WELS Daily Devotions

A Servant King – April 5, 2020

5 hours 35 mi

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

A Servant King
Daily Devotion – April 5, 2020

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200405dev.mp3
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These words of the prophet Zechariah were originally proclaimed to the people of Judah, who had become discouraged after returning to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon. Things just weren’t the same. The city, along with its glorious temple, was in ruins.

Zechariah spoke God’s word that pointed the people away from their present woes to the future and the coming of the Messiah: “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The coming of Christ was so certain that Zechariah wanted the people to look and “see” him. He wanted them to see that he would be a different kind of king.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey just a week before he would be crucified, it was clear that he was a different kind of king. From all outward appearances, he didn’t look like much of a king. There was no band of soldiers at his side flaunting their weapons and strength. Instead, he came with gentleness. Even his vehicle was lowly and unintimidating, not a powerful war-horse, but a wobbly colt. Instead of seizing his position with an army or by force, he earned it by doing everything that his heavenly Father commanded. Not only is Jesus perfectly righteous—without sin of any kind—but he takes his righteousness and gives it to his unrighteous people. He has salvation, and he freely distributes it.

Take comfort in the fact that Jesus humbled himself and came to be with us, to care for us, to die and rise again for us. Rejoice that this King came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness; I am your sin. I thank you that you became what you were not, so that I might be what I am not. 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.

Dry Bones – April 4, 2020

Sat, Apr 04, 2020

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
Ezekiel 37:1-3

Dry Bones
Daily Devotion – April 4, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 37:1-3
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200404dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Ezekiel was a prophet during some dark days for God’s Old Testament Israel. They had been worshiping false gods. Now they were living in exile far from home. Jerusalem’s temple lay in ruins. It appeared that all was lost, including the promise of the coming Savior. The people were like a pile of dry bones. They had no life, no future.

Without God’s blessing, there is no meaning to our life either. On our own, we’re the same as they were—guilty, helpless, and hopeless. In our sinful nature, each of us is like a pile of dry bones.

But even though they had given up on the Lord, he had not given up on them. The Lord said to Ezekiel, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.’” We don’t have to wonder which word of the Lord Ezekiel used. It’s the same word of the Lord that our dry bones long to hear every day, namely, that we have a flesh and blood Savior, a substitute—Jesus Christ. Unwrap those swaddling clothes and you’ll find a baby. When they crucified him, he bled. When he rose, his disciples could touch the nail prints in his hands. God’s Son, Jesus, has taken the hopelessness and death of all our sin on himself so that we might have life with God now and forever.

Whenever we hear about our Savior and what he means for us, the Lord is at work in us. He provides hopeless sinners hope. He gives condemned sinners a bright future. He rattles our bones together and breathes into us the breath of life.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, in whatever way my hope is dried up, be my resurrection from the dead. 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 Conquers Death – April 3, 2020

Fri, Apr 03, 2020

Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
John 11:43,44

Jesus Conquers Death
Daily Devotion – April 3, 2020

Devotion based on John 11:43,44
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200403dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Death is not a pleasant subject. Just talking about death makes people afraid. Our culture minimizes death as much as possible. It doesn’t even like to use the word death. There are dozens of alternatives for that word. But even though the doctor tells you that your spouse “passed on peacefully,” those words cannot change the fact that the one you loved is dead, and you are alone. No words can change the reality of death.

Except for Jesus’ word. Standing outside the tomb of his friend, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” Jesus yelled to a dead man, and dead men can’t hear. Jesus told a dead man to come out, and dead men can’t move. But Lazarus listened and came out!

Do you see the big picture here? Jesus has power over death because Jesus is God. That is why he can even conquer death.

Someday it will be you in the tomb. No matter how hard you try to extend your life through exercise, eating right, or medicine, your physical life will end. But on the day this world comes to an end, Jesus will speak his words to all the dead: “Come out!” And your body will rise because Jesus tells it to. This time it will be a body that cannot die.

The only way to face death without fear is through Jesus. We spend so much of life avoiding and fearing death, but the good news is that we don’t have to. We have a Savior who conquered death for us.

Prayer:
I praise you, dear Savior, for conquering death for me. Amen.

