WELS Daily Devotions

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WELS Daily Devotions
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The Ten Commandments – March 7, 2021

Sun, Mar 07, 2021 - 02:00am

You shall have no other gods before me. . . . You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God. . . . Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . . . Honor your father and your mother. . . . You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet.
Exodus 20:1-17 (selected verses)

The Ten Commandments
Daily Devotion – March 7, 2021

Devotion based on Exodus 20:1-17
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210307dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Are you sure you want to read this?

These are scary words. They are so scary that after the Lord spoke these words to the people of Israel from the top of Mt. Sinai, they asked that Moses speak to them and not God. Most people know these words as the Ten Commandments. These are God’s righteous demands on all people. Jesus summarized them by saying, “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37,39). But who does that? No one!

And not keeping these commandments is no small thing. God says, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law” (Galatians 3:10). No wonder the people of Israel didn’t like to hear these words. They offer no comfort, no relief, no hope. But that is their power. That is their purpose.

Having condemned us as law-breaking sinners, that same God who thundered down the Ten Commandments says with a tenderness that only this God can have, “I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). God sent his Son, Jesus, to take on our sins against the Ten Commandments and pay for them with his death on the cross. “God was reconciling the world unto himself in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19). “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

The Ten Commandments are scary words. But they are also beautiful words because they chase us to Jesus.

Prayer:
For all the times I have broken your Ten Commandments, Lord, I ask you to forgive me. I am confident of your forgiveness because of what Jesus did 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 Difference – March 6, 2021

Sat, Mar 06, 2021 - 02:00am

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3,4

The Difference
Daily Devotion – March 6, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 5:3,4
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210306dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

For many, it is the stuff of nightmares, a physical condition too horrific to contemplate, the worst of worst-case scenarios. But for a young boy by the name of Nick Vujicic [pronounced, “VOY-yitch-itch”], this nightmare was real.

Nick was born with no arms and no legs. Let that sink in for a moment. He was born with no arms and no legs. What you and I could not imagine facing for one month or even one day, Nick was facing for his entire life. By the age of 8, the darkness of his circumstances was about to swallow him. “I have no life,” he thought. “I’ll never get married. I’ll never be able to do anything. I’ll never be able to be anything. I have no life.”

Fast forward 25 years. Today, Nick travels around the world, giving motivational speeches to children, adults, business leaders, prisoners, and everyone in-between. He’s a college graduate, drives a car, goes fishing, records music, plays soccer, and swims. He’s married and the father of a young son.

What happened? What made such a difference? Nick’s physical circumstances did not change. He still has no arms and no legs. What made the difference was the gospel. What made the difference was Jesus Christ.

Through the message of sins forgiven and new life in Jesus, Nick came to see his life very differently. As a redeemed child of God through faith in his Savior, Nick recognized that he had a unique opportunity to encourage others with the good news of Christ. Now his heart overflows in thankfulness. As Nick likes to say, “I’ve never met a thankful person who was bitter. And I’ve never met a bitter person who was thankful.”

Don’t misunderstand. Nick’s life is still difficult. It’s still full of struggle. But seeing his life as Jesus sees his life has made all the difference. That is what makes all the difference for you and me too.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as I struggle through this world, open my eyes to see my life as you see my life. Empower me to live a life that proclaims 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.

Simple Math – March 5, 2021

Fri, Mar 05, 2021 - 02:00am

[Jesus said], “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Mark 8:36,37

Simple Math
Daily Devotion – March 5, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:36,37
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210305dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

I like simple math. It’s beautiful. One thing that makes it beautiful is if you work the problem correctly, the answer is always the same. No matter what, if you add three plus four correctly, it always equals seven.

That’s no accident. God created it that way. A feature of God’s goodness to us is the creative order he has put in place. Whether we realize it or not, we rely on that order every day. Just think how difficult and confusing life would be if, on one day, three plus four equaled eight, and then on another day, it equaled five. Everything would be thrown into utter chaos.

Jesus taught his disciples some simple math in Mark chapter 8. He asked, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

Our Savior’s point was simple and straightforward. He was pointing out that there are two alternatives for how to approach our lives in this world. Either we can be selfish, self-serving, self-indulgent, self-interested in an effort to “gain the whole world,” or we can be selfless, self-sacrificing, and self-giving to others in unconditional love. If we choose the first alternative, Jesus says, the outcome is certain. Such a person will “forfeit their soul” and face eternal destruction and despair. If we pursue the second alternative—and follow in Jesus’ footsteps—we will “save” our lives and reap an eternal reward.

