WELS Daily Devotions

More – August 22, 2019

20 hours 3 mi

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.
Colossians 2:9

More
Daily Devotion – August 22, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 2:9
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190822dev.mp3
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In 1955, a boy by the name of Richie Sestili was helping his father. His father was a landscaper, and he and little Richie were in the yard of a Pittsburgh neighborhood. As they worked, Richie heard the screeching of tires. He looked up to see a car tear into the driveway next door. A man in a white lab coat jumped out and raced into the house. Immediately there was loud cheering and laughter. Then the man in the white lab coat raced back out of the house, jumped back into his car, and screeched his way out of his driveway and down the street. Richie concluded that the man must have gotten a big promotion at work.

That night, Richie was watching television. And there he was again—the man in the white lab coat. This time, however, Richie got to see who this man was. The man was Dr. Jonas Salk. The reason Dr. Salk had run into his house that day was that he had just received approval to announce to the world his discovery of a vaccine for polio. Dr. Salk’s polio vaccine was one of the greatest discoveries in medical history, sparing countless lives from paralysis and death. To Richie, Dr. Salk had simply been a happy man in a white lab coat. Now, however, Dr. Jonas Salk was much more.

Any casual look at Jesus will tell you that he is an impressive man. His compassion for the hurting, his words of wisdom, his courage to stand up against the self-righteous of his day—these things alone mark him as an extraordinary individual.

A closer look, however, reveals more. Jesus is no mere man. He is God himself. He proved this with his many miracles and the massive number of ancient prophecies he fulfilled.

He came here to live a perfect life on our behalf. He came to suffer and die for our every sin. He came to rise from death. All this he did so that now, through faith in him, you and I may have life—life to the full.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you that, although you are the almighty and eternal God, you were willing to become a man in order to save 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.

Giant Thing – August 21, 2019

Wed, Aug 21, 2019

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.
Colossians 2:8

Giant Thing
Daily Devotion – August 21, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 2:8
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190821dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

For many years, Cynthia Heimel was a columnist for The Village Voice. Her columns were tough-minded and snarky. She was also a playwright, an author, and a writer for TV. As such, Cynthia Heimel was in a superb position to observe individuals who dreamed of becoming famous. She was in a position to observe them both before and after they had achieved the status of “celebrity.”

One day she decided to write about what she had seen. “I pity celebrities,” she wrote. “No, I do. Celebrities were once perfectly pleasant human beings. But now their wrath is awful. You see, they wanted fame. They worked. They pushed. And the morning after they became famous, they all wanted to take an overdose. Because that giant thing they were striving for, that thing that was going to make everything ok…it actually happened. And the day after, they woke up, and they were still them. The disillusionment turned them howling and insufferable.”

It may be easy for us to smirk and roll our eyes at people who believe that being famous is the “giant thing” that will make everything ok. But what about us? What’s the “giant thing” in your life that you have presumed will do the same for you? Maybe it’s money. Maybe it’s pleasure. Maybe it’s status and success. Maybe it’s finding the perfect soulmate. Maybe it’s living for your children. Maybe it’s your Dream House. Maybe it’s retirement.

The Apostle Paul, in the Bible verse above, had a description for these “giant things.” He called them “hollow and deceptive.” In other words, if we expect the “giant thing” in our life to fulfill us, then we are setting ourselves up for disillusionment. Or even worse, the “giant thing” will actually deceive us into thinking that this is what life is.

But the “giant thing” is not the answer. Jesus is. Only Jesus can heal us by cleansing us of our every wrong. Only Jesus can fill that empty place in our lives with his Spirit. Only Jesus can give us “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I have wasted much time on the hollow and deceptive things of this world. Wash me clean. Draw me closer to you. Amen.

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

The Source – August 20, 2019

Tue, Aug 20, 2019

Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him.
Colossians 2:6

The Source
Daily Devotion – August 20, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 2:6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190820dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

During the dark days of Nazi-occupied France in WWII, Hitler’s forces made it a matter of routine to round up families of Jewish descent and ship them off to concentration camps. One area where this did not happen, however, was in the small village of Le Chambon. At great risk to themselves, the residents there took it upon themselves to hide Jewish families, protecting them from deportation by the Nazis. Their courage saved hundreds of lives, perhaps many more.

After the war, a writer by the name of Philip Hallie traveled to Le Chambon. He had to see for himself what sort of brave souls were willing to endanger themselves for the sake of others. One-by-one he interviewed them. To his great surprise, there seemed to be nothing extraordinary about them.

There was, however, one factor that Hallie pursued. They all happened to attend the same village church. Every Sunday, in that tiny church, they heard what Christ had done for them. And every Sunday, in that tiny church, they learned about living their lives in him. As one elderly woman explained, “Pastor always taught us that there comes a time in every life when a person is asked to do something for Jesus.”

You see, their courage had not come out of the blue. Their deliberate bravery had not been some random impulse. Instead, through the good news of Jesus, the Holy Spirit had empowered them to possess the habit of gathering together as a congregational family. In those gatherings, they heard the message of what Christ had done at the cross to wash them clean. They learned that they were here on this earth to proclaim their Savior. They learned there are moments in every Christian’s life when you are asked to do something to the glory of Jesus.

The moments that come to you and me may not be as dramatic. But the moments will come. In fact, they come every day. As they do, remember what the source of our courage is. The source of our courage is in our regular gatherings with Jesus. The source of our courage is God’s forgiving love for us in Christ.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, move me to gather with your people. Give me the courage to live for 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.

The Cave – August 19, 2019

Mon, Aug 19, 2019

“. . . I am nothing but dust and ashes.”
Genesis 18:27

The Cave
Daily Devotion – August 19, 2019

Devotion based on Genesis 18:27
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190819dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

A man by the name of Noam Arnon says that, in the early 1980s, he and a small team seized an opportunity to explore a cave in the Palestinian city of Hebron. When they did, they saw a stairway. They descended. At the bottom of the stairway was a corridor. At the end of the corridor, they found an opening where they descended even further. And it was here, Arnon says, that he found himself crawling through a two-chambered cave. In that cave, there was broken pottery. There were bone fragments and there was dust. As far as anyone knows, no one has entered the site since.

The cave that Noam Arnon describes is the traditional site for what the Bible calls, “The Cave of Machpelah.” The Cave of Machpelah was the burial place of Abraham and his family.

Picture yourself crawling through the cave. You move your flashlight back and forth. There’s nothing much to see; a few shards of broken pottery, a few fragments of bone, and dust.

Long before he died, Abraham himself understood what he was. “I am nothing but dust and ashes,” he said. Even though he was wealthy, Abraham knew that, in and of himself, he was nothing more than the tiny remnants that the Cave of Machpelah would one day contain.

That’s why the center of Abraham’s life was not Abraham. Rather, the center of Abraham’s life was the Lord. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Abraham trusted that the Lord would one day send someone who would wash him clean of his every sin; who would cover him in a blanket of holiness; who would take his soul home to heaven; and who would even, at the appointed time, raise up his bones from the Cave of Machpelah to live in glory forever.

God has made the same promise to us. Although our bodies will one day be nothing but dust and ashes, when Jesus returns, he will raise our bodies back to life to live in glory forever.

May this promise comfort you when life seems meaningless and when death seems final. May this promise inspire you to make the Lord the center of your life just as Abraham did.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in those times when I crawl through the cave of my own frailties, fix my eyes on 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.

Planted In Christ – August 18, 2019

Sun, Aug 18, 2019

Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6

Planted In Christ
Daily Devotion – August 18, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 2:6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190818dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

If you’re a gardener in the Northern Tier of states in the United States, it is getting close to harvest time. The tomatoes are starting to turn as the proper number of days has passed since planting. The zucchini and squash are probably surpassing your ability to use them. As the days get a little cooler your flowers are in full bloom. A non-gardening neighbor stops by and says, “My, you have a beautiful garden!” But most non-gardening neighbors don’t have a clue what it takes to create such a garden.

A garden is a year-round process. Composting, mulching, hoeing, watering, fall cleanup, plowing or tilling, fertilizing lightly, compost spreading, fertilizing again, spring tilling, waiting until the soil warms for planting, summer care, and harvest make for much more work than meets the eye of a casual observer. The results can be seen, but the process is hidden.

Do we take for granted the spiritual gardening God has done in our souls? If we have had true confidence in Christ for some time, we may take that relationship for granted. The Apostle Paul reminds us to continue to live in Christ, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as we were taught.

Like garden plants that are rooted in the soil, we must ground ourselves in the Word of God. As plants draw from the soil vital nutrients and moisture, God’s Word gives all that we need for life with God now and forever. When we continue to learn more about God’s love in Jesus, especially from those whom God sends to teach us, we grow in our faith and knowledge of our salvation. God works in us the ability to live in thankfulness for all the blessings that we have in Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord, help me never forget your love for me, Christ. Help me to grow in him. 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 Wrong Relationship Made Right – August 17, 2019

Sat, Aug 17, 2019

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
Colossians 1:21-22

A Wrong Relationship Made Right
Daily Devotion – August 17, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 1:21-22
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190817dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

How would you rate your relationship with God on a scale of 1 through 10? How would God rate it? Many people never bother to ask God what he has to say about his relationship with them. They think it is their prerogative to determine whether their relationship with God is good, bad, or ugly. Some think everything is okay between them and God. Others think God is out to get them and wants nothing good for them.

What does God have to say? First, he tells us that our evil behavior alienated us from him. God cannot and will not abide sin. We have sinned. Our evil behavior made us God’s enemies. We don’t want to hear this, but whether we want to hear it or not is irrelevant. God has declared it to be true.

But God doesn’t want to be our enemy. He loves us. So he sent his Son, Jesus, to suffer and die for our sins. All of our evil behavior was washed away by Jesus’ blood on the cross. Now God sees us as holy, sinless, perfect people. We are no longer God’s enemies. We have been reconciled to him.

Now, how would you rate your relationship with God on a scale of 1 through 10? Thank God that through Jesus, he has taken you from a 0 to a 10!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I know that without your help I would be alienated from God because of my sins. I can never thank you enough for reconciling me to my Maker. Give me peace and joy this day knowing that I am no longer God’s enemy but his beloved and forgiven child. 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.

Just Sing – August 16, 2019

Fri, Aug 16, 2019

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Colossians 3:16

Just Sing
Daily Devotion – August 16, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 3:16
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190816dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When God speaks, it is appropriate to repeat those words and teach one another. God speaks to you in the words of the Bible, and those words are always useful for teaching. You can learn from every word of the Scriptures. Those words are also useful for admonishment, for rebuking and correcting. Every word of the Bible is true, so you can trust its standards and judgments. Its message about the saving work of Christ is the center of what God says, and when those words are impressed on your heart, you respond with gratitude.

Christians throughout the centuries have noticed that when the Holy Spirit fills their lives with the Word of God, many times they break out in song! Old Testament believers sang 150 different psalms. New Testament believers still sing those psalms, and they have added a rich number of hymns and songs to be sung when a Christian is feeling grateful to the Lord for all that he has done.

If you have ever had a Christian song running through your head, you know that you hardly have to be prompted to sing. It’s something that seems to come from deep within the soul, prompted by the Holy Spirit. Don’t fight it. Sing an old song, sing a new song, and keep singing to God, praising him and proclaiming what he has done for you. When God speaks, sometimes it’s the first response, and that shouldn’t bother you a bit. Just sing!

Prayer:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit give us lips to sing thy glory, tongues thy mercy to proclaim, throats to shout the hope that fills us, mouths to speak thy holy name. Amen.

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

Laugh with Joy – August 15, 2019

Thu, Aug 15, 2019

Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Genesis 18:10-14

Laugh with Joy
Daily Devotion – August 15, 2019

Devotion based on Genesis 18:10-14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190815dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Sometimes you just gotta laugh—the situation is so absurd that the only appropriate response is laughter. When Sarah, who was past childbearing age, heard the prediction that she would have a child within a year, she laughed. It was not really laughter with joy. It was more like the laughter of disbelief.

What Sarah didn’t take into account is that it was God talking. He was carrying out his plan of salvation, and when God tells you what he is doing for your salvation, a laugh of disbelief is an inappropriate response. Instead, when God speaks, you are encouraged to laugh with joy.

Even when you were still a sinner, Christ died for you. You just gotta laugh, because such mercy and grace are so unexpected. Don’t make it a laugh of disbelief. Laugh with joy.

Your sins are forgiven through faith in Christ. Even when you don’t feel forgiven, even when accusations are still there to try to make you feel guilty, God speaks the word of forgiveness, and you are genuinely and completely forgiven. You just gotta laugh with the joy that comes from a clean conscience.

No matter how bad it gets here on earth, God says that heaven is your home. No more sorrow or tears there—just rest and peace. Laugh with joy!

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 79)
Oh, joy to know that you, my Friend, are Lord, beginning without end, the First and Last, eternal! And you at length—O glorious grace—will take me to that holy place, the home of joys supernal. 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.

