Daily Devotions

Daily Devotions
Today's Devotion
» Devotion - December 19, 2014

Hymn of the Week

The humble heart and lowly God raises up on high;
Beneath his feet in terror The haughty soul shall lie.
The heart sincere and right, That heeds God’s invitation
And makes true preparation—It is the Lord’s delight.

Prepare my heart, Lord Jesus; Turn not from me aside,
And help me to receive you This blessed Adventtide.
From stall and manger low Come now to dwell within me;
I’ll sing your praises gladly And forth your glory show.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 14, verses 3 and 4)

Prepare for Jesus with a Humble Heart

Valentin Thilo, a German Lutheran university professor, penned this hymn at the height of the Thirty Years’ War when Germany was ravaged by violence and disease. One historian surmised that Thilo was thinking of his sister, the wife of a Lutheran pastor, who died of disease in 1639. It was thought that he was describing her humble and gentle character. He uses language that echoes the song of Mary, another woman of humble and gentle character. “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble” (Luke 1:52).

A humble heart is a heart prepared for Jesus’ coming. If we are full of pride in our own accomplishments, if we imagine we can hold on to the supposedly “good” things we have done as a way to be right with God, we will be sorely disappointed. We get disappointed in ourselves because our best efforts always fall short.

During this Advent season, as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ coming in the Bethlehem manger, we also pray for Jesus to prepare us for his coming into our hearts through his Word. He prepares us by knocking down our pride and giving us a humble and gentle spirit which acknowledges, “I need help. I need a savior. I need Jesus.” He then lifts us up with his good news that he has taken away our sins by his coming to earth as our Savior. He forgives our sins because he paid the full price on the cross.

During the busyness of these weeks of holiday preparation, take a few moments to remember what Christmas is all about. God became man to be our Savior. Jesus came to fulfill promises. He came to bring forgiveness, hope, and life to lost, hopeless, dying sinners. Those who are proud don’t see the need for Jesus. They ignore Jesus’ work and Jesus’ Word. Instead, pray for a humble heart, a gentle heart, a heart that relishes and rejoices in the humble, gentle Savior born in Bethlehem.

Prayer: 

Prepare my heart, Lord Jesus; Turn not from me aside,
And help me to receive you This blessed Adventtide.
From stall and manger low Come now to dwell within me;
I’ll sing your praises gladly And forth your glory show.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

Creative Commons License 
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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion

» Devotion - December 18, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Arise, O Christian people! Prepare yourselves today.
Prepare to greet the Savior, Who takes your sins away.
To us by grace alone The truth and light was given;
The promised Lord from heaven To all the world is shown.

Prepare the way before him; Prepare for him the best.
Cast out what would offend him, This great, this heav’nly guest.
Make straight, make plain the way: The lowly valleys raising,
The heights of pride abasing, His path all even lay.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 14, verses 1 and 2)

Prepare for Jesus by Putting Away Sinful Pride

The month (or two) before Christmas is full of preparations: decorating, baking, cooking, shopping, wrapping. Usually our preparations involve getting things ready for others or for some event. But how much time do we devote to preparing ourselves for what Christmas is really all about?

The Advent season, the four weeks before Christmas, is about preparing for Jesus’ coming (the word “advent” means “coming”). We review how God prepared his people of old by giving them promises of the Savior to come.  He also prepared the people of Jesus’ day through the preaching of John the Baptist. John’s mission was to get the people into a spiritual mindset for a spiritual Savior because they were distracted by secular concerns or their own ideas of how they were pleasing God.

What gets in our way of hearing Jesus’ message and receiving Jesus’ saving work? On the one hand, we might get obsessed by the concerns and worries of this world. On the other hand, we fall into thinking that we can please God by what we do. The result is thinking that I don’t need Jesus. I’m just fine on my own. I’m a pretty good person. Why should I pay attention to Jesus? These mountains of sinful pride need to be levelled off.

Preparing for Jesus starts with taking a long look at myself and realizing just how much I need Jesus. Am I perfect in every thought, word and action? Do I really love God with my whole heart, soul, and mind all the time? Do I freely forgive? Do I always put the interests of others ahead of my own? I’m not so fine on my own.

That’s why I need Jesus. And so do you. He came to this earth “to take your sins away.” He does this completely by grace alone, a love which we do not and cannot deserve or earn. As soon as we start thinking that we deserve God’s love, we need to level off those feelings of sinful pride, to “cast out what would offend him,” and to look to “the promised Lord from heaven.”

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, through your Word, help me to pull down the mountains of my sinful pride as I prepare for your coming. Lead me to look to you who takes my sins away. Amen.

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

Creative Commons License 
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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion

» Devotion - December 17, 2014

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.

