WELS Daily Devotions

What Saturday Means for Sunday – April 20, 2019

13 hours 20 mi

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Matthew 27:62-66

What Saturday Means for Sunday
Daily Devotion – April 20, 2019

Devotion based on Matthew 27:62-66
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190420dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

After Jesus’ death, his enemies remembered that he had promised to rise from the dead. They worried that the disciples would steal Jesus’ body, then say that he had risen. So, they asked Pilate to allow them to post a guard and seal Jesus’ tomb. Pilate agreed.

Interestingly, these actions by Jesus’ enemies and a Roman governor on Saturday of Holy Week are important evidence for Jesus’ resurrection on Easter morning. Historians tell us that if a Roman guard fell asleep while on duty, the punishment was death. In addition, to break the seal of the governor also resulted in a death penalty. So, what do you think were the chances that the disciples (or anyone else) would have been able to steal Jesus’ body?

The recording of these events on Holy Saturday gives us a wonderful assurance. If Jesus’ tomb was opened, it was because God himself opened it. If Jesus’ tomb is empty, it is because Jesus left the tomb of his own volition.

On Easter Sunday, that is exactly what happened. And when the angel rolled back the stone it revealed an empty tomb. How remarkable that God used the actions of unbelievers on Saturday to bring us wonderful assurance that Jesus really rose on Sunday.

Prayer:
Lord, today I thank you that you have chosen to tell me about the events of that first Holy Saturday. Fill my heart with the joy of knowing you really rose from the tomb. 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 Good Friday – April 19, 2019

Fri, Apr 19, 2019

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.”
Matthew 27:41-42

A Good Friday
Daily Devotion – April 19, 2019

Devotion based on Matthew 27:41-42
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190419dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Ironically, the religious leaders standing at the foot of Jesus’ cross had it right. Jesus came not to save himself, but to save us! Jesus came not for his benefit, but for our benefit. Jesus stayed on that cross not because it was it was helpful for him, but because it was VITAL for us!

So we are filled with awe on this day. Imagine! God loves you so much that he was willing to go to the cross for you. God loves you so much that he was willing to lay down his life for you!

The devil can try to lead you to doubt, to wonder if God really loves you, but the cross drives those doubts away. Look! Jesus is up there, on that cross! He’s up there for you! Because he loves you! He’s up there because he wanted to win forgiveness for you! He’s up there because he wanted to spend eternal life with you!

And oh yes, let’s be clear; if Jesus had wanted to come down, he had the ability to do so. And that makes it all the more beautiful, doesn’t it? He did all this—went through all this suffering—willingly. That’s how much he loves you.

No wonder we call this Friday, “Good.”

Prayer:
O precious Savior, forgive me for my sins. Assure me that you have saved me! Drive doubts out of my heart 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.

The Perfect Servant – April 18, 2019

Thu, Apr 18, 2019

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”
John 13:3-4

The Perfect Servant
Daily Devotion – April 18, 2019

Devotion based on John 13:3-4
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190418dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“If I was all-powerful, what would I do?” Have you asked yourself that question? Just try to imagine the possibilities.

Well, Jesus was all-powerful. And, on Thursday night of Holy Week, what did he do with that power? He used it to wash his disciples’ feet. Washing feet was the job for the most menial servant. It was an unpleasant job. In Jesus’ day, people walked on roads which were dusty or muddy. And, remember that animals also traveled on those roads, leaving behind their, well, you know. So foot-washing was a nasty job!

Jesus was willing to do that nasty job. Even though he is all-powerful, he chose to set aside his power and his rights so he could serve.

As Jesus’ followers, he calls on us to have the same servant-like attitude. He calls on us to put the needs of others before our own—the needs of our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, our co-workers.

And when we fail, Jesus tells us to look to him for forgiveness. After all, he promises to give his followers credit for his perfectly loving life. And, in exchange, he took our perfectly sinful lives to the cross. So now, in God’s eyes, we are perfectly loving servants.

Let’s live that way. May Jesus’ willingness to serve us perfectly move us to serve others just as willingly and selflessly.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank You for serving me! Fill my heart with gratitude and open my eyes to opportunities to serve others this day, even as you served 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.