Promises – August 14, 2019

Wed, Aug 14, 2019

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Colossians 1:21-23

Promises
Daily Devotion – August 14, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 1:21-23
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190814dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The Bible is filled with gorgeous promises for us. Even though we have thought and done evil things that have made us enemies of God, Jesus took the punishment for them on the cross. He had lived a perfect life and did not deserve to die, but he suffered hell and died anyway so that we would get the credit for his holiness. Because of his work, we appear without blemish and are free from accusation in the eyes of God, whose eyes are the only ones that count when it comes to eternal salvation.

We receive all of those blessings through faith in Jesus Christ. God makes those promises and then gives us faith to trust them. Without faith, all of those blessings and promises go unused, and we go to hell. However, through faith, we receive all of the blessings of the gospel, which include forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

If a friend of yours makes many promises and then breaks them, you learn not to trust that friend. If someone else makes many promises and always keeps them, you learn to trust that person. God speaks to us in the words of the Bible and makes many promises. He has always kept them, and he always will. When God speaks, believe him, and you will never go wrong.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Lord, forsake me not! I trust your Word. 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.

Drop Everything – August 13, 2019

Tue, Aug 13, 2019

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

Drop Everything
Daily Devotion – August 13, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:38-42
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190813dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Every culture has social rules that are to be observed when a visitor arrives. Some people greet visitors with a handshake, others with a hug. Some people offer a drink, while others prepare a whole meal.

Martha knew that when an important visitor like Jesus arrived, a bedroom had to be prepared and an appropriate meal had to be on the table at a decent hour. She wanted everything to be just right for her special guest.

What Martha didn’t realize was that Jesus, as the Son of God, was visiting to speak for her benefit. And when God speaks, the social rules change. Many cultural niceties can be observed, but the most important thing when God speaks is to drop everything and listen to what he says. Martha’s sister, Mary, was doing just that, and she was commended.

That’s because there’s nothing more important than the Word of God. When we get down to the most important things in life, that’s really all we need. Food keeps our bodies alive, but the Word of God nourishes our souls. Everyone needs water to live, but the Word of God is a spring of water welling up to eternal life. People need a place to rest, but the Word of God gives rest to everyone who is weary or burdened.

When God speaks, the most appropriate reaction is to drop everything and treasure what he says, because it all points to Jesus, our Savior.

Prayer:
One thing’s needful. Lord, this treasure teach me highly to regard. 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.

Listen – August 12, 2019

Mon, Aug 12, 2019

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
1 Samuel 3:8b-10

Listen
Daily Devotion – August 12, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 3:8b-10
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190812dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The boy named Samuel was hearing a voice speaking to him during the night. He did not know what to do. The priest named Eli, who was his caretaker, told him what to do. Realizing that it was the Lord speaking, Eli told Samuel to answer, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

Children need that kind of instruction. Today the Lord does not call out to them during the night. Instead, the Lord speaks to them in the Bible. Children need to know how to respond to the words of the Bible. Caretakers of children would do well to teach them to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

We do not outgrow that advice. The Lord speaks to people of every age with the words of the Bible. He shows people their sin, calls them to repentance and promises to forgive them. He comforts them no matter what troubles they have in life, and he provides what they need to know to go to heaven. He uses the words of the Bible to bring people to faith in Jesus, and he uses the words of the Bible to keep them in that faith.

When the words of the Bible do not match our sensibilities or desires, we are tempted not to listen. But the advice of Samuel’s caretaker is still true each day of our lives. The best thing we can do to thank God for everything he has done is to listen to his Word. Let this be our response to every Bible passage: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

Prayer:
Speak, O Savior. I am listening as a servant to his lord. Let me show respect and honor to your holy, precious Word. 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.

Groaning – August 11, 2019

Sun, Aug 11, 2019

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:20-23

Groaning
Daily Devotion – August 11, 2019

Devotion based on Romans 8:20-23
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190811dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The season of summer—with its longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures—provides many opportunities for us to enjoy the outdoors and behold the beauty of God’s wonderful creation. As we do, however, the apostle Paul wants us to see and hear the creation through the perspective of God’s Word.

When we do this, we hear the creation groaning. We recognize that the creation around us is straining under the burden of sin that mankind brought into the world. Hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, floods, droughts—all of them bear the sights and sounds of a creation laboring under the consequences of our sinfulness.

