WELS Daily Devotions

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WELS Daily Devotions
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Memory Loss – March 27, 2021

Sat, Mar 27, 2021 - 01:00am

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah . . . For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:31,34

Memory Loss
Daily Devotion – March 27, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:31,34
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210327dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Don’t you hate it when you can’t remember something? The car keys you just set down take an hour to find. The purpose for the errand escapes you. The appointment you made last week is missed. Memory loss, no matter what your age, sure can be frustrating!

Isn’t it ironic that while we can forget some things, other events remain crystal clear in our minds? Especially if we have been wronged, abused, or sinned against. These crystal-clear memories can bring resentment, bitterness, and a desire to get even. Imagine if God would keep a record of wrongs against him? What if he would save them in his mind only to eventually lash out in anger against us for them?

Thankfully, that is not what God has done. Instead, God promised, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” The prophet Jeremiah wrote these words to the nation of Israel that had many times sinned against each other and the Lord. As they turned to the Lord in repentance, what comfort it was for them to know the Lord would remember their sins no more! How could he do this? The Bible says that the “Lord has laid on Jesus the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Our record is clean. God’s memory of our sin is gone! What true and lasting comfort we can have as we turn in repentance to the Lord to hear him tell us, “I have forgiven your wickedness and remember your sins no more.”

Prayer:
Thank you, gracious Lord, for forgetting my sins. 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 New Covenant – March 26, 2021

Fri, Mar 26, 2021 - 01:00am

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord . . . “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:33,34

A New Covenant
Daily Devotion – March 26, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 31:33,34
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210326dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Passover begins at sundown tomorrow. Passover is a commemoration of God rescuing the people of Israel from being enslaved in Egypt. When the people slaughtered a lamb for a meal and put some of the blood of the lamb on their doorframe, the Lord passed over their homes and did not allow death to come to them on the same night that he allowed death to come into the homes of the Egyptians who were enslaving them.

People who observe Passover tomorrow will partake of a meal that includes lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and wine. They will be remembering the old covenant of the Lord. In that old covenant, the Lord had Moses lead them out of Egypt toward the promised land of Israel. The Lord told them to obey his commandments as a way of thanking him for his deliverance.

Sadly, God’s people were never able to keep his commandments.

Anticipating that failure, the Lord provided someone to keep his commandments on behalf of every person who has ever lived. That commandment keeper, Jesus, didn’t just live a perfect life. He also shed his blood to take the punishment for all those lawbreakers.

When Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, he said that shedding his blood was a new covenant—something that had been anticipated by the prophet Jeremiah 600 years earlier. In the new covenant, the Lord would forgive everyone who had ever broken any of his commandments. He would forgive their wickedness and forget their sins.

You are living in the new covenant. The Lord has promised forgiveness for you through faith in Jesus regardless of how well you have kept the commandments. Let this assurance be your motivation for keeping his commandments, thanking him for delivering you from your sins.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your new covenant and for delivering me from my sins. Help me keep your commandments 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.

A Superior High Priest – March 25, 2021

Thu, Mar 25, 2021 - 01:00am

Jesus was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:10

A Superior High Priest
Daily Devotion – March 25, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:10
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210325dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The position of high priest in the time before Jesus lived was an important one. The high priest was the one who went to God on behalf of the Jewish people. He was the go-between.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Christians recognized that Jesus is the ultimate high priest. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is compared to the Old Testament high priests to show all of the ways he is superior to them. For example, Old Testament high priests sacrificed animals, but Jesus sacrificed himself. Also, the previous high priests entered the Most Holy Place in the Temple once a year to sprinkle the blood of an animal ceremonially as payment for the sins of the people. Year after year after year the high priest did this. Jesus, however, shed his blood on the cross once for all the sins of the world.

Aren’t you glad you have a High Priest who gave the ultimate and only necessary sacrifice for your sins? What a comfort to know that those sins weighing heavy on your heart have been forgiven. Revel in that forgiveness today. Praise and thank Jesus, your great High Priest!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice so that I can go to heaven and be with you in that most holy 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.