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

Deeply Moved by Death – April 2, 2020

Thu, Apr 02, 2020

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb.
John 11:38

Deeply Moved by Death
Daily Devotion – April 2, 2020

Devotion based on John 11:38
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200402dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Does death make you sad? Do you cry at funerals? If so, you’re in good company because Jesus did the same thing. Death hurts. The pain of death is sharp, and it can linger far too long. Jesus’ friend Lazarus had died, and when Jesus arrived at the tomb, he wept.

Isn’t that amazing? Not only does Jesus share in our humanity, but he also shares our pain over death. It hurts him because Jesus knows that death is not natural. He knows it is not the way God wants things to be. The Bible tells us, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). God didn’t create Lazarus to die. Sin caused him to die. God didn’t create you to die, but sin will cause you to die too.

And so, Jesus weeps at death. But he did more than that. He did something about it. He went to his own death to pay for the sins that cause death. You see, Jesus died on the cross because of sin. Only, it wasn’t his sin. It was the sin of the world, including yours. He took it away from you, made it his own, and he died for it. Sin was no match for him—he paid for it. Death was no match for him—he rose from it.

It is okay to mourn and to miss your departed loved ones. Jesus knows your pain. But more importantly, Jesus wants you to know that he has gone through death ahead of you and for you; and then conquered death ahead of you and for you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for dying and rising to give me hope even when I weep. 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 Savior You Need – April 1, 2020

Wed, Apr 01, 2020

“Yes, Lord,” [Martha] replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
John 11:27

The Savior You Need
Daily Devotion – April 1, 2020

Devotion based on John 11:27
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200401dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In the midst of mourning the loss of her brother Lazarus, Martha answered life’s most important question: “Who is Jesus?” Knowing the answer to that question is the difference between eternal life and eternal death, and Martha’s beautiful confession is the correct answer.

It is sad, then, that most responses to that question are wrong. Ask people today who Jesus is and, at best, you will hear that Jesus is a wise teacher who met a tragic end. There are probably as many different versions of who Jesus is as there are people answering the question.

Isn’t that a good thing though? In an age where you can personalize everything from your smartphone to your happy meal, why should religion be any different? The modern take on religion is that it is impossible to know anything with certainty. Therefore, you make your own truth, and everyone’s beliefs are really just opinions. What you believe about Jesus is just as true as what anyone else does, even if your beliefs contradict each other.

But can there really be different opinions about who Jesus is? Not according to Martha. Jesus is the Messiah—a Hebrew word that means “the Anointed One.” This word tells us Jesus’ job. Jesus is the specific One, chosen by God, to cover sinners with his perfection and wash their sins away in his blood. His blood can do that only because he is the Son of God.

Jesus is both God and man in the same person. He has to be. The Messiah has to be fully human to live under God’s law, obey it perfectly in our place, and die the death we deserve. He has to be true God so that his life and his death count for all people of all time.

All that content is packed into Martha’s confession. Notice her use of the word “the.” Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. That is exclusive. Jesus is not one option among many; he is the One and the Only. Thank God! Jesus is the exact Savior you need.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to always confess that you are the Messiah, the Son of God. 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 Resurrection and the Life – March 31, 2020

Tue, Mar 31, 2020

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” . . . Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
John 11:21,25,26

The Resurrection and the Life
Daily Devotion – March 31, 2020

Devotion based on John 11:21,25,26
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200331dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When someone you love dies, your first thought is probably of the hole it leaves in your life. You think about everything you went through together, and you want that person back. That is where Martha was at. Can you hear the frustration in her words? Martha knew that Jesus could have healed her brother but had not.

Doesn’t that make you wonder why? Whenever God does not fix things to our liking, we’re tempted to think that either God doesn’t have the power to help, or he doesn’t want to. Like Martha, it’s easy to want Jesus to immediately cure all our troubles.

So Jesus gently corrected her—and corrects us—with his promise: “I am the resurrection and the life.” You see, even more than he wanted Martha not to lose her brother, Jesus wanted her to know that he could do more than heal the sick.

Our biggest problem is death, and Jesus is the solution. Jesus came so that even if you get sick, even if your heart stops beating, you will never die. He came so that you can live forever with God in heaven. He came so that one day, even long after your body has been buried, it will rise and live again. He proved that he can do it by raising Lazarus from the dead.

That is why Jesus is the resurrection. He brings the dead back to life. In fact, Jesus is the life. He gave his life so that our place with God is alive and well. While you are on this earth, Jesus does not promise you a smooth ride, but he does promise you strength for the journey. As surely as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, those who believe in him will rise from the dead.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for being my resurrection and my life. Amen.

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

A Glorious Plan – March 30, 2020

Mon, Mar 30, 2020

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
John 11:17

A Glorious Plan
Daily Devotion – March 30, 2020

Devotion based on John 11:17
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200330dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Wait, did you read that correctly? Jesus was late! His friend Lazarus was sick. Jesus is the Son of God, who heals the sick. But when he heard that the friend he loved was ill, he waited around for two days. Then, when he finally went to see him, Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days!

Why did Jesus let Lazarus die? The obvious answer is that he had a plan. Yet that seems like the kind of trite cliché we share when we don’t know what else to say. You’ve probably heard it. Whenever life takes a turn for the worse, people like to say, “God has a plan.” It’s true that he does, but often we can’t see God’s plan. Can you imagine the frustration of Martha and her sister, Mary, as they waited for Jesus and watched their brother die?

Perhaps you can, because you know what it’s like to experience pain and wait for God. When life is awful, God’s plan does not always make sense. The cancer that won’t go into remission. The spouse who dies slowly. The loved ones you bury. It all makes you ask, “Jesus, I know you can help. Where are you?”

He is exactly where he needs to be. He always is. In the case of Lazarus, Jesus’ plan was to glorify God by miraculously raising Lazarus from the dead. For that to happen, Jesus had to allow Lazarus to die.

Remember Lazarus the next time you are suffering and wonder why God is allowing it. Remember that he does love you and that he does have a plan. Remember that the one who had the power to raise Lazarus from the grave has the power to raise you out of whatever you are enduring.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me strength in my troubles and faith in your glorious plan. 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.

Truly Unbreakable – March 29, 2020

Sun, Mar 29, 2020

…an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:4

Truly Unbreakable
Daily Devotion – March 29, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:4
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200329dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Everything breaks. Everything gets old. Everything wears out. Everything fades away.

The longer you live on this earth, the more you realize how true this is. That faded rust bucket you see on the highway was once pristine and spotless. The eyesore of a house you see in the old part of downtown once smelled of new wood and fresh paint. The arthritic, overweight coach was once a lightning-fast force of nature on the football field. The old woman in the Alzheimer’s unit was once a quick-witted life of the party.

But in this fallen world, everything goes away. Whatever is young, new, strong, and fast does not remain that way for long. It all spoils and fades, and then it disappears. Except for Jesus and absolutely everything that he promises.

Because the almighty Son of God died for our sin and rose from death, he fills our cup to overflowing with gifts “that can never perish, spoil, or fade.” His forgiveness of our sins will never break. His promise of eternal life will never break. His friendship will never fade away.

Everything in this world breaks. Except for what we receive from Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in this fallen world where everything seems to wear out, remind us that in you we possess what will never perish, spoil, or fade. 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.

Prepare – March 28, 2020

Sat, Mar 28, 2020

This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
Matthew 3:3-6

Prepare
Daily Devotion – March 28, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 3:3-6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200328dev.mp3
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God gave John the Baptist the mission of being the forerunner for the Savior God had promised in the Old Testament. He prepared the way for the Lord’s first coming by preaching that people should “make straight paths for him.” Just as people in those days cleared and leveled their roads for the arrival of their ruling king, so people should clear the way in their hearts for the arrival and rule of their spiritual King, Jesus.

Prepare! That’s still a vitally important message for us today. We prepare ourselves for Christ’s reign in our hearts and for seeing him at his second coming by believing his Word. We prepare by daily repenting of our sin and battling against our sinful nature with the power that God gives us in his Word. We focus each and every day on Christ and are filled with the peace that he paid for our sins.

When people came out to hear John’s message, they were moved to confess their sins and they were baptized. The baptisms that John performed were “for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). Baptism is a wonderful gift of God in which he connects the power of his saving Word to water and gives us the forgiveness of sins. The Bible says, “Be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). Christians can look back on their baptisms and be assured that God has washed away their sins. They can be confident that they are members of God’s holy, eternal family. If you are not baptized, God wants to fill your heart with the peace that your sins are washed away and give you the blessed hope of eternal life. That’s how much he loves you in Christ.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for giving us your Son. Thank you for baptism through which you give us the forgiveness of sins. Preserve us as loved ones of your family and help us prepare our hearts every day for you to live there and bless us. 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.

Came to Serve – March 27, 2020

Fri, Mar 27, 2020

[Jesus said] “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:26-28

Came to Serve
Daily Devotion – March 27, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 20:26-28
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200327dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Have you seen the WWJD bracelets? WWJD stands for “What would Jesus do?” I wear one of these bracelets as a way of reminding myself that God has called me to follow Jesus, to try and imitate him in all that I do.

Unfortunately, just wearing a bracelet doesn’t mean I actually do what it says. Following Jesus, imitating him is hard for many reasons. For one, Jesus is perfect, while we are broken sinners, who are inclined towards selfishness. In addition, it can be hard to know what Jesus would actually do if he were in our situation.

But Jesus’ words to his disciples can lead us in the right direction. Jesus said that we are to be servants to others, just as he lived a life of service to all by giving up his life.

So what does that look like for you today? Maybe that means you look for ways to serve your spouse or children. Maybe you visit and care for your next-door neighbor. Maybe you see a need in your community that is not being met and do something about it. When you live a life of service, you are letting your light shine so that people might see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

When you make it your ambition to imitate Jesus, you will also immediately see how far short you fall from his example. That is why Jesus came to be more than just a good example. He came to be your substitute. He came to give his life as a ransom for your sins. Knowing that your sins of self-service are forgiven allows you to start fresh today and serve others rather than simply serving yourself. Not only will this be a blessing to them, but you will discover a joy and fulfillment that serving yourself could never bring.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for serving me by giving your life. Lead me to give my life in service towards others. 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 So With You – March 26, 2020

Thu, Mar 26, 2020

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:24-28

Not So With You
Daily Devotion – March 26, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 20:24-28
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200326dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Government officials are a good gift of God, and God has called us to respect such leaders (Romans 13:1-7). But during an election year, it can be hard to watch all the backbiting and nastiness among politicians.

Jesus saw this same kind of attitude among his disciples. They were filled with envy, jockeying for positions of honor. He said that’s how the government officials of their day acted. They fought for places of power and control at any cost. But then he looked at his disciples and said, “Not so with you.”

You see, Jesus’ kingdom has different values than the kingdoms of this world. In the kingdoms of this world, it is all about power and prestige. It’s about lording control over others.

Jesus says that his kingdom is completely different. In Jesus’ kingdom, the first are last and the last are first. The greatest are those who are servants and slaves to all.

Jesus didn’t just preach these values, he lived them to the extreme. He did not take a throne of power, but he was lifted up on a cross in weakness. He did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life on the cross to buy our freedom from our sins.

Now Jesus calls us to live in his kingdom and spread the values of his kingdom to everyone. This means we protect and care for children and all the marginalized. It means we love those who have lost their way. It means we forgive others as we have been forgiven by Jesus. What a different, and wonderful, way to live!

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for the blessing of government to keep outward peace in society. Thank you for the even greater gift of my King, Jesus Christ, who rules in my heart with 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.

Pride – March 25, 2020

Wed, Mar 25, 2020

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.
Matthew 20:20-22

Pride
Daily Devotion – March 25, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 20:20-22
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200325dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Pride has been called the sin behind every other sin. Pride is thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. Pride keeps us from thinking we need God’s forgiveness. Pride is spiritually dangerous.

It was pride that led two disciples, James and John, to ask Jesus if they could sit in places of honor in his kingdom. They believed that they were worthy of places of honor and respect. They wanted to make sure they got those special seats before the other disciples did. Their pride even led them to believe they could drink the same cup of suffering that Jesus would drink. But Jesus graciously responded, “You don’t know what you are asking.” Their pride kept them from hearing how foolish they sounded.

It can be easy to point out pride in others, like the disciples, but our arrogance keeps us from seeing it in ourselves. Pride blinds us from our own pride. So, how do we know when we are falling into the sin of pride? If we are feeling entitled, if we are filled with anger or arrogance, we can assume that pride is lurking behind those feelings.

So, what can a person do to extinguish pride? First, acknowledge it and confess it before God. Next, receive God’s forgiveness for your feelings of pride. Finally, fix your eyes on God. You see, when your eyes are turned upward towards your glorious, powerful, gracious God, it becomes much harder to look down on anyone else.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive me for my pride, for puffing myself up and looking down on others. Lead me to grasp your glory, power, and grace so that I walk in true humility. 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.

Joseph – March 24, 2020

Tue, Mar 24, 2020

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Genesis 37:5-8

Joseph
Daily Devotion – March 24, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 37:5-8
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200324dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

One of the pleasures of growing up is discovering our capabilities. Maybe you found out that you could write well or speak well. Or maybe music has always come naturally to you. Or maybe you are a math whiz. It can be exciting to discover what we can do.

The problem comes when we forget how we receive our talents. We might forget that our talents are gifts of God to be used to serve others.

That’s what happened to a teenager named Joseph in the first book of the Bible. When Joseph was 17, God gave him a dream that one day he was going to be a great leader. In fact, God told him that even his own brothers would bow down to him. Instead of humbly thanking God for this gracious prophecy, Joseph bragged about it to his brothers.

Instead of self-promoting, Jesus showed us a different way to live. Although Jesus was God, he did not use his power to promote himself over people. As the apostle Paul wrote, Jesus made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, he became obedient to death, even death on the cross. (Philippians 2:6-11) It was on that cross that Jesus paid for all of our sins of self-promotion and self-service.

Now that we have seen Jesus’ willingness to serve us rather than be served, let’s follow Jesus’ example today, thanking God for the gifts and talents he has given us so that we may serve others.

Prayer:
Lord God, every good and perfect gift comes from you. Help me to use the gifts that you have given me for your glory and in service to my neighbor. 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.

Favoritism to Love – March 23, 2020

Mon, Mar 23, 2020

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Genesis 37:3,4

Favoritism to Love
Daily Devotion – March 23, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 37:3,4
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200323dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When I see my kids act out, it feels like I’m looking into a mirror. Not only do my kids look like me, but they sin like me too. I wish I had just passed on my physical traits to the next generation. Unfortunately, I passed on my sinful, spiritual traits as well.

The same thing happened to a man named Abraham. God told Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. Abraham passed this special promise on to his descendants. But that is not the only thing that he gave to the next generation. He passed on the sin of favoritism as well.

You see, Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Abraham favored Isaac over Ishmael, and it led to hostility. Isaac repeated the same sin. He also had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Isaac favored Esau over Jacob, and it led to hostility. By now, you would think that this family would have learned its lesson, but Jacob followed the same pattern. Jacob favored his son Joseph who was born from his favorite wife Rachel. And he wasn’t subtle about his preference. He made Joseph an ornate robe. And guess what? it led to hostility in the family.

Unfortunately, favoritism didn’t stop with Joseph. Favoritism continues to affect our families whenever we love one of our family members more than another.

Thankfully, we have a heavenly Father who does not show favoritism. He loves the people of this world equally—so much so that he sacrificed his son, Jesus, in order to save all of them from their sins, including their sins of favoritism. This means he has saved you, too. You are forgiven for every time you played favorites and hurt someone by doing so. Take comfort in that forgiveness today. And, thank your heavenly Father by refusing to play favorites.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, forgive me for repeating the sins of the past generations. And lead me to follow your ways. 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.

Return to the Lord – March 22, 2020

Sun, Mar 22, 2020

Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
Hosea 6:1,2

Return to the Lord
Daily Devotion – March 22, 2020

Devotion based on Hosea 6:1,2
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200322dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What kind of relationship do you have with God? Do you wonder at times—especially when you feel the guilt of a certain sin? What does a person do at such a time? Some try to run away from God. But it doesn’t work to run away from guilt.

Far better is to follow the instruction of the prophet Hosea: “Come, let us return to the LORD.” Even though we have so often sinned against him, God wants us to come back to him. He sometimes even allows us to experience the consequences of our sins so that we wake up and realize we have gone in the wrong direction. His intent is that we wake up and return to him. When we do, he forgives us for the sake of his Son, Jesus, who lived and died to earn forgiveness for us.

His goal is, “That we may live in his presence.” Isn’t that something? The almighty, eternal God of the universe wants you with him. What joy! What comfort! It is wonderful to know that, through Jesus, you can spend this day with the Lord, and to know that he wants to and will spend his day with you. How could you have anything but a great day?

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you know that I struggle and sin every day. Amazingly you also forgive me every day. Impress this good news on my heart so that I remain faithful to you, even during the difficult times of my life. Amen.

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

Getting Back On Course – March 21, 2020

Sat, Mar 21, 2020

[Jesus] answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except for the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
Matthew 12:39

Getting Back On Course
Daily Devotion – March 21, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 12:39
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200321dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In the fall of 1985 a 45-ton humpbacked whale, supposedly heading for the warmer ocean water to the south, made its way into the San Francisco Bay, swam up the Sacramento River, and “landed” in a slough. A great deal of effort was required to get it back to its original habitat.

Human beings also go off course at times. One who did so deliberately was the prophet, Jonah. God had called him to preach the Word in Nineveh, the pagan capital of the Assyrian Empire. But like the whale, he got into the wrong channel. Instead of going east to Nineveh, he boarded a freighter at Joppa and sailed west on a ship that was bound for Tarshish on the other end of the Mediterranean Sea. But God put Jonah back on course. During a severe storm, Jonah was cast overboard and was swallowed by a large fish. Preserved alive, the prophet heeded the second call from God and preached repentance in Nineveh.

Jesus referred to Jonah’s experience and applied it to himself: “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). By being crucified, buried, and raised from the dead, Jesus Christ put a lost and floundering humanity back on course—the course of salvation by faith in him.

Prayer: Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 433
Jesus Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from thee:
Jesus, Savior, pilot 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.

The Gift of Sight – March 20, 2020

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
John 9:35-38

The Gift of Sight
Daily Devotion – March 20, 2020

Devotion based on John 9:35-38
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200320dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

What would it be like for an adult who was born blind suddenly to be able to see? They might look upon their family and friends for the first time but not even recognize them! They might struggle for a while to connect their newfound vision to the more familiar worlds of sound and touch. But what a wonderful challenge! How much fun they would have trying to make sense out of everything they could now see around them!

Jesus gave this gift to a man that we read about in the gospel of John. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about the man’s adjustment to being able to see but rather describes a different transition from blindness to sight. Through his encounter with Jesus, the formerly blind man also gained the gift of spiritual sight, which was faith in his Savior. His spiritual vision wasn’t perfect right away—he didn’t even recognize that God’s Son was standing right in front of him. But he was eager to learn and put his new sight into practice by worshiping the one who opened his eyes.

Whenever people are brought to faith by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, it is like helping them to see for the first time. They see God as he truly is—gracious, merciful, and powerful to save. They see themselves as God sees them—as sinners who are loved anyway for the sake of Jesus. They may not see everything clearly right away. It takes time to adjust to this new vision. But what a blessing to spend the rest of your life learning to see things the way God sees them!

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, don’t let me take my vision for granted—either physical or spiritual sight. Open my eyes to see people and things as you see them. Help me always to keep my eyes focused on Jesus as my one true 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.

Work While It Is Day – March 19, 2020

Thu, Mar 19, 2020

[Jesus said] As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
John 9:4,5

Work While It Is Day
Daily Devotion – March 19, 2020

Devotion based on John 9:4,5
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200319dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

In the part of the world where I am privileged to serve, power outages are not uncommon. Backup batteries and power generators can buy extra time, but eventually, they also run out of charge or fuel. As soon as the power goes out, we know to quickly save any work we are doing on the computer or all may be lost once the battery dies. There may be other tasks to be done by candlelight, but any computer work is done for the day!

Missionaries and evangelists have been sent throughout the world with the life-saving, life-giving message of the gospel. Many people have been brought to faith in Jesus through their efforts, but there is much more work to be done. Sadly, in some countries, the open window of opportunity for evangelism may be rapidly closing. The gospel is still powerful to save, but anti-Christian governments and cultural movements increasingly hinder the work of those who preach Christ crucified. These missionaries know that they must “work while it is day.”

Jesus made the most of every opportunity he had while he was on earth. He accomplished everything his Father sent him to do, reaching out to the lost, comforting those who mourned, healing both bodies and souls. And then when the time came, he laid down his life for us so that we might live with him.

Do you know someone who still doesn’t know the peace of forgiveness in Jesus? Perhaps you have been waiting for just the right time to speak with them about our Savior. I want to encourage you not to wait any longer. Our time in this world is a lot shorter than any of us realize. The opportunity to speak today may no longer be there tomorrow. Keep in mind the hope and joy you have from knowing what Jesus Christ has done for you. Wouldn’t you want others to have those same blessings? And wouldn’t they appreciate having that peace sooner rather than later?

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, keep me focused on the opportunities you give me to serve you and others while I can. 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 We Did Not Deserve – March 18, 2020

Wed, Mar 18, 2020

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
John 9:1-3

What We Did Not Deserve
Daily Devotion – March 18, 2020

Devotion based on John 9:1-3
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200318dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

You are probably familiar with the concept of karma. Some people explain karma as: “What goes around comes around.” If you do good, good things will come your way. If you do evil, watch out! But is this truly the way things work? What have you observed in your life or the lives of others? Are people always rewarded for their good deeds? Do evildoers always suffer the consequences of their actions?

Jesus’ disciples didn’t believe in karma, but they did assume that suffering was the result of evil actions. They were puzzled, then, when they came across a man who was born blind. How could he have done something so bad in the womb as to deserve a life of blindness? But if his parents were the ones cursed with a blind son because of their sin, how was that fair to the child?

Jesus told his disciples that the blindness wasn’t the consequence for a specific sin committed by either the man or his parents. In reality, the consequences of sin are far worse. The Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” The punishment for disobeying God is complete separation from the source of life for all eternity. This is what we all had coming to us. The Bible tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But the Lord does not treat us according to what we have done. Instead, he shows mercy to all who repent. God’s works of love are displayed in us when he calls us to see that his Son, Jesus has already taken our punishment upon himself. God treats believers as his children, with love and care, even though we have not earned that status ourselves. His blessings to us are a gift. We may still suffer while we are in this fallen world, but the Lord will one day rescue us from it all and take us to himself in glory.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for treating me according to Jesus’ good deeds and not my own. 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 Hears Our Prayers – March 17, 2020

Tue, Mar 17, 2020

LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
Psalm 143:1,2

God Hears Our Prayers
Daily Devotion – March 17, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 143:1,2
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20200317dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Ten-year-old Mason was feeling frustrated and a little desperate. The boy had been trying to get his father’s attention during breakfast to explain that he needed a parent to sign a permission slip for school. Today was the class field trip. And although Mason knew he had been misbehaving recently—and was even grounded all last week–he was still hopeful that dad would give him permission to go. Mason pleaded with his father, “Dad, please? I’ve done all my chores this week as Mom asked me to. I promise I’ll behave!” Dad, however, was distracted by an ongoing group text with his boss and a co-worker about an important project they were presenting that day. In his frustration, Mason almost shouted at his father: “Dad, did you hear what I said?!”

Unlike earthly parents, our heavenly Father is never too busy or distracted to hear our cries for help. But still, it so often seems that when we pray there is no answer—or at least, not the answer we hoped for. So how can we convince God to answer our requests for help? Can we, like young Mason, point to the good things we have done or offer promises to improve? Will our good deeds sway a holy God and move him to bless his obedient children? Sadly, no. We must confess with the psalm writer, “No one living is righteous before you.” As one pastor has warned, “Never pray for God to give you only what you deserve—you won’t like the result.”

Rather, listen to how the writer of this psalm appeals to God’s mercy. It is the Lord’s loving-kindness that moves him to rescue us. We have not been faithful to God, but he has kept his promises to us. He forgives us for the sake of his Son, Jesus Christ. So we pray in Jesus’ name, reminding the Lord of the sacrifice he made so that we might become his children.

Prayer:
Lord God, only you can rescue me from the many troubles in my life. I ask you to help me because you are a kind and loving Father and not because I have earned or deserved it. 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.