Holy Wednesday – April 17, 2019

Wed, Apr 17, 2019

NO BIBLE READING FOR TODAY

Holy Wednesday
Daily Devotion – April 17, 2019

Devotion based on Holy Wednesday
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190417dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Did you notice something missing? Yes—there is no Bible reading for today’s devotion. Why?

Well, because we are walking through Holy Week, considering some of the things Jesus said and did on each of the days. What do we know about Wednesday? Nothing.

Yes, God chose to record absolutely nothing that happened on Holy Wednesday. Not a word.

“BUT…BUT!” we sputter, “this is the most important week of all time! Surely there were interesting things said or done on that day!”

Probably. But God knew that we didn’t need to know any of it. And so, he didn’t tell us.

This reminds us of an important truth: While the Bible gives us all that we need to know to get to heaven, it doesn’t tell us all that we would like to know. There are many things that God chose not to tell us: when the angels were created, when the Last Day will be, exactly what heaven will be like . . . and what happened on Wednesday of Holy Week.

Hopefully, knowing that God hasn’t told us all we’d like to know will lead us to treasure, even more, the things which God has told us! If God put it into the Bible, it means He thought it was really important for us. If it’s in the Bible, it’s a treasure from God.

One of my favorite professors used this illustration: “When you read the Bible, imagine that at the top of the page it says, Dear ____ (fill in your name). Then comes the message of the page, and at the bottom it’s signed, ‘Love, God.’ And of course it’s signed in red—the blood of Jesus. For on each page of the Bible God is speaking directly to you, telling you about how much he loves you, pointing you somehow, some way to Jesus and the salvation which he won for you.”

So, yes, we know nothing of what happened on Wednesday of Holy Week. That’s okay. In fact, we pray that it leads us to treasure all the more the wonderful things God has told us!

Prayer:
O Savior, lead me to treasure all that you have told me in your Word, that I might cling to you all 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.

God is in Control – April 16, 2019

Tue, Apr 16, 2019

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
Matthew 26:1-5

God is in Control
Daily Devotion – April 16, 2019

Devotion based on Matthew 26:1-5
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190416dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Are you a controller? It seems that most people like to be in control of the situations around them, or at least think they are in control.

On Tuesday of Holy Week the chief priests and elders of the people thought they were in control. They schemed to arrest Jesus and kill him. They would wait until after the Passover festival. But, eventually, they were sure, they would get rid of him.

But who was really in control? It wasn’t the chief priests and elders. It was Jesus! Even as the chief priests and elders made their plans to arrest and kill Jesus after the Passover, Jesus was telling his disciples that it would happen during the Passover. Who was in charge? Jesus was!

And so he remains in charge today. True, we often question his control and even fight against his control. But, thankfully, God’s control doesn’t depend on how well we follow him. God remains in control whether we willingly bow to his control or fight tooth and nail against it.

Knowing that Jesus was in control of the Holy Week events makes them all the more beautiful, because it reminds us that he was doing all this willingly, because he loved us! Thank God that Jesus was in control then, and that he is still in control today.

Prayer:
O Savior, forgive me for questioning your control. Assure me that you are ruling all things for the good of all of your people, including 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.

A Withered Fig Tree – April 15, 2019

Mon, Apr 15, 2019

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
Mark 11:20-21

A Withered Fig Tree
Daily Devotion – April 15, 2019

Devotion based on Mark 11:20-21
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190415dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

During this Holy Week, we are going to “walk” with Jesus in our daily devotions. Each day we will consider something Jesus said or did on that day of Holy Week. So, today’s event took place on Monday. The day before, Jesus had been hungry, and he looked for figs on a particular fig tree. Finding none, Jesus had said, “May you never bear fruit again.” Only one day later, the fig tree was withered!

Jesus was using the fig tree to illustrate an important, and sobering, reality. Those who refuse to live for the Lord, who fail to produce spiritual fruit, will eventually fall under his judgment.

How do we avoid falling under that judgment? Jesus’ response to Peter helps us. He told Peter to, “Have faith in God.” In other words, this event was meant to cement and encourage trust in the hearts of the disciples. How?

They heard Jesus speak. Then, they saw that his words came true.

And so it will always be! When Jesus speaks, you can be sure that it will happen. When he says, “God so loved the world,” you can be sure it’s true. When he says that baptism saves, you can be sure it’s true! When he says that he’s preparing a place for you in heaven, you can be sure it’s true! When he says that he is with you always, you can be sure it’s true.

“But, I can’t (always) see it! I can’t always tell it’s happening!” True, we can’t always see that Jesus is keeping his Word. But, when we remember how the fig tree on the road to Jerusalem withered, just as Jesus said, we can be sure everything else will happen just as he said.

Prayer:
O Savior, open my ears to hear your Words. Then convince my heart that Your promises are true! Amen.

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

Expectations versus Reality – April 14, 2019

Sun, Apr 14, 2019

As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Luke 19:36-38

Expectations versus Reality
Daily Devotion – April 14, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 19:36-38
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190414dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the crowds were expecting a king. They lined the streets hoping to see a mighty monarch. They waved palm branches and put their cloaks on the road seeking to honor an approaching regent. They shouted their praises and proclaimed their loyalty wanting to welcome a royal benefactor. But what the people expected and what they eventually saw were two different things. Jesus had not come to conquer. He had come to be crucified.

The people in Jerusalem were disappointed because Jesus wasn’t the king they were expecting. Too often I experience the same feeling. The Bible clearly teaches who Jesus is and what he came to accomplish. Still, I am tempted to make Jesus conform to my expectations. I want him to fulfill my whims and desires. I want him to bend and conform to my will.

Thankfully, that is not who Jesus is nor what he came to do. He came to fight for me when I was powerless against sin. He came to release me when I was bound and imprisoned by sin. He came to die so that I might live. Thank you, Jesus, for being far more than I could have ever expected.

Prayer:
O precious Jesus, as you entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, you established your rule and power. Give me the strength of faith to see you as you are. Free me from my faulty expectations. Fill me with the confidence to acknowledge you as my Lord and Savior, my Redeemer and King. 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.

Changed Hearts – April 13, 2019

Sat, Apr 13, 2019

The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
Luke 20:19

Changed Hearts
Daily Devotion – April 13, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 20:19
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190413dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

It is strange and sad that the very people who should have rejoiced the most in Jesus’ coming were the ones who became his bitterest enemies. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day sought to silence him. The hardness of their hearts became even more apparent after Jesus used a parable to uncover their unfaithfulness to God. The only thing which prevented them from arresting Jesus was the crowd of people who listened attentively.

Sadly, like those religious leaders, we do not always want to listen to what Jesus has to say. We don’t always appreciate the guilt of our sin being uncovered. There is a part of us that bristles with anger at his accusations. We want to silence Jesus’ criticism and correction.

While we don’t always like the truth, we need to hear it. We need to understand we are sinners and recognize that, without Jesus, we would be under God’s just judgment. Only when we recognize these things are, we ready to hear the good news of his forgiveness.

And when we do, this precious message of God’s undeserved love in Jesus breaks through the hardness of our hearts and brings us to trust in him. This precious message of God’s undeserved love in Jesus leads us to rejoice in his will and follow it in our lives. What a wonderful change of heart!

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, I thank you for breaking through the hardness of my heart and bringing me to the joy of knowing you and your Son. Continue to keep my heart as your dwelling place until I join you in heaven. Amen.

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

Reach for the Finish Line – April 12, 2019

Fri, Apr 12, 2019

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Reach for the Finish Line
Daily Devotion – April 12, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:13-14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190412dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I loved to watch the Summer Olympics when I was growing up. The track and field events were of special interest. I couldn’t wait to see how far Carl Lewis would leap in the long jump and how fast the sprinters would finish the 100-meter dash. It was especially exciting when it was a close race and the sprinters would stretch forward as far as they could, trying to be the first to cross the line.

That’s the picture I have in my mind when I read these verses from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Like a good sprinter, Paul lived his life of faith eagerly stretching for the finish line. He couldn’t wait to finish the race and find eternal life with Jesus.

Do you live your faith with the same kind of eagerness and effort? If you are like me, the answer is: not always. This world has a way of weighing us down. The pressures, worries, and anxieties of this world slow our pace. Temptations trip us up and lead us off track. Our life of faith can be exhausting, especially when we take our eyes off of Jesus.

God’s Word encourages us to focus on the prize—to keep our eyes on the wonderful heaven that Jesus has prepared for us. He promises to give his followers an eternity of perfect peace and rest—a place with no pain, sorrow, or fear, a place full of joy, glory, and praise, a place where we will never grow weary or weighed down. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

When life gets you down, keep your eyes on Jesus and reach for the finish line.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, life in this sinful world can be so exhausting. Help me to keep my eyes on the heavenly goal. Fill me with your love that I may always stretch for the finish line. 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.

Forget What is Behind – April 11, 2019

Thu, Apr 11, 2019

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Forget What is Behind
Daily Devotion – April 11, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:13-14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190411dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I loved going to summer camp when I was a kid. We had so much fun outdoors playing all kinds of games and sports. One summer, we spent much of our time playing football. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The problem was that there were several trees between the cabins where we were playing. During one particular game I ran out for a pass and was looking back at the quarterback. I didn’t turn around quickly enough and I ran smack into a tree. It is not a good idea to look backwards when you are running.

The same holds true in our lives of faith. If we are going to live our lives for Jesus, we can’t be looking back. This can only cause us to lose direction and get us into trouble. However, that is easier said than done. It is so easy for us to look back either in pride or regret. At times we look back in pride and admire all the wonderful things we have done. At other times we look back and despair over how terrible our sins are, and we are filled with guilt and regret. Either way, we are prevented from focusing on the goal.

Rather than look behind, God’s Word encourages us to keep our eyes ahead and focus on our Savior, Jesus. He lived, died, and rose again to take all our sins away and to give us the free gift of eternal life in heaven. Our past accomplishments cannot save us, and our past sins have been washed away in the blood of Jesus. So, forget what is behind and focus on the heavenly goal that Jesus has won for you!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for winning heaven for me. Help me to forget what is behind and to look forward to what is ahead. 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.

Quality Relationships – April 10, 2019

Wed, Apr 10, 2019

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10

Quality Relationships
Daily Devotion – April 10, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:10
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190410dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

This digital age we live in has certainly impacted our lives both in positive and negative ways. Nearly every day, it seems, a new article is published about either the benefits or evils of social media and the internet. For example, due to the use of social media, people have fewer good friends than they used to. Instead, they have more people in their lives that might qualify as “acquaintances.” They may know more people but their relationships with people are not as deep as they once were.

Have you noticed a similar trend in your spiritual life? Perhaps we are so busy that our connection to Jesus is not as strong as it once was. We so easily allow other areas of our lives to crowd out our time with Jesus. Or maybe we have convinced ourselves that we only need a casual connection to Jesus. In other words, he’s good to have around in a tight spot, but we don’t need him overly involved in our lives. This is a dangerous approach to take.

St. Paul’s words in Philippians 3:10 encourage us to be more than just acquainted with Jesus. Did you notice Paul’s desire to learn more about and grow closer to Christ? He says: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10). Paul had a desire to continue growing in his faith. He knew that Jesus is the only way to heaven and because he wanted heaven so much, Paul strove to learn more and more about him. Paul’s goal was eternal life.

As you and I get to know Jesus better in his Word, he will help us reach that goal as well.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, so many things in life threaten to get in the way of my relationship to you. Through your Word, help me to know you more and more each 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.

Take Out the Trash – April 9, 2019

Tue, Apr 09, 2019

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
Philippians 3:8

Take Out the Trash
Daily Devotion – April 9, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:8
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190409dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Garbage day is a good day. Once a week, you get to take a large container and fill it up with all of the worthless and sometimes disgusting stuff that is only cluttering up the house. We can get rid of all that trash and never look back, knowing that it is gone forever.

Paul, the author of this verse, had come to realize the importance of taking out the spiritual trash. He uses the word garbage in describing things that he once viewed as profit. Many in Paul’s day were teaching that a person could be saved by what he did. Paul used to think that way too. But, the more Paul came to know Christ, the more he realized that all of those things he used to take pride in amounted to nothing more than spiritual garbage.

What about you? What kind of garbage do we rely on for the assurance of salvation? Maybe we figure that we are going to heaven because we do more good than bad or because we think we are better than most people. But that’s just it: we aren’t saved because of what we do or how good we think we are.

God’s Word encourages us to, “gain Christ and be found in him.” The only things worth trusting in are Christ and his cross and empty tomb. Only Christ was perfect for us. Only his death on the cross had value before God to pay our sinful debt. Only his empty tomb is powerful enough to open our graves on the last day.