Lifted Up – March 24, 2021

Wed, Mar 24, 2021 - 01:00am

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” [Jesus] said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
John 12:32,33

Lifted Up
Daily Devotion – March 24, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:32,33
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210324dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

The Romans weren’t the only people who used crucifixion as a punishment, but they perfected it. The Roman writer Cicero called it the most cruel and hideous of all tortures. Sometimes bodies would be left hanging on crosses for days so that everyone could see them rot. The Romans used crucifixion to force social conformity. The public display was meant to send a message: commit a crime, and the same thing could happen to you. Famously, after the uprising of slaves led by Spartacus, 6,000 crosses lined the highway to Rome.

Jesus was no criminal and had done nothing wrong. But he was crucified publicly for everyone to see. There was no doubt that he was lifted up, nailed by his hands and his feet to a cross. There was no doubt that he died while hanging on a cross.

Jesus knew that was the kind of death he was going to die. But he didn’t mind it being public. In fact, he wanted everyone to know about it because his death was for everyone. Jesus took the punishment of death and hell for all people, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life.

Jesus draws all people to himself through faith without regard for nationality, ethnic affiliation, status, age, or gender. No matter what has happened in your life, no matter how good or bad it’s been, Jesus draws you to him.

The Romans meant death on the cross to be shameful. But there’s no need for you to feel ashamed of Jesus Christ. He was lifted up so that you would be drawn to him as your Savior.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, draw us to thee, for then shall we walk in thy steps forever and hasten on where thou art gone to be with thee, dear 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.

Planted to Be Glorified – March 23, 2021

Tue, Mar 23, 2021 - 01:00am

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
John 12:23,24

Planted to Be Glorified
Daily Devotion – March 23, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:23,24
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210323dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Dealing with the death of someone you love is difficult. You know that everyone dies, but even when you know it’s coming, it can be surprisingly difficult.

When the time came for Jesus to die, he knew it would not be easy for the people who loved him. They knew he did not deserve to die. He was human, but he hadn’t done anything wrong. He seemed so young and vibrant—powerful in both word and deed.

So Jesus explained that his dying would be like planting a seed in the ground. It seems a shame to bury a seed, but when you see what happens, you realize that there’s a greater purpose. A seed is meant to go into the ground so that it can grow and produce fruit with many more seeds.

When Jesus died and was buried, it paid the appropriate price for the sin of the world. Jesus suffered hell so that his followers would never have to go there. Instead, they will spend their eternity in heaven. They are the seeds Jesus was referring to. His death meant eternal life for many.

It must have been difficult for Jesus’ friends and family to see him die. But now, how glad they are he did as their souls celebrate with him in heaven.

You can be sure Jesus’ death was for you too. Follow him. Trust in him. And spend your eternity celebrating with him in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for being willing to die so that I might live. 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.

We Would Like to See Jesus – March 22, 2021

Mon, Mar 22, 2021 - 01:00am

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
John 12:20,21

We Would Like to See Jesus
Daily Devotion – March 22, 2021

Devotion based on John 12:20,21
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210322dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I was once invited to preach at a different church. When I went into the pulpit to preach, I saw a message written on a piece of wood, a message that only the preacher could read. “Sir,” it said, “we would like to see Jesus.”

I recognized that the words are from the Gospel of John, chapter 12. Jesus in Jerusalem, just a few days away from dying on a cross. Some Greek people who were visiting Jerusalem found one of Jesus’ disciples. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”

When I saw those words written in the pulpit of that church, I knew why they were there. It’s a tremendous privilege to be asked to preach, and there’s a lot of freedom in what a preacher can say from a pulpit. Lutheran pastors understand that with great freedom comes great responsibility. Lutheran congregations expect Lutheran pastors to preach only the Word of God, and the only way to preach the Word of God correctly is to recognize the Savior at the center of it. “Sir,” say Lutheran listeners, “we would like to see Jesus.”

The Greeks who asked that question did not just want to see Jesus. They wanted to interview him, talk to him, hear him speak, understand him.

They aren’t the only ones. When I see how special Jesus is, when I hear the extraordinary things he did for me, when I understand that he loves me and forgives my sins, I want to get to know him more and more.

I hope that’s the case for you, too. Like those Greek people in Jerusalem that day long ago, may you desire to see Jesus and know him more and more.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for letting me see you and know you 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.

Know It All – March 21, 2021

Sun, Mar 21, 2021 - 01:00am

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Matthew 11:25-27

Know It All
Daily Devotion – March 21, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 11:25-27
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210321dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Do you know someone who is a “know-it-all”—the person who usually doesn’t accept your ideas or plans but thinks that he knows better and pursues his own way? That can be frustrating for you, and it may lead you to stop discussing your thoughts with that person who thinks that he is wiser than you are.

In a way, that’s the kind of situation that Jesus is talking about in these verses. God, his Father, hides his truths of salvation from those who have rejected him and think that they know better. In their wisdom, they regard God’s Word as unimportant for their lives. They reject God’s plan of salvation through Jesus because it doesn’t make sense to their learned minds.

Jesus warns us not to be “know-it-alls” when it comes to the truth of salvation that God gives us in his Word. Be like little children who hear and believe. The Word we have is from God; the plan of salvation is revealed to us from “the Lord of heaven and earth.” Who are we to think that we know better! We are not so wise to know the way to the Father on our own, and it is impossible for us to find him and please him no matter how learned we strive to be. So God came to us; the true God in the form of a man—Jesus! “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In the Bible, God has revealed his love for us through Jesus, to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

How greatly God loves us to open up our minds to know him and our hearts to believe in Jesus as our Savior!

Prayer:
Thank you, heavenly Father, for revealing yourself to me through Jesus. Amen.

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

Love That Is Real – March 20, 2021

Sat, Mar 20, 2021 - 01:00am

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Love That Is Real
Daily Devotion – March 20, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 5:8
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210320dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Do you feel loved by God? Do you feel close to him? Do you feel as if his arms are embracing you, carrying you through this day or this night? Do you feel safe, secure, protected? Do you feel as if God is focusing every fiber of his attention on you?

Perhaps you do. But chances are good that you don’t. After all, think about everything going on in your life that can keep that feeling away from you. Perhaps it’s the uncertain economy or trouble at work. Perhaps it’s heartache at home, your finances, your health, or a relationship that’s gone sour. Perhaps it’s the death of someone close. Perhaps at this point in your life, you simply find yourself in a place where you feel empty, isolated, misunderstood, forgotten. But you definitely do not feel loved by God.

But you know what? That’s okay. Think about it: Would you really want to live in a world where God’s love was there for you only when you really felt it? You see, God’s love for you in Jesus Christ is far more dependable, far more certain, far more real than any temporary emotion. In this broken-down world, bad things are going to happen, and those bad things are going to rough up our emotions once in a while. And when that happens, we are not going to feel very loved.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this,” the apostle Paul says. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And so there it is. It’s okay if our frail emotions don’t always feel God’s love. We don’t have to depend on our feelings to know God’s love is real. Instead, we can place our certainty on the One who sent his Son to wash us clean of our every sin.

Prayer:
Holy Father, your love for me in Jesus Christ is real. Forgive me when I’ve trusted my emotions instead of trusting you. In my difficult moments, empower me to rest in you alone. 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 Result – March 19, 2021

Fri, Mar 19, 2021 - 01:00am

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

The Result
Daily Devotion – March 19, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210319dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Hell on earth.” That’s how the husband described the invitation to go Black Friday shopping with his wife. We may chuckle at the hyperbole. But do you ever notice how often “hell” makes its way into conversations? “War is hell.” “Hell, no!” “It’s hotter than hell.” “To hell and back.” “H-E-double-hockey sticks.” “Hell’s Kitchen.”

While “hell” is used to describe many situations on earth, to really savor the sweetness of John 3:16, we need to come to grips with the reality of hell. John 3:16 describes hell as “perishing.” At its most basic definition, hell is separation from God and all of his blessings. Hell is suffering. Hell is rejection. Hell is anger, pain, and sorrow. And hell is where we were headed. But…

That’s what this sweet Bible passage is all about… “but.” In Jesus, God’s one and only Son, we find a “but” to our prescribed destination. “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Just as hell is real, so is heaven. Heaven is seeing God face-to-face. Heaven is being the recipient of every blessing God gives. Heaven is joy, contentment, acceptance, peace. And heaven is what God promises to every person who trusts that Jesus is the Savior they need. Savor the sweet truth that in Jesus, you have life now and forever.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, work faith in my heart that I may receive the gift of eternal life that is mine through God’s one and only Son. Amen.

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

The Gift – March 18, 2021

Thu, Mar 18, 2021 - 01:00am

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

The Gift
Daily Devotion – March 18, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210318dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

My grandparents grew up as neighbors. In fact, my grandfather remembered the day that Grandma was born. They dated for seven years as they couldn’t afford to get married during the Depression. They were married for 68 years. The only night they slept in separate beds was when one was in the hospital. When Grandma died, Grandpa felt every pillow at the funeral home to see if it was soft enough for his bride. Shortly after, Grandpa died of a broken heart—shared experiences cement relationships.

Consider the shared experiences between God the Father and God the Son. Together they conferred before creation, “Let us make mankind in our image” (Genesis 1:26). Together they could reminisce how they rescued Noah and his family during the flood. Together they delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. Together, together, together. Imagine how close that relationship was and is. And yet, at just the right time, God the Father sent his Son into the world. God the Father so loved the world that he gave “his one and only Son.”

We can’t even fathom what a tremendous gift this was! It’s so easy to go through life and look at what we don’t have. Or we look at the gifts that God has given us with a bit of disappointment. “That’s it, Lord? Isn’t there something more?” But when we take a step back and look at the gift that God has given us, when we consider that God gave us “his one and only Son,” we realize a little more what it means that God so loved the world. And I pray, we will never say, “That’s it?” again. Savor the sweetness of this indescribable gift.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to never take you for granted. Open my eyes to see what a testimony you are of the Father’s love for me. Amen.

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

The Recipient – March 17, 2021

Wed, Mar 17, 2021 - 01:00am

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

The Recipient
Daily Devotion – March 17, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210317dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” Many Christians grew up learning this as their first song. But it doesn’t take long before we realize we’re not so lovable. Our classmates don’t include us at the lunch table. Our teenage crush dumps us. Our adult neighbor avoids talking to us at the mailbox. And worst of all, the person in the mirror doesn’t even like us.

Why? It’s not just a difference of personalities. When it comes to the person in the mirror, it’s often what’s on the inside that makes us feel ugly and unlovable. We see our thoughts. We see our disappointments and how we’ve disappointed. We see our guilt. And we soon change the lyrics from, “Jesus loves me. This I know,” to “Jesus loves me? I don’t know.”

When that mis-sung lyric rings loud in your heart, savor the sweetness of John 3:16—God so loved the world. As a pastor, I have often directed people to those words. To the one who confessed adultery, “Are you part of the world? Then what does that mean? God loves you.” To the woman plagued by an abortion from a decade earlier, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” To the Christian fighting homosexual desires, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” To the one who tried to take their own life, not once but twice, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” To the one sitting reading this devotion, “Are you part of the world? God loves you.” It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done; you are the recipient of God’s love. Savor the sweetness of that truth.

Prayer:
Lord, when I feel unlovable, turn my eyes to the truth of your Word which assures me of your universal love. Amen.

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

The Giver – March 16, 2021

Tue, Mar 16, 2021 - 01:00am

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

The Giver
Daily Devotion – March 16, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210316dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Recently, I read an article titled, “What To Do When Someone Gives You a Gift and You Didn’t Get Them One.” The unexpected gift can be extremely awkward. Granted, some say that we live in an era of entitlement, so maybe we expect gifts. But a gift from God? That’s what our Bible passage for today tells us. God gave us a gift.

The title “God” is so common, showing up more than 4,500 times in the Bible. When something or someone is so common, we can take it for granted, even when it comes to gift-giving. On our birthday, we expect a gift from our spouse or significant other. At Christmas, we expect gifts from the person who has our name in the name exchange. But what if you came home today and Amazon delivered a gift to your doorstep that said, “To: Me, From: The President,” or, “To: Me, From: Your Favorite Celebrity.” No matter what the gift was, you would think, “Wow, I got a gift from so-and-so.” You would feel special. But John 3:16 says that God has given you a gift! God doesn’t just govern a country; he governs the world. God isn’t just a celebrity on the big screen, he’s made himself known through the skies themselves (Psalm 19:1). And yet, he has given you a gift. He wrapped up the gift of his Son and said, “To: You, From: God.” Wow!