But not only does the creation groan, but we also do too. We groan under the burdens of work, stress, finances, sadness, uncertainty, and loneliness—for sin has infected every aspect of our lives. However, in the groans of creation and of Christians there is anticipation of eagerly looking forward to that day when all the things that hurt and harm will go away forever.

And they will go away! For the day will come when the Lord Jesus will command it. At just the right time that he has determined, the Lord will arrive to liberate his creation from the presence and effects of sin. And for us who groan inwardly awaiting to be free from living in this sinful world, Jesus will take us to the glorious, perfect life that he has prepared for us in his new creation. Just as his blood has washed away our every sin, so also, he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain.

Then there will be no more groaning.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, when I groan under the burdens of life, remind me by your Spirit that, in Jesus, I can eagerly look forward to the perfect joy of 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.

Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness – August 10, 2019

Sat, Aug 10, 2019

[God the Father] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13,14

Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness
Daily Devotion – August 10, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 1:13,14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190810dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

When I was about nine years old, I almost drowned. I was not an inexperienced swimmer. The problem was, I was over-confident in my experience and ignorant of my limitations. As I was doing laps, my brain said, “Keep going!” But my body said, “I’m done.” As I sank into the murky waters, a hand grabbed for me, and then an arm embraced me and pulled me safely to the pool’s edge. My father had risked his life to rescue me.

Over-confidence in our abilities and ignorance of our limitations is a universal problem. We think we can navigate life just fine on our own. But it doesn’t matter how good we are. It doesn’t matter if we are better than others. We are drowning in a cesspool of sin. And as if nothing is wrong, our fallen nature says, “Keep going!”

Not until God hits us with the realization of the hopelessness of our efforts does our law-stricken heart scream, “I’m done for!”

God has heard our cry for help. Seeing us sinking down, Christ climbed down from his throne in heaven and jumped into this sin-filled world in order to save us. To do so, he had to more than risk his life. He gave his life in exchange for ours. He suffered the death we deserved so that we might live. But he does even more than that. Through baptism, God washes the moral filth from us and dresses us in the clean robe of Jesus’ sinless virtue. In him, you and I have complete deliverance.

Even so, sometimes we still feel that we are swimming through dark times. The more we focus on that darkness, the more we drown in our doubts and fears. But when we focus on Jesus, the Light of the world, and trust his saving power, he gives us new life. Praise the one who breaks the darkness!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for delivering me from the hopelessness and despair of this dark world. Your love and forgiveness fill me with joy. Enable me to live as a child of light. 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.

Change Your Clothes – August 9, 2019

Fri, Aug 09, 2019

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

Change Your Clothes
Daily Devotion – August 9, 2019

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:22-24
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190809dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I’ve never liked changing my clothes. Ever since I was a boy, changing clothes seemed like such a bother. I was too busy to change my clothes. I had places to go and things to do. My mother thought differently. When my brothers and I would come home after a long summer day of playing in the dirt and mud, our mom would tell us in no uncertain terms, “Change out of those filthy clothes before you come into this house!” She would not have her well-kept house fouled by our filthy clothes.

Spiritually speaking, we are all filthy. We were born with a self-serving, self-seeking, sinful attitude. That sinful attitude has shown itself in what we have said and done against other people and against the God who made us. There is no way God will allow anyone into his holy home called heaven unless they are spiritually clean. Fortunately, that is precisely what Jesus did for us. He lived a sinless life. Through faith in Jesus, we are robed with his righteousness. In God’s eyes, we are cleaned up and he promises us entrance into his home of heaven.

While we are living here, though, we are still stained with sin. We are constantly changing our spiritual clothes—that is taking off our old sinful self and putting on the new self, Jesus has created us to be. It is not easy. You will not always feel like changing. But, keep doing it! Toss aside your old sinful self like a pair of dirty jeans. In its place put on the new self—the holy self, Jesus has made you to be.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for earning a new set of spiritual clothes for me. Empower me to throw off my sinful self today to put on your holiness in its place. 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.

Scams for Your Soul – August 8, 2019

Thu, Aug 08, 2019

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
Ephesians 4:14

Scams for Your Soul
Daily Devotion – August 8, 2019

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190808dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The next time you’re in a bookstore, take a quick look through the crime section. You might come across a book entitled, How to Become a Professional Con Artist. The book is written by a retired police officer who spent his career pursuing individuals who deceived people for a living. In his book, the author describes some of the classic scams used by con artists, and why those scams work so well. The book arms you with a good understanding of what is legitimate and what is a fraud. That kind of understanding is necessary so that you are not so vulnerable to every scam out there.