Have you taken out the spiritual trash recently? Have you realized that even your best efforts at providing salvation are nothing more than garbage? Dear friends, it is time to take out the trash. Throw away all the garbage. Make room for what really saves. Like Paul, gain Christ and be found in him.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to get rid of all the spiritual garbage in my life. Forgive me for trusting in my own efforts and goodness. Help me to always be found in You. Amen.

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

Hard to Let Go – April 8, 2019

Mon, Apr 08, 2019

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
Philippians 3:8

Hard to Let Go
Daily Devotion – April 8, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:8
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190408dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Several months back my parents were cleaning out their basement. After 30 years of living in the same house, you can imagine how much stuff had accumulated. In the process of going through it all, they found some things that I had received throughout my childhood – things like games, toys, and pictures. I gave them the go ahead to toss many items into the garbage bin.

But there was one box that was hard to let go. It contained old trophies from my years of playing baseball and basketball. I had not seen those trophies in years, yet for some reason I was unwilling to let them go. They were a source of pride. They made me feel good about myself. I didn’t want to throw them in the garbage.

We all want to hang onto things like that. We desperately cling to whatever makes us feel good about ourselves. We want to know how good we are and often want others to know it too.

In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul reminds us that there is something far better to hang onto than reminders of what we have accomplished. Jesus and his work of saving us from sin and death is what we need to hang onto. Knowing Jesus and his love is more valuable than anything else in our lives. Paul says nothing else in our life can begin to compare to “knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.” In him we have forgiveness and are saved from the punishment our sins deserve. In him we are going to heaven—forever. Now THAT…is worth hanging onto.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to cling to you more and more. 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.

Righteousness – April 7, 2019

Sun, Apr 07, 2019

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
Philippians 3:8-9

Righteousness
Daily Devotion – April 7, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 3:8-9
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190407dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Righteousness—there’s a heavy church word. But what joy and power is in that word when we believe what the Apostle writes in these verses!

In a trial, the judge evaluates the actions of the defendant and compares them to what the law says. Did any of his actions break a law? If so, then he’s not right by the standards of the law. He is unrighteous. Did his actions meet the law’s requirements? Then he’s right, as far as that law goes. He’s righteous.

When it comes to God’s law, St. Paul knew that he could not measure up. Even his best works fell short. So he counted them all as a loss, as rubbish. Outwardly they looked very righteous, but inwardly they did not measure up. You see, God’s law also judges our thoughts, attitudes, and motives. And what does his law require? Nothing short of perfect love for God, trusting him completely and giving him continuous, glad obedience as we love others as ourselves. How could we ever have a righteousness of our own based on our efforts?

But take heart! There is another righteousness from outside ourselves. This isn’t a righteousness based on YOU keeping the law. It’s based on CHRIST keeping it for you. Paul calls this “the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” God credits this righteousness to you freely, at no charge because Jesus Christ kept the law perfectly in your place. You can be sure of it, because God has said it is so.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you alone are my righteousness. May this truth be my comfort this day. Amen.

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

The Cobra Effect – April 6, 2019

Sat, Apr 06, 2019

The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25

The Cobra Effect
Daily Devotion – April 6, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:25
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190406dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Back in the 1800’s, the city of Delhi, in India, had a troublesome problem with the poisonous snake known as the cobra. The problem was that the colonial authorities thought that there were too many of them. And so the government announced what seemed to be a wise solution to the problem. It announced that there would be a bounty paid for each dead cobra that someone brought in. At first it looked as though the solution was a wise one, as people began to bring in dead cobras by the dozens.

Over time, however, the authorities discovered that people had actually begun to breed cobras in order to bring them in for the money. When that happened, the government discontinued the program. When the bounty program stopped, however, people simply released the now-worthless snakes, thus making the cobra population larger than ever. This came to be known as “The Cobra Effect.” The Cobra Effect describes any wise-sounding solution that, in reality, makes matters worse.

Deep within me there is the strong assumption that I am the solution to my problems—that if I can only get the right information or the right tools or the right method, I can create a life that has meaning, purpose, and fills the void in my soul.