This isn’t complicated, Jesus points out. It’s simple math.

The apostle Paul taught the same lesson in Galatians chapter 6. He presented the equation this way. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

How thankful we can be that God sent his only Son, Jesus, to rescue us from our sinful selfishness and give us new life!

How will you use your new life? You do the math.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, inspire me to use my new life in service to you and others in 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.

Jesus Came To Save Us From Ourselves – March 4, 2021

Thu, Mar 04, 2021 - 02:00am

Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
Mark 8:34,35

Jesus Came To Save Us From Ourselves
Daily Devotion – March 4, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:34,35
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210304dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jesus once had a notable conversation with some people who expressed faith in him. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The crowd took offense. What did Jesus mean, they would be set free? They had never been slaves to anyone! But he responded, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:31-34).

It’s the perfect definition of sin. Sin is slavery to yourself.

That’s why we sin, right? We do things that are wrong because we love ourselves. We sin because we believe that we will gain some advantage for ourselves. When we survey the situation and conclude, “This won’t benefit me at all,” we immediately cease and desist. Sin is nothing more than self-love, selfishness, self-indulgence. Sin is all about me.

And that’s why Jesus came, to save us from ourselves. He did that by taking the burden of us and our sinfulness on himself rather than being selfish and saying, “You fix it.” Even though Jesus had no sin, he foisted on himself the burden and guilt of the world’s sin (1 John 2:1,2). We have forgiveness freely. Jesus gives us his perfection. Why? Because he loves us, and everyone (1 John 4:10).

But remember why Jesus came? To save us from ourselves! That’s why he says that whoever wants to be his disciple “must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” God’s people don’t run back to their selfish way of living after Jesus saves them. They strive to be selfless toward others just as he has been perfectly selfless toward us.

When we “lose our lives” this way—surrendering our selfishness and living in the freedom of a life serving others—we find out what true life is really all about. It’s not about me. It’s all about others.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for saving me from myself. 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 Big Picture – March 3, 2021

Wed, Mar 03, 2021 - 02:00am

“Get behind me, Satan!” [Jesus] said, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Mark 8:33

The Big Picture
Daily Devotion – March 3, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:33
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210303dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Are you a “big picture” kind of person? Do you have the ability to anticipate what might happen in the future as you weigh this alternative versus that one? Can you analyze the pros and cons?

Some people seem to have the uncanny ability to foresee the future and stave off disaster. We call that gift wisdom or prudence. Especially when making big decisions, it’s important to see and consider the big picture.

But no sinful human being has perfect prudence. Worldly wisdom often fails. The reason for this is simple. We cannot know with certainty what the future holds based on our human understanding and intuition. At best, we make educated guesses. But our calculated wisdom and painstaking prudence offer no guarantees. The Bible says, “No one knows what is coming—who can tell someone else what will happen after them?” (Ecclesiastes 10:14).

Peter thought he was prudent by imploring Jesus to avoid his cross. It made perfect sense! Why would anyone purposefully go up to Jerusalem so that he could “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law,” only to “be killed” (Mark 8:31)? Which one of us would have argued that Peter was wrong?

We wouldn’t have, but Jesus did. And why? Because our Savior sees the big picture. Unlike us, he knew the future and understood what lay ahead on the road for sinners like you and me should he listen to Peter’s prudence and shun his suffering and cross. His evasion would mean our devastation.

Jesus didn’t mince words. He knew who was hiding behind Peter’s iron-clad logic. It was the devil himself, who would have loved nothing more than to watch Jesus abandon us to the grave and hell forever.

But our Savior saw right through it. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Peter was only noticing the short-term disadvantage to Jesus. Our Savior saw the big picture. His cross meant our salvation. His death meant our life. His resurrection meant our eternal victory.

That’s all that mattered to Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for saving me from my broken logic and shortsightedness. 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.

Unanswered Prayers – March 2, 2021

Tue, Mar 02, 2021 - 02:00am

[Jesus] spoke plainly about [his suffering], and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter.
Mark 8:32,33

Unanswered Prayers
Daily Devotion – March 2, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:32,33
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210302dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Have you ever wanted something so badly—prayed for something passionately—only to discover later in life how thankful you ought to be that you didn’t get what you once wanted so desperately? So often, we have to thank God for “unanswered” prayers, requests that we’ve made to him, which he replied with a big, fat “no.”

Why doesn’t God give us everything that we want? Because he loves us too much, and he knows that what we want is not always what’s best for us in the long run.

That’s what our Savior wants for us most of all, the very best things that last forever. He’s not interested in our instant gratification that ultimately ends in ruin and destruction. What good does that do? He wants to give us his blessings and life that last eternally, even when we beg him for the opposite and rebuke him when he refuses.

When Jesus told his disciples about the suffering he must undergo as our perfect Savior, Peter begged him to stop talking that way. Indeed, Mark tells us, he “began to rebuke him.”

Don’t get Peter wrong. This wasn’t hateful, nor was it necessarily selfish. His intentions were sincere. He loved Jesus, and he wanted to prevent the horrible series of events that his master had just outlined for his future. So he prayed earnestly to Jesus, “Keep this from happening to you!” If Jesus wouldn’t prevent it, Peter would do his best to block him in love.

But Jesus resisted his dear disciple’s pleadings, even though he realized the prayer was offered in good faith. Why resist him? Because he knew that, even though granting Peter’s request would result in a much better outcome for himself, it would have doomed Peter and us to everlasting destruction.

But that’s not what Jesus wants. No, he “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). What is that truth? Jesus loves you. He’s saved you completely. Your sin is forgiven. Heaven is yours. Believe it, it’s true.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for doing all things to grant me the gift of everlasting life. Amen.

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

Bucket List – March 1, 2021

Mon, Mar 01, 2021 - 02:00am

[Jesus] then began to teach [his disciples] that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
Mark 8:31

Bucket List
Daily Devotion – March 1, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 8:31
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210301dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Do you have a bucket list, a list of things you must do before you die?

I don’t have a bucket list. Maybe that means I’m unimaginative or that I’m content. Perhaps it’s a little of both. But I really can’t say that there’s any one thing I must do before I die. Otherwise, I might feel as though my life would end unfulfilled.

I suppose that there are some people who have taken the time to put together a bucket list. And I imagine that the activities on their lists include every type of fun and enjoyable adventures, things meant to bring a smile to a person’s face. After all, that’s why bucket lists exist. Right? They’re all about me, my self-fulfillment, my self-indulgence.

Did you know that Jesus had a bucket list? He absolutely did. But his list didn’t include a bunch of fun, self-indulgent activities. No, Jesus’ bucket list was all about his suffering in self-sacrificing love for you and me and every sinner.

True, Jesus didn’t concoct his own list. It was given to him by his Father before he was born. But it wasn’t crammed down his throat either. Not at all. Jesus accepted it joyfully and willingly. And he strove with all his being to carry out the items on that list perfectly and passionately.

In Mark chapter 8, Jesus revealed his list to his closest friends. He told them how he “must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.”

This was more than a premonition on Jesus’ part. It was a promise. Each item on his bucket list was going to get crossed off, no matter what.

And why? Because Jesus loves you that much. Because he wants you to know that heaven is yours. Trust him! His bucket list is complete, and it wasn’t about him. It was about you!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for your faithful and perfect love and your willingness to sacrifice all things 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.

Peace With God – February 28, 2021

Sun, Feb 28, 2021 - 02:00am

Jacob had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac . . . I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Genesis 28:12,13,15

Peace With God
Daily Devotion – February 28, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 28:12,13,15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210228dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Jacob was a mess. He had to leave home much earlier than planned, and some of that was his fault. His brother Esau was so angry at him that he was comforting himself with the thought of murdering Jacob. As if that weren’t terrifying enough, there was more fuel for fear as Jacob fled from his homeland and found himself in unfamiliar surroundings. His pillow was a rock; the ground was his bed. He faced many dangers, and his only companion was his guilty conscience. There was no peace in his heart.

That’s when the LORD revealed himself to Jacob in a dream, to bring Jacob the peace he desperately needed. In the dream, there was a stairway with angels going up and down. The LORD himself was at the top. He assured Jacob, “I am with you. I will watch over you, wherever you go. I will bring you back. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised.” God gave Jacob the one thing that he could find nowhere else—peace. There were many questions, but there was no question about whether Jacob was at peace with God.