The Apostle Paul makes the same point about any Christian living in this sinful world. There are all kinds of spiritual scams vying for our souls. These scams can come from the world itself, from the devil, or even from our own sinful heads. The difference with these scams is that while other scams are simply out for our money or valuables, scams for our souls are far worse. After all, scams for our souls can be permanent and deadly.

Of all the spiritual scams, perhaps the most dangerous one is this: The notion that even if it’s been years since you’ve studied God’s Word in any serious way, that you’re just too strong of a Christian ever to be deceived.

If that’s what you think, then the Lord warns you that you are being deceived by a very old and dangerous scam.

The solution? The solution is Jesus. Come to him in repentance. Be refreshed in his forgiveness purchased at Calvary’s cross. And then arm yourself in his Word with a renewed sense of seriousness and purpose. For when you do, you will give all the spiritual scam artists in the world a very bad day.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in this world of confusion and lies, you are the Way and the Truth. Empower me by your Spirit to arm myself in your Word. 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.

Go and Do Likewise – August 7, 2019

Wed, Aug 07, 2019

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:37

Go and Do Likewise
Daily Devotion – August 7, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:37
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190807dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

A pastor once said in a sermon, “The church is not supposed to be a museum of saints, where we show off. Nor is it a courtroom where we judge the world. The church is a hospital for sinners.” This is because, spiritually speaking, we are like the battered man in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. Our sins have wounded us. We have been stripped naked of our righteousness. We are completely helpless and exposed. Jesus is like the good Samaritan. He comes to bind up our wounds. He comes to clothe us with his love and forgiveness. He pays for our room in his eternal kingdom.

But that is not all Jesus was teaching with his parable. At the end of the Good Samaritan, he told those who were listening, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). In other words, although only Jesus has truly lived like the good Samaritan, he calls us to follow his example. He wants us to be good Samaritans in our lives as well. He wants us to live lives of love in action.

We might think about it this way: We go to the hospital when we are sick, but hopefully, we don’t stay sick. We get better. The same is true with our lives of faith. We go to Jesus with our brokenness and sin, and we leave his presence better than we were before.

Therefore, let Jesus bind up your wounds with his love, then “go and do likewise.”

Prayer:
Jesus, lead me to be like you. Lead me to sacrificially love whoever you put in my path. 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.

Who is My Neighbor – August 6, 2019

Tue, Aug 06, 2019

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:29

Who is My Neighbor
Daily Devotion – August 6, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:29
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190806dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

People don’t want to believe they need to be rescued by God. In fact, they will go to great lengths to prove they are good enough for God.

This was the case for a certain religious expert in Jesus’ day. Luke tells us that the man, “… wanted to justify himself.” He wanted to prove that he really wasn’t that bad, that he deserved to be in a right relationship with God. So he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)

In other words, he thought he had lived a good enough life. But just to be sure, he asked Jesus to specify who his neighbor was. So, Jesus launched into the story of the Good Samaritan. The story is about a Jewish man who fell into the hands of robbers while traveling. He was beaten and left nearly dead. Two Jewish men walked by without stopping to help. But a Samaritan man stopped and saved him.

Jesus concluded the story by asking: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (Luke 10:36)

Jesus knew the Jewish man who had come to question him would not have had anything to do with a Samaritan. Jewish people in Jesus’ day despised people from Samaria. Jesus wanted the man to understand that he had not kept God’s laws as well as he thought. Jesus knew that only then would he know that he needed Jesus to save him from his sins.

We need the same reminder. When we get on our spiritual high horse and think that we are good enough for God, we need the Bible to remind us of our sins so that we look to Jesus forgiveness. Thankfully, when we do, he assures us that his perfect life and innocent death earned forgiveness for us.

And, when we wonder how we could ever thank him for such a gift, he tells us to thank him by loving our neighbor—being concerned about and caring for those around us. Look around today. Whom has God brought into your life? That’s your neighbor. Love and serve them. When you do you will be saying, “Thank you, Jesus!”

Prayer:
Lord, help me to love those you bring into my life today. 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.