Isaiah 61:10


Every year as Christmas approached, my mom would take me and my two brothers shopping for Christmas clothes. She insisted that we had to look our best for the Christmas Eve service and for pictures afterward. And so each year Dad and Mom would drag three unhappy boys to some department store for an evening of trying on clothes. And the best or worst part of it, depending on your perspective, was that all three of us had to match. We usually ended up with identical or very similar outfits.

Do you have your Christmas clothes picked out this year? What about your spiritual clothes? Our Savior is going to return soon and he will take back to heaven with him only those in the most pristine white garments. What kind of clothes have you picked out for yourself today? Are you wearing the ugly robes of shame and guilt over the sins of last night? Perhaps you have chosen for yourself darker garments of jealousy and anger. Could it be that your clothes are permanently stained by the repetitive sins of greed or lust or worry? Maybe you are sure that your clothes look really pretty clean compared to those around you, but they smell of pride and arrogance. Mom always said we should look our best for Christmas, but our best isn’t good enough for heaven and it never will be. Our sin-stained clothes are only good for the eternal incinerator in hell.

As you prepare to celebrate Christmas, give thanks that Christ has provided new clothing for you. God’s Word says: “For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.” Through his suffering and death on the cross, Christ has taken away our sin-stained garments and removed them from us. Through his perfect life in our place Christ has earned our forgiveness and salvation. Jesus has taken his robe of righteousness and wrapped it around us. In Christ, you and I are dressed for heaven. Give thanks to Jesus for your Christmas clothes—his garments of salvation which he has won for you.

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, thank you for earning salvation for me through your life and death in my place. Help me to always appreciate what you have done for me. Help me to live as you have clothed me—as a forgiven and righteous child of God. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

Creative Commons License 
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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion

» Devotion - December 16, 2014

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Some Final Encouragement before Christmas

Christmas is right around the corner. Only a few days left to get ready. Some of the final verses of 1 Thessalonians serve as good encouragement for the final days leading up to Christmas and really for any day of your life.

For many, the Christmas blues are a real issue. Winter weather, hectic schedules, social pressures, missing loved ones who are gone or live far away, and other family issues that seem to get magnified this time of year. For Christians though, this time of year should be one of the most joyful if our focus is right. Cherish the message that comes from God’s Word. Wrapped in that message are the most beautiful of Christmas presents, bought by Christ and carried to us by the Holy Spirit. The message prepares you for the real Christmas and for the real joy that God wants you to have in Christmas. It is the joy of peace with God even when conscience accuses. Don’t despise the preaching of that message as though it were old news not worthy of hearing again and again.

Test all the customs of Christmas in your heart and home, and hold fast to those that focus on Christ. Shun the evil that many pass off as Christmas Spirit. True Christmas Spirit is the joy of holiness in God’s sight because of sin washed away by Jesus. It is the joy of knowing that God is faithful and will not leave us or forsake us no matter what happens to us in this life. It is the joy of knowing that as we get ready to celebrate again the birth of the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, we don’t need to be afraid that he is coming back again on Judgment Day. That day is right around the corner, but through faith in our Savior Jesus we are prepared and can look forward to an eternal future in heaven. God will not disappoint or fail to keep his Word!

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, keep me focused on the true joy of Christmas–your Son, my Savior–Jesus. Help me to celebrate this gift at this time of year and always. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

Creative Commons License 
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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion

» Devotion - December 15, 2014

Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

John 1:19-27

Proper Perspective Provides Perfect Christmas Preparation

For most of us, Christmas preparations are in full swing. Although preparing for Christmas can be hectic, it can also be an exciting and enjoyable task—smelling Christmas cookies as you bake them, trimming the tree, smiling as you find just the right gift for that special someone.

The Lord knows all about preparing. Over and over in the Old Testament he prepared his people for the eventual arrival of their Deliverer—the One he would send to rescue them from their sins and restore their relationship with their Maker. Just before Jesus began preaching and teaching, the Lord sent a special man to prepare people for Jesus’ arrival on the scene. We know this man as John the Baptist.

The reason John was such an expert at preparing people for Jesus is that John had proper perspective on things. John said that he was not even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. This was not false modesty. John knew exactly where he stood with God. John knew he had offended God with his sins. John knew that he desperately needed someone to rescue him from those sins. So, when Jesus arrived, John was relieved and thankful and thrilled.

Do you want to be properly prepared to celebrate Christmas? Baking cookies and trimming the tree and shopping ‘till you drop are all fine and fun. But, to be TRULY prepared, adopt the proper perspective of John. See yourself as the unworthy sinner you are. See your Savior as the One who loves you still. Then, like John, you will be relieved and thankful and thrilled when you see your Savior arrive.

Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, I know that, like John, I am not worthy to even untie your sandals. But I also know that this is why you were born in Bethlehem. I know that through your perfect life and innocent death you have washed away my sins and made me worthy in God’s sight. Thank you. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

Creative Commons License 
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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion