says, “Do you want to come to my church with me?” Two pastors get together for coffee, and each of them asks, “How are things going at your church?” Christians speak this way about the churches they attend because they have such a close connection to them. And this is a good thing.

But sometimes, this idea can go too far. People might say, “This is my church,” as they try to push their own personal agendas on the ministry of a congregation.

As a man named Paul spoke to the church leaders in the ancient city of Ephesus, he reminded them to whom the church belonged. He called the church “the church of God.” And then he explained why it belongs to God. God bought it with his own blood.

When you pay a lot for something, it is worth a lot to you. God paid a price for you and me too. He paid the price of his blood. Because Jesus was the innocent Son of God, his blood was infinitely precious—more valuable than all of the gold in the world. And Jesus paid the price with his blood, bleeding and dying to buy us out of our slavery to sin and death.

Now we belong to him. And the one who paid so much for us makes sure that we are taken care of. He chooses pastors and church leaders to care for the spiritual needs of Christians the way that shepherds take care of sheep. They have an important responsibility. But in the end, they are simply those chosen by God to care for his sheep.

Thank God for faithful pastors. Pray for them. Encourage them. And most of all, rejoice that, while pastors may come and go and churches rise and fall, the church of God remains as those forgiven, set free, and purchased with the precious blood of Christ.

Prayer:
Bought by your blood, Jesus, I belong to you. Amen.

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

What Great Love – April 29, 2021

Thu, Apr 29, 2021 - 01:00am

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1

What Great Love
Daily Devotion – April 29, 2021

Devotion based on 1 John 3:1
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210429dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

How does a father show love to his children? One father spends his hard-earned money to buy the best of everything for his children–whether it’s toys, computers, clothes, or cars. Another father pursues the best opportunities for his children—the best education, the best sports teams, the best music, or the best dance lessons. Another father works less in order to spend more time with his children. I suppose all of these can be motivated by a father’s love for his children.

But the Bible doesn’t say, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that he always gives us whatever we want, that he makes life easy for his children, or that he always makes them feel happy and loved.” No, it says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”

God the Father’s love for us is most clearly shown in his calling us children of God. When we were born into this world, we were descended from Adam and Eve, the first two people in the world. Because they disobeyed God, we inherit from them an inborn desire to live for ourselves, ignore God, and operate by our own rules. When we live that way, we can be called children of the devil.

The devil is worse than any deadbeat dad in this world. He doesn’t care for his children at all. He only wants to see them suffer because when they do, he thinks he is getting back at the God who kicked him out of heaven.

But God loved us so much that he couldn’t wait to rescue us from that abusive household and adopt us into his family. And so he sent his own Son to be the perfect child in our place, to be absolutely obedient, not to demand proof of God’s love, but to give proof of God’s love by his life. He did that so that we might be called children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ himself. As God’s children, we have a place in his family and a home with him forever. Now that’s love!

Prayer:
God, I delight to call you Father. Thank you for your lavish love. 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.

Authority Over Life and Death – April 28, 2021

Wed, Apr 28, 2021 - 01:00am

[Jesus said] “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
John 10:17,18

Authority Over Life and Death
Daily Devotion – April 28, 2021

Devotion based on John 10:17,18
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210428dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

If you’ve ever stood beside the bed of a loved one who is dying, you know how helpless that can feel—for them and you. The body grows weaker, the pain increases. Every treatment has been exhausted. There’s nothing more that can be done. All you can do is wait. You don’t get to decide when they die. God gives life and takes it away. It’s his timing, not ours.

Jesus was in the prime of life when he spoke the words of our Bible reading for today. Cancer wasn’t consuming him. His organs weren’t failing. But he knew he was going to die, and he knew when and how. Jesus was not just a human being. He was also the Son of God. As God, no one could take his life from him.

But he willingly laid down his life for you. The angry hatred of his enemies didn’t put him on the cross. His amazing love for you and me did. His enemies taunted him from the foot of the cross and told him to come down to prove that he was God. He could have done just that. But he stayed there and gave up his life to forgive those who fought against him and rescue those who ridiculed him.