So, how do you react to such an unexpected gift? The magazine article reference earlier strictly warned, “Don’t pretend you have a present for them and that you just forgot it. Rather, understand that people are excited to show their love by giving gifts.” That’s some good advice. God’s love language is gift-giving. Instead of pretending you can offer anything in return, be humbled and show your genuine appreciation by savoring the sweetness of the Giver. Savor the sweetness that God thought of you. Savor the sweetness of his love.

Prayer:
God, you are big and powerful, and yet you thought of me. Thank you. Amen.

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

Sweetness of the Love of God – March 15, 2021

Mon, Mar 15, 2021 - 01:00am

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Sweetness of the Love of God
Daily Devotion – March 15, 2021

Devotion based on John 3:16
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210315dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Grandpas carry them in their pockets. Restaurants have them stocked by the register. Some churches have them in a basket in the entryway. I even know one church that called them “Sermon Sweets.” For over a century, peppermint candy has been bringing fresh breath to millions of mouths.

But what’s the problem with it? Even though these classic candies have been around for a long time, they don’t always last long in our mouths. We let the flavor sit on our tongues for thirty seconds, but before long, we lose our patience and chomp it down, and before long, we wish we had another piece.

Do we ever treat God’s Word the same way, particularly the popular passages? For example, the Bible passage for our devotion today is John 3:16. It has topped the “Most Popular Bible Passages” for many years. It has made its way onto posters at football games and tattooed on many arms. But, specifically, because many of us have heard or read this passage so many times, it is easy to fail to savor what it really says.

Listen again: “God so loved the world.” Perhaps more now than any other time in our lifetime, love is what’s missing in this world. Mostly because we fail to define love, all too often, we’ve make love an emotion. With God, it’s an action. A selfless action that doesn’t count the cost. And that’s what we see so clearly when we let our mind’s eye picture Jesus on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins. That horrible death allows us to see the extent of God’s love for us. He wanted us to spend our eternity with him so much that he was willing to sacrifice his Son to make it happen.

Today, don’t let these words disappear from your thoughts too quickly. Savor them. Spend the day relaxing in the reality that the God of this universe loves you.

Prayer:
Lord, help me slow down and savor the sweetness of your love. Amen.

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

A Question For You – March 14, 2021

Sun, Mar 14, 2021 - 02:00am

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

A Question For You
Daily Devotion – March 14, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:32
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210314dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

How are you feeling about the future? For many people, thinking about what is going to happen fills them with a sense of fear and worry. They wonder things like: “What will happen with my job? What about my savings? What about my expenses?” The questions can also be about people we care about: “What about the kids? What about my parents on a fixed income?” And the questions we have might even be bigger: “What about my country? What’s going to happen to this nation—the place I call home?”

For all of our questions, the apostle Paul has a question for you. He asks, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” In other words, here you and I are with a God who loves us so much that he gave up his Son to wash us clean of our sins and to claim us as his own. The question from Paul is: If God kept that promise, don’t you think he’ll keep his other promises too?

Perhaps it’s time for each of us to take a break from the news, sit down with our Lord in a quiet place, and answer Paul’s question with a confident sigh of relief knowing that our gracious God will certainly give us all the things we need. After all, he was willing to give his own Son to save us.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in these troubled times, I often fill my mind with fearful questions. Through your word, fill me with the answer to the question that really matters. Amen.

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

The Good News of the Bible – March 13, 2021

Sat, Mar 13, 2021 - 02:00am

The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.
1 Corinthians 1:25

The Good News of the Bible
Daily Devotion – March 13, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:25
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210313dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Author David Platt, in his book, Radical, tells the story of what happened when he was standing outside of a Buddhist temple in Indonesia. As he stood there, he got into a conversation with two people—a Buddhist leader and a Muslim leader. Both of them embraced what seemed to be a very reasonable belief. They believed that, while there were superficial differences among the major religions, all of them basically taught the same thing. Then they asked David Platt what he thought.

He said, “It sounds as though you both picture God at the top of a mountain. It seems as if you believe that we are all at the bottom of the mountain, and I may take one route up the mountain, you may take another, and in the end, we will all end up in the same place.”

To this, the Buddhist and the Muslim said, “Exactly! You understand!”

But then he leaned in and said, “Now let me ask you a question. What would you think if I told you that the God at the top of the mountain actually came down to where we are? What would you think if I told you that God doesn’t wait for people to find their way to him, but instead he comes to us?”

They both thought for a moment and then responded, “That would be great!”

David Platt then replied, “Let me introduce you to Jesus.”

Current human wisdom believes that all forms of spirituality are essentially the same. Such a belief seems logical. Without question, it’s very convenient. And it’s dead wrong.

Never forget how radical the message of the Bible really is. It’s not about our getting up to God. It’s about God coming down to us in the person of Jesus Christ. It’s not about making ourselves holy before God. It’s about God living a holy life in our place. And it’s not about cleansing ourselves of our wrongs. It’s about God going to the cross to wash our sins away.

Thank God that this is the good news the Bible has to share.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for coming down 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.

Jesus Was Zealous For Us – March 12, 2021

Fri, Mar 12, 2021 - 02:00am

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:17

Jesus Was Zealous For Us
Daily Devotion – March 12, 2021

Devotion based on John 2:17
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210312dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus had the proper attitude for worship, and it is described in one word: zeal. Zeal is an inward passion for something. Jesus had it. This verse says he was devoured or consumed by it. Jesus loved the Lord’s house. He burned for it. He longed to be there and was righteously angry when others did not treat God’s house the same way.

Sadly, we don’t always display this same kind of zeal for worshiping in God’s house. Often our zeal for God and his Word is replaced by laziness, indifference, or even contempt. We often have a zeal for other things: work, play, and sports. How often don’t we get more fired up for the big game than to hear a sermon? If given the option, would we prefer catching our limit out on the lake or taking part in a worship service? We can often be zealous for things, just not the most important things.

Thank God Jesus was not like us. The disciples noticed that Jesus was zealous. It is important for us to understand that Jesus was perfectly zealous. This zeal that is so obvious in this verse, is the same zeal that drove him all the way to the cross to die for our sins. Jesus was inwardly consumed to obey God’s will. In fact, he was so consumed with the idea of saving you from your sins that he was willing to suffer in your place. He was falsely accused. He was laughed at and made fun of. He was beaten and flogged. He was nailed to a cross and died for you.

Thank God that Jesus was zealous for us! Through him, we are saved and forgiven. Through him, heaven is our home. And Jesus has just as much zeal now to continue to lead you toward that heavenly home.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for your zeal in achieving my salvation. Forgive me for my sins and move me to be zealous for you 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.

Distractions – March 11, 2021

Thu, Mar 11, 2021 - 02:00am

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables changing money.
John 2:13,14

Distractions
Daily Devotion – March 11, 2021

Devotion based on John 2:13,14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210311dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

It must have been quite the scene in the Temple that day. One might compare it to the opening day of the county fair. Try to picture it for a moment. As you walk through the gates, you hear the noises of cattle and the loud back-and-forth bartering between the moneychangers and their customers. You look around, and you get the impression that you are at a cattle auction. Oxen, sheep, and doves are everywhere. And then, of course, there would be the smell. Imagine the stench!

Yet, it was not the smell of cattle that aroused the righteous anger of Jesus that day. Far worse than the smell of animals in the courtyard was the spiritual stench in and around God’s house. The courtyard of the Temple was where non-Jewish believers were allowed to worship. Imagine how difficult this must have been with so many merchants buying and sheep bleating!

How many distractions are in your life that keeps you from focusing on God? How many different things are keeping you from worship or daily prayer and devotion? Life provides no shortage of things that daily distract us from our relationship with God. Unchecked, these distractions can drive us further and further away from the Lord.

Thankfully, God was never distracted from saving us. Our heavenly Father let nothing get in the way of his plan to win our salvation. Jesus, our Savior, let nothing distract him from his mission of going to the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. Our Savior was and is always focused on us. His life, death, and resurrection have assured us that we have a place in heaven through faith in him.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for your determination in winning forgiveness and eternal life in heaven for me. Help me to eliminate the distractions in my life and to focus on you 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.

Filled With the Spirit – March 10, 2021

Wed, Mar 10, 2021 - 02:00am

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Romans 8:9

Filled With the Spirit
Daily Devotion – March 10, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:9
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210310dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Is it in you? Do you remember those Gatorade commercials? If it, namely Gatorade, is in you, then you will be a far better athlete. If Gatorade is not in you, better luck next time. The commercials focus on athletes in their most crucial moments. They show Michael Jordan hitting the game-winning shot against the Cavaliers. They show Derek Jeter making a clutch out in the divisional playoffs. They show Kevin Garnett finally cutting down the net as an NBA champion.

The commercials help you relive those clutch moments in sports. And you are left with the distinct impression that if those all-world athletes had not been filled with Gatorade, they would not have come through in the clutch. Gatorade, that magic elixir, enabled those athletes to do amazing things. No Gatorade equals no victory. The screen goes black, and the question appears: Is it in you?

This verse from the book of Romans asks the same question: is it in you? Except the author is not talking about a sports drink loaded down with essential vitamins and nutrients; rather he is talking about the Holy Spirit of God. “Is the Spirit in you?” That is an important question. And the verse says, if we do not have the Spirit, we do not belong to Christ.

So how do we get the Spirit? Not through our feelings, as some would say. Rather, the Holy Spirit comes to us as we hear and read the Bible. The Spirit works through the wonderful message about Jesus—the one who gave his life in our place to pay for sin and give us the free gift of eternal life. When we hear God’s Word and read about Jesus’ love, the Spirit is at work. As we get to know more about our Savior Jesus, the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and lives and leads us to live for our Lord. Then, filled with the Spirit, we will receive the ultimate victory of eternal life in heaven.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your Word. Bless my time in the Bible that I may be filled with the Holy Spirit. 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 a Loving God – March 9, 2021

Tue, Mar 09, 2021 - 02:00am

“But showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.”
Exodus 20:6

God Is a Loving God
Daily Devotion – March 9, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 20:6
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210309dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Of all the ways God describes himself in the Bible, love is perhaps his most important attribute. God wants to show us his love. The word for love in this verse is a word that the Bible only uses to describe the love God has for sinners. It is a faithful love. It is an unfailing, devoted, and loyal love. How remarkable that even as we have been cheating on God, he has been loyal to us. We have never been and will never be perfectly loyal to God, but that did not stop him from being perfectly loyal to us.

Even though he knew we would sin and often turn away from him, God resolved to prove his loyalty to us beyond a shadow of a doubt, and he proved it like this: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. When it came time to show what place we had in God’s heart, he did not hold back. He did not cheat on us or back out of the deal. Instead, he gave up his very own Son to take our place and die a sinner’s death.

Do you see how committed God is to you? See it in the blood that drips down from the cross. See it in the restraint he shows by allowing Jesus to remain on the cross to endure the full judgment over sin. See it in the way he forgives you anew and grants you a new day every morning. See it in the way God continues to patiently wait and hope for us to call on him in prayer.

God is a loving God. He is forgiving, generous, and kind. God wants you to be with him forever. He wants to be number one in your life. He will work hard to keep you with him forever. In response to his amazing love for you, be faithful to him.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for your faithful love to me in Christ Jesus. Filled with his love, move me to be faithful 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.

A Jealous God – March 8, 2021

Mon, Mar 08, 2021 - 02:00am

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”
Exodus 20:5

A Jealous God
Daily Devotion – March 8, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 20:5
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210308dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

We like to think about God as a loving, forgiving, generous, patient, our friend, everything we need. He certainly is all those things and more!

Thinking of God as a jealous God makes us a little uneasy. To our English ears, that sounds bad or even sinful. That sounds like God wishes he had what we have or that he could somehow be like us. But that is not what it means when the Bible says that God is a jealous God.

When God describes himself as jealous, he means that he has an all-consuming zeal to see that we are okay. It means that he wants to be with us. More than that, though, it means that he wants us to be with him. He wants to be our God. In fact, when God says that he is a jealous God, what he is saying is that he wants to be exclusive with us. He does not want us to have any other gods. He wants all our attention and worship and praise. He does not want to share us with any of the countless false gods and idols in this world.

God wants us to be exclusive with him. But, sadly, we aren’t. How many times have we cheated on God just in the last week–when we loved our friends or our hobbies or ourselves more than we loved him?

Still, in spite of how often we have been unfaithful to him, God showed his unwavering commitment to us when he sent his own Son to die on the cross to pay for all our sins so that we could belong to God now and forever. That is how jealous God is of our relationship with him.

Now, aren’t you glad your God is a jealous God?

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for being committed to me and for saving me through Jesus. Help me to look only to you as my salvation. Amen.

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