Why are you afraid today? There are many possibilities, for there is plenty of fuel for fear in our world. And just like Jacob, peace is impossible for us to find—until we discover God’s gracious promises in Jesus. All sin is paid. We are forgiven through Christ. There may be questions, but in Christ, there is no question about where we stand with God.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your peace that surpasses all understanding. When I am filled with fears, and when those fears raise questions, remind me that in Jesus there is no question about my status as your eternal, 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.

Our Substitute – February 27, 2021

Sat, Feb 27, 2021 - 02:00am

The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.
Genesis 22:15-19

Our Substitute
Daily Devotion – February 27, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 22:15-19
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210227dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

At Mount Moriah, God swore an oath to Abraham. Swearing is calling a higher authority to be a witness. God swore by himself because there is no higher authority.

God’s oath promised that Abraham’s descendants would become very numerous. They would enjoy material conquest, capturing cities, and possessing land. And from them would come a man through whom everyone on earth would consider themselves blessed: Jesus Christ. And it is believers in Christ who are truly the spiritual descendants and offspring of Abraham.

The conquest for Christians was won by Christ on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. He paid for our sins with his death, freeing us from the bondage of Satan and hell, and he triumphed over the grave, freeing us from the bondage of death as well. We have the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ because he offered up his life for us as a substitute on the cross and when God brought him back to life and raised him from the dead, he showed us that death has been conquered, for all of us.

Prayer:
Jesus, you have taken away my fear of death by becoming my substitute in death. Give my heart the peace of the forgiveness of sins and the joy of your victory over death. 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 Calls For a Change – February 26, 2021

Fri, Feb 26, 2021 - 02:00am

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark 1:15

Love Calls For a Change
Daily Devotion – February 26, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:15
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210226dev_2.mp3
See series: Devotions

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem stands over the supposed place where Jesus was born. The main entrance is a low framed door. This four-foot-high door forces pilgrims to bow face-first while entering—as an outward sign of humility.

I didn’t get the memo. Because of my height, I bowed and stepped in backward. I didn’t make it through the Door of Humility. A security guard stopped me, forced me back outside, and instructed me to enter properly.

For hundreds of years, the Christian Church has observed a season of the year called Lent. Lent is like that door in the Church of the Nativity. It is meant to make us bow our heads in humility.

It is an important reminder. We have all sinned. None of us measure up to God’s approval. We cannot enter his kingdom with our heads held high. If we try, we will not remember how desperately we need Jesus. Though Jesus had no sin of his own, he was condemned and crucified for ours. His death sets us free from death, and his resurrection opens the way to God’s kingdom for all who trust in him.

That’s how much God loves us! And, having been so loved, we are changed. Instead of fear, there is faith. Instead of guilt, there is joy. Instead of judgment, there is forgiveness. Instead of hell, there is heaven. Instead of death, there is life. A life that delights to live to serve and please the Savior who so perfectly served us.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, cleanse me, comfort me, change me with your abundant 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.

Optimistic Love – February 25, 2021

Thu, Feb 25, 2021 - 02:00am

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.
Mark 1:14

Optimistic Love
Daily Devotion – February 25, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:14
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210225dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

A painkiller. That’s what 19th Century philosopher Karl Marx called religion. He saw Christianity as a cop-out. A way for people to avoid the hardships of current reality by doping up on the promises of religion.

You might think that’s what Jesus offers when you see how he responded after King Herod imprisoned Jesus’ cousin, John. John had spoken out against the king’s illegitimate marriage. John’s followers must have been distraught. And what did Jesus do? He went around proclaiming the good news. It seems a little harsh or insensitive, at least.

Jesus didn’t need sensitivity training. He just knew the bigger picture. John’s job was to point the world to Jesus. Jesus’ job was to save the world from sin, death, and hell. John must decrease so that Jesus could increase. Jesus wasn’t a fool; he knew what would happen to him. He knew he must endure cruelty and crucifixion. He endured it anyway because he knew he would triumph. He would rise from the dead and be the source of eternal life for all who trust in him.

This Good News of Jesus is not an opiate from the reality of the world’s bad news. It is our optimistic reality despite the bad news of the world. While hardship will always be part of this life, Jesus gives us the freedom to respond to those hardships in a positive way. Because he lived and died for us and now lives again, we are free to be the victor rather than play the victim. Forgiveness is ours! God’s love is ours! Eternal life is ours! Victory is ours!

Come what may—distress, or deprivation, or danger, or death—you are more than victorious through Jesus who loved you and gave himself for you.

That’s Good News!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, how optimistic your love for me is. I can face any danger or disaster victoriously! 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.

Attentive Love – February 24, 2021

Wed, Feb 24, 2021 - 02:00am

He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Mark 1:13

Attentive Love
Daily Devotion – February 24, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:13
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210224dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Imagine coming home from a hard day. You call a friend, talk to your spouse, or pour out your heart to your mom or dad. You are hoping for comfort and encouragement. But you get no response, no reaction. Your confidant just sits there, staring into space, saying nothing. After a few minutes of silence, if you don’t say it out loud, you might be saying it in your head: “Don’t you care?”

Although there may be times when the people in your life don’t seem to care, you can be sure that God cares. He cares when you cry. He cares when you worry. And he cares when you are being tempted to do the wrong thing and go the wrong way.

Fighting against temptation is a daily battle for every Christian. When we want to do the right thing, evil is always there to sabotage us. We do the evil we are trying to avoid and avoid the good we are trying to do. It is exhausting.

Thanks be to God; we don’t fight those battles alone, and we don’t win them on our own. God attends to our every need. He puts his name on us and claims us as his own. He gives us the victory Jesus won by resisting every temptation for us and paying for our failures to resist temptation with his holy lifeblood. You are God’s child. He loves you.

He even has special, powerful allies to assist him in caring for you. The Bible says that God sends his angels to attend you in all your ways. When you face temptation, his angels are at hand to reinforce you. When you fight temptation and the devil flees, the protection provided by God’s angels refreshes you in keeping with God’s life-giving Word.

God cares. All day, all night, his angels watch over you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, let your holy angel be with me that the devil may have no power over 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.

Sympathetic Love – February 23, 2021

Tue, Feb 23, 2021 - 02:00am

He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.
Mark 1:13

Sympathetic Love
Daily Devotion – February 23, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:13
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210223dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Unless you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, you wouldn’t understand.”

Have you ever had this thought? Every day we experience troubles, trials, and temptations. Every day, most people—even those closest to us—won’t know the half of it. Sometimes this is because people are too busy to ask or too self-focused to care. Other times it is because, to protect ourselves, we keep what we think and feel and experience bottled up and locked in.

But no matter who you are or what you have experienced, you have someone who knows you intimately. His name is Jesus. And he is not out of touch with your reality. He knows your triggers. He knows your turmoil. He has walked in your shoes. He went through weakness and testing in all the ways you have. He has experienced it all, except for the sin. And because he has, he can protect you.

He was born to protect you. The reason he came into this world was to destroy the devil’s work. The devil’s work is sin, and his end goal is our damnation. But Jesus fought the devil for us and won. God put our sin on Jesus, who never sinned so that Jesus could make us right with God. He endured our hell. He experienced our death. And in exchange, he offers us his righteous life. Because Jesus was perfectly obedient—even to death on a cross for us—those who trust in him are perfectly holy. God does not judge us guilty.

Jesus doesn’t just protect you from future judgment. Every moment of every day, he is ready with his power to protect you. This doesn’t mean that you will never again be tested, tried, or tempted. But when temptations come, Jesus’ protection is just a prayer away.

Jesus understands. He died and was raised again to free you from the devil’s work. Go to him at any time, in any trouble. Ask him for his strength to stand up against the devil. Jesus will give it. And the devil will flee.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one. 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.

Eager Love – February 22, 2021

Mon, Feb 22, 2021 - 02:00am

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.
Mark 1:12,13

Eager Love
Daily Devotion – February 22, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 1:12,13
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210222dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

“Just a minute.”

How often has someone said that to you? Your child when you tell her it’s time for dinner. Your spouse when you ask for help with the dishes. Your friend when you have important news you want to share.

Sometimes, “just a minute” is a valid response. At the moment, you are wrapped up in something that you cannot walk away from. You want to help but just physically can’t. Other times, “just a minute” is simply a selfish response. You just don’t want to listen. You just are feeling lazy. You just would rather do your own thing.

What a difference “at once” makes! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every time you needed someone’s help or needed someone to listen, they were there? We could all use the power and possibility of an eager love like that in our lives.

God’s love is like that. The Son of God, Jesus, had just been baptized in the Jordan River. As soon as the Holy Spirit inaugurated him into the office of Savior, he wasted no time in sending Jesus into the wilderness to begin his work of saving us. His work began with battling the devil and ended with bowing to death. But God raised Jesus from the dead because he did his job perfectly. Believing in him, you are instantly free from the due penalty and punishment of sin.

If God didn’t hesitate to love you in that way, he certainly won’t stop gladly and freely loving you. When you call on him for help, he won’t drag his feet to do what he knows is right and best for you right this minute.

That’s how willingly, eagerly, and urgently God loves you.

Prayer:
Lord God, you are my hope and salvation. You will not forsake or abandon me. In temptation and trouble, come quickly to help me. Do not delay! 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.

Christ Removes the Crushing Weight – February 21, 2021

Sun, Feb 21, 2021 - 02:00am

But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
Romans 8:10

Christ Removes the Crushing Weight
Daily Devotion – February 21, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 8:10
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210221dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

From time to time, we hear of human beings doing extraordinary things, like the woman who managed to lift the end of a 3,600-pound car off her son when the jack slipped. In extreme emergencies, people have been known to reach back into a resource of hidden physical strength and mental resourcefulness they didn’t know they had. Can they do this all by themselves? Or is this a miraculous help from God?

The author of the book of Hebrews devotes his 11th chapter to Old Testament men and women who were heroes of faith. It was from God that they drew their strength. In one dimension of life, however, human strength cannot avail. It does not enable us to save others or ourselves from the power and the punishment of sin. By the labors of our hands, we cannot fulfill God’s demands, earn salvation, or pull ourselves out of the dilemma of doing things we don’t want to do and not doing the good God demands.

What is more, the psalmist declares, “No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him” (Psalm 49:7). The ransom demanded would be entirely too great. But what we can’t do, Jesus did for us. He gave his life as a ransom for the whole world of sinners so that all who believe in him as the Savior are freed from the burden of unpaid spiritual bills, the fear of death, and the crushing weight of sin—just as that woman lifted the weight of a car off her son. WOW! Nothing short of a miracle of God! Jesus was lifted up on a cross that he might remove our load and bring us to himself.

Prayer:
God of heaven and earth, please stand near me with Your strength that makes me perfect in my weakness. In Jesus’ name, I pray. 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.

Escaping Death – February 20, 2021

Sat, Feb 20, 2021 - 02:00am

As [Elijah and Elisha] were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
2 Kings 2:11

Escaping Death
Daily Devotion – February 20, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Kings 2:11
https://wels2.blob.core.windows.net/daily-devotions/20210220dev.mp3
See series: Devotions

Death and taxes—these are two certainties of life for everyone—everyone except for the prophet Elijah. God granted him the privilege of escaping physical death. God took him directly into heaven. The question that begs to be asked is ‘Why?’

As we read through the life of Elijah, we see that he was a prophet of God. But that wasn’t the reason he escaped death. God had called others to be prophets, and they faced death. Elijah fought against idolatry, but so did others, and they died. Elijah proclaimed the Word of God as countless others have done throughout the ages. It was not his office, courage, or faithfulness that earned him the right to escape death and go straight to heaven. It was only by the grace of God that Elijah was taken to heaven without facing death.

We cannot escape death on our own. The grave awaits us as the Bible teaches, “Man is destined to die” (Hebrews 9:27). We have no power to escape the death that we deserve for our sins. This is death that separates us from God forever under his judgment. But God gives us an escape from the death that we face as sinners. He sent his Son, Jesus, and heaped the guilt of our sin on him, making him pay the penalty of eternal death that should have been ours.

Just as God revealed his grace to Elijah by sparing him from physical death, so God reveals his grace to us through Jesus. In Jesus, we are raised to a new life of faith. The death we will face at the end of our lives loses its sting because, in Jesus, we will be raised from the dead and taken to live forever in heaven with Elijah and all believers of all time.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I give you thanks for releasing me from the power of death. Keep me steadfast in your word until I see you in your glory in heaven. Amen.

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