And, just as he had the authority to lay down his life on his terms, Jesus had the authority to take his life back up again. He came back to life on Easter Sunday. His rising from the dead proves that he has taken care of your greatest need by overcoming sin and death for you. You can be at peace because Jesus has defeated death for you. And by his power, he will one day raise to eternal life with him all who trust in him as their Savior.

Prayer:
Jesus, when I face death, lead me to trust in you and know that you died and rose to give me 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 Good Shepherd – April 27, 2021

Tue, Apr 27, 2021 - 01:00am

[Jesus said] “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
John 10:11

Your Good Shepherd
Daily Devotion – April 27, 2021

Devotion based on John 10:11
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210427dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The Bible often compares people to sheep. Maybe that sounds like a compliment. After all, sheep are soft and gentle. They don’t hurt anything and seem pretty innocent.

But sheep are also pretty helpless. And sheep aren’t very smart. If someone compares you to a sheep today, they probably mean that you don’t think much for yourself but follow others blindly. That’s what sheep do, even if they are following right into danger or death. They have little or no ability to defend themselves from predators. They get lost easily. They need a shepherd to provide for them and defend and lead them. The people in Bible times would have understood the comparison well.

As unflattering as it sounds, you and I are aptly described as sheep. We are spiritually vulnerable and helpless. On our own, we’re unable to defend ourselves against the attacks of the devil, who attacks us like a wolf attacks a flock of sheep. We are easy targets.

At the same time, we aren’t just helpless victims. Too often, we choose to wander and get hopelessly lost. The Bible says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.”

And Jesus, our Shepherd, knows how much you and I are like sheep. He sees those wandering thoughts of anger or lust that we may just ignore as normal. He knows about the selfish motives that taint some of our kindest actions. He knows when our hearts covet worldly things, even if we never act on those desires.

But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, doesn’t leave his wandering sheep. He shows us his tender mercy by caring for every need of our bodies and our souls. He picks us up and carries us through the dangers of life. And he doesn’t abandon us when things get dangerous. He sees the devil coming, and he defends us. He would rather die for us than see us die in our sins. And that’s exactly what he did!

Your Good Shepherd won’t run away when life is dark and difficult. He stays with you through it all. You can count on it!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for rescuing me when I go astray. Never leave my side. 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 Good Shepherd Knows His Sheep – April 26, 2021

Mon, Apr 26, 2021 - 01:00am

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
John 10:14

The Good Shepherd Knows His Sheep
Daily Devotion – April 26, 2021

Devotion based on John 10:14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210426dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Who knows you better than anyone else? That one person who knows you inside and out. They know where you’ve been in the past and where you want to be in the future. They know what brings a smile to your face or a tear to your eye. They know the things that make you angry and the things that you fear the most. They know how you think and how you make decisions. They know just what makes you…you.

But they don’t know you completely, do they? They only know what you let them see or know. Maybe no one knows you better than you. Well, almost no one.

Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep.” The sheep he is talking about aren’t literal sheep. The sheep are people—you and me.

Jesus knows you. This is not just knowing the facts about you. It’s a much more personal and intimate knowledge. It’s like how a parent knows his child or a husband knows his wife, but even deeper. Jesus knows your past, present, and future. He knows your joys and sorrows, your thoughts, and emotions. He knows you right down to the core of your soul.

That means he also knows all your sins—every selfish thought, every hurtful word, every loveless action. He knows how desperately you need a solution to your sin and rescue from the hell you deserve, even if you don’t fully grasp or acknowledge that desperate need.

He knows those sins because he paid for every one of them when he laid down his life for you. In undeserved, self-sacrificing love, he knew you were powerless to save yourself. And so he gave up his own life in your place. He took all your sins on himself and willingly gave up his innocent life in exchange for the guilt of your sins when he died on a cross.

Yes, Jesus, your Good Shepherd, knows you, and he loves you. His death proves it. What a blessing to know that the Shepherd who loves us that much knows us and our needs!

Prayer:
Jesus, my Good Shepherd, nothing in my life is hidden from you. Remind me of your undying love for me 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.