Sooner or later, however, the Cobra Effect will kick in. Sooner or later, looking to myself for the solution will only make matters worse.

That’s why the answer is Jesus. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse me from the guilt of my repeated failures. Only the perfect life of Christ can cover me in the blanket of his holiness. Only his Spirit can empower me to see clearly—to see that the real Solution lies outside of myself. The real solution is found in Christ.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, by the power of your gospel send me a rich measure of your Spirit. Empower me to see that my solution is 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.

Jesus is the Savior We Need – April 5, 2019

Fri, Apr 05, 2019

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:22-25

Jesus is the Savior We Need
Daily Devotion – April 5, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190405dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Are you disappointed when another person doesn’t live up to your expectations? Sometimes we become disillusioned with leaders and role models when they don’t speak or act in the way that we believe they should. Or we become frustrated with politicians who don’t govern the way that we think is best.

In our bible passage for today, the apostle Paul spoke of people who were disappointed in the Savior that God had sent. Jesus simply didn’t live up to their expectations. The Jews, who had experienced so many miracles throughout their history, refused to accept a Messiah who couldn’t even save himself when his enemies nailed him to a cross. And the Greeks of Paul’s time had sophisticated tastes in religion. They didn’t have time for a God who would demean himself by taking on the human condition—including a bloody, shameful death.

Throughout our history, humans have imagined that we know better than God does about how the world should be run. We dare to be disappointed in him when he doesn’t answer our prayers, or when he allows suffering and loss in our lives. And Jesus is not the Savior we would expect. But he is the Savior we need.

We didn’t need a powerful magician who would entertain us even as he granted our every wish. What we do need is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who through his humble sacrifice was able to conquer sin, death, and the devil. We didn’t need another high-minded guru with eloquent speech and lofty (but ultimately empty) ideas. What we do need is Jesus Christ who is the very Word of God in human flesh, communicating God’s love for us perfectly.

If you are still searching for a different Savior, you will be disappointed. But if you come to see Christ as the Savior you needed and still need, he will never let you down.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for sending me the Savior I needed rather than the one I thought I wanted. 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 Living Water – April 4, 2019

Thu, Apr 04, 2019

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Isaiah 12:3

The Living Water
Daily Devotion – April 4, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 12:3
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190404dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, water is used as a picture for salvation. Think of the waters of the Red Sea which parted for the Israelites, or the water that flowed from a rock while they traveled through the wilderness. These miracles were frequently cited by the prophets as pictures for the blessings which flow from a gracious God.

For those who live in areas where water is plentiful, perhaps the picture loses some of its punch. With multiple water faucets inside our house, out in the garage, or on the side of the house, we are almost never more than a few steps away from all the water we could need.

But imagine yourself in a dry and barren land with the scorching sun overhead. The last oasis is miles behind you and the next is a day’s travel away. Your lips are dry and cracked and your tongue begins to stick the roof of your mouth. Soon all you can think of is when you will take your next drink of water. What a relief when you finally arrive at the next oasis!

When God’s people rebelled against him, he let them feel the heat of his wrath. Their strength dried up under the weight of their own guilt. But when they returned to him in repentance, the Lord assured them of his love and forgiveness. They had abandoned him, but he had never forgotten his promises to save them. He would one day send a Savior to redeem them—and all people. How refreshing were his words to their soul! Like a splash of cool water to the person dying of thirst.

God’s love and mercy for us are like a well that will never dry up. When your life feels like a spiritual wasteland, when you thirst for good news, when you feel that your spiritual strength is being sapped like in the heat of summer, return to that deep, deep well. Drink deeply of Christ—the Living Water. Let him restore you with his promises of love and forgiveness.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I long for peace and joy. I know that only you are able to truly satisfy my soul. Give me strength to endure the challenges of this world. Amen.

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

The Lord Himself Is My Salvation – April 3, 2019

Wed, Apr 03, 2019

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2

The Lord Himself Is My Salvation
Daily Devotion – April 3, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 12:2
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190403dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Do you have any enemies? Is there anyone at work or at school who has reason to resent you? Or maybe you’ve antagonized a member of your own family—perhaps without meaning to—and there’s been bad blood between the two of you ever since. Life is difficult enough with all of its challenges without feeling like there is someone who is actively working against you every step of the way.