Come to Jesus in Humility – August 5, 2019

Mon, Aug 05, 2019

“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 10:25

Come to Jesus in Humility
Daily Devotion – August 5, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:25
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190805dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I heard a pastor once say, “Let me tell you the bad news. You are worse than you thought. But now let me tell you the good news. You are more loved than you could possibly imagine.” I don’t like to hear bad news. I would like to think I’m a spiritual all-star. But until I believe that bad news, I will never learn to truly appreciate the good news of Jesus.

That’s why Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. Many of us have probably heard of this story. It’s about a man who helped someone who was robbed and beaten. But I bet most of us don’t remember why Jesus told this story in the first place.

It all started when a religious expert came up to Jesus. This expert wanted to test Jesus. He didn’t come to Jesus with pure motives. He wanted to embarrass Jesus and prove his superiority.

The man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25) If the man really wanted the answer to that question, Jesus would have given it. But he didn’t. The expert had ulterior motives.

So Jesus humbled him, getting him to recite what God demands before we enter into his holy presence. Namely, we are to love God perfectly and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Then Jesus responded, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28).

Jesus was saying, “Sure, go for it. If you can pull this off, you will have eternal life. Love the Lord your God with everything you have all the time, and love everybody around you.”

Instead of Jesus being put to the test, Jesus put the man’s conscience to the test. Jesus was challenging him to see how far short of God’s standard he had fallen.

We need to hear the same message. We need to be aware of our shortcomings and sins. Then we will come to Jesus in humility and receive his message of love and grace.

Prayer:
Lord God, forgive me for my arrogance. Show me your love in Jesus Christ. 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.

Living in the Light – August 4, 2019

Sun, Aug 04, 2019

(The Father) has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:12-14

Living in the Light
Daily Devotion – August 4, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 1:12-14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190804dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Five-year-old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go in alone. “It’s dark in there and I’m scared.” She asked again, and he persisted. Finally she said, “It’s OK—Jesus will be in there with you.” Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said: “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?” (Charles Allen, Victory in the Valleys)

Many people, like Johnny, are afraid of the dark. It is frightening not to know what’s out there waiting for you, what might jump out to grab you.

Those who do not know Jesus spend their lives in spiritual darkness. They don’t know what tragedy might jump out to grab them on any given day. They don’t know what is waiting for them when they face death one day. All of us were born this way. We did not know who God is or how we might know him.

Since we cannot find God, he finds us. He reaches out to us in the darkness and pulls us into the light of Jesus Christ. Seeing Jesus means seeing God. In Jesus, we see that God loves us and forgives us. We no longer need to be afraid of what is waiting for us when we face death. We have eternal life. We no longer need to fear what will happen in this life. We have an all-powerful Lord who loves us. How good it is to live in the light!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for rescuing me from the darkness of sin and unbelief. Bathe me in the light of your truth until I see you face to face. 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.

Life is About the Cross – August 3, 2019

Sat, Aug 03, 2019

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 6:14

Life is About the Cross
Daily Devotion – August 3, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 6:14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20190803dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Most of you have probably never heard of a man by the name of Christian Hosoi. In the world of competitive skateboarding, however, Christian Hosoi is a legend. Already in his early teens, he was doing things with a skateboard no one else could do. With early success came fame. With fame came commercial endorsements. With commercial endorsements came lots of money. And when all of this mingled with a reckless, pleasure-seeking lifestyle, Christian Hosoi found himself in the middle of his own self-made universe. Life was about him. It was that simple.

Then his universe collapsed. His finances took a serious downturn. Substance abuse consumed him. Finally, authorities arrested him at an airport for transporting drugs. He received a sentence of 10 years in prison.

Behind bars, one day he had an opportunity to talk to a close friend by phone. Her advice was simple. “Find a Bible,” she said. “Find a Bible and read it.” He did. At first, it was slow going, but then he read about King David’s downfall and God’s forgiveness. That kept him reading. And he kept right on reading until the Word of God brought him to the foot of the cross, the message of what God had done for him through the life and death of Jesus Christ. For the first time in his life, life was not about him. Instead, his life was about something far better.

You and I don’t need to face prison time in order to acknowledge that, very often, our lives have revolved around us. The devil wants us to think that way. The sinful culture around us and our own sinful nature wants us to think that way.

The Apostle Paul had once thought that way too. But the Lord Jesus intervened, and Paul’s life began to be about something far better. “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paul says. Forgiven through faith in Jesus, you and I can echo his words.

Prayer:
Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for all the times I have allowed my life to be about me. Move me by your Spirit to embrace the reality that my life is about the cross. My life is about 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.