Maybe you get along fine with all the people in your life, but at the same time you’ve wondered if God himself had it in for you. When we face one obstacle after another or experience a series of setbacks in life, we may begin to fear that God is punishing us for something we’ve said or done. What a frightening thought—to have God himself as your enemy! How could anything ever go right for you? How could you ever have peace, knowing that God is at war with you?

The truth is that we make God our enemy every time we try to live without him. When we insist on going our own way—a selfish and foolish way, God will oppose our actions. That’s because in love he created us to be close to him and receive his blessings and protection. The Lord God wants you to be near him, knows that you need him, and will actively work against your efforts to leave him behind.

He did just that by sending his Son, Jesus Christ. Through his death for our sins, Christ reconciled us to God. The very God whom we angered with our rebellion is the God who rescued us from our own self-destructive ways.

The LORD, the LORD himself, is our strength and our defense; he has become our salvation. When obstacles come your way as you walk with the Lord, you can be sure that he will either give you strength to overcome them or use the situation to otherwise bring you closer to him and his love for you.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, keep me safe from my enemies, including my own sinful nature. Take away my fear by reminding me always of your love and forgiveness. 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.

Comfort in Place of Punishment – April 2, 2019

Tue, Apr 02, 2019

In that day you will say: “I will praise you, LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.”
Isaiah 12:1

Comfort in Place of Punishment
Daily Devotion – April 2, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 12:1
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190402dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Kaitlin knew her father was going to be furious. She could picture him fuming at home, ready to yell at her the moment she returned. After scraping the side of the car on a pillar in a parking garage at the mall, Kaitlin texted a picture of the damage with the caption: “Just a small scratch, Daddy! Don’t be mad!!!” followed by a row of crying emojis. A long minute later a single text returned: “GET HOME NOW!!”

As she meekly stepped through the garage door at home, Kaitlin braced for the coming onslaught—the lecture about how careless she had been, how much it would cost to fix it, how many weeks she would be grounded. She looked up at her father and could see the anger and disappointment in his eyes. It wasn’t just a small scratch after all. And then came the flood of tears. “I’m sorry, Daddy. I’ll be more careful next time, I promise!” She just couldn’t stop crying.

The next thing she knew, her father was standing next to her with his arm around her shoulders. “It’s okay, honey,” he said in a calming voice. “It’s alright. I’m just glad you’re okay.”

Like Kaitlin, you and I have angered our Father—our heavenly Father. We may claim our sin was an accident, that we didn’t mean to do it, but all too often we knew exactly what we were doing. Sometimes our careless, selfish choices have made wrecks of our lives—causing needless pain for ourselves and others. We know that our Maker has every reason to be angry with us.

But God’s anger has been deflected through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ, who bore the weight of our punishment on the cross. Your debt has been paid in full. Now the Lord comes to you and wipes away your tears of repentance. He wants to comfort you with the good news of his grace and mercy. Listen to his assurances of forgiveness and rejoice in his never-failing love.

Prayer:
Loving Father, I know I have angered you with my sin. Thank you for comforting me with your forgiveness. 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.

United by Grace Not by Virtue – April 1, 2019

Mon, Apr 01, 2019

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:26-31

United by Grace Not by Virtue
Daily Devotion – April 1, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190401dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

A “dream team” is made up of highly skilled individuals who have earned a spot on the team. There have been many examples in sports. Each and every player was on that court or field because he or she deserved to be there. Can we say that as Christians we are on God’s dream team? Were we chosen to be members of God’s family because of some great value or virtue?

The congregation in Corinth struggled with factions, foolishly dividing themselves based on superficial differences. The apostle Paul reminded them of the perfect unity which was theirs as brothers and sisters in Christ through the message of the cross. But what led God to choose them for his family? Why does he choose us today?

The apostle asks us to reflect on the way we first came to faith in Jesus. When God called you, there was no mention of who you were or what you could offer. It had nothing to do with your status, intelligence, wealth, or influence. No, God’s call is a call of grace, undeserved love for sinners. That’s the one thing that “earns” us a spot at God’s table—we are all sinners in need of a Savior.

Thank God that Jesus Christ is that Savior!

Prayer:
Lord God, forgive my sinful pride and keep me humble by pointing me always to your perfect Servant Jesus Christ, 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.