Daily Devotions
Today's Devotion
» Devotion - October 21, 2014

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:3-5


These are words that burrow deep into the soul. Humility is not something that comes naturally to us. The three-year old who figures out how to tie his shoes runs to his mother with a pride-filled smile, directing her attention to his feet and his accomplishment. His greatest desire at that moment is to receive her praise. That desire for others to recognize our greatness and the grand things we have accomplished does not diminish with age.

Scripture does not just command humility, it gives us the ultimate example. Of all the people who have ever walked upon this planet Jesus certainly had every reason to think that he was better than everyone else. The fact is that he was. As true God and Creator of everything, the power, wisdom, glory, and authority that he had could not even be compared to that of the greatest ruler our world has ever seen.

Yet he did not pound his chest and stand on the highest mountain for all to see his greatness and praise him. His greatest goal was not for all people in the world to serve him, waiting on him hand and foot and immediately providing for his every desire. Instead we are told that Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)

Instead of looking to his own interests, Jesus was focused on yours. Setting aside his glory, he humbly entered into our world with one purpose: to sacrifice himself for you and pay the price for your sins. That meant humbling himself to the point of being publicly humiliated and executed, suffering the wrath of God for sins he never committed.

Thank God that Jesus showed such humility! In doing so, he not only provides us with an example, he saves us from our sinful lack of humility.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, I struggle with humility. I long for the praise of others. I would rather have others serve me than give my life in service to others. Forgive me. Thank you for your love and humility. Thank you for your willingness to place the needs of others, my needs, above your own. Thank you for dying that I may live. 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 - October 20, 2014

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.

Matthew 21:28-31a


Jesus’ question was not hard to answer. Could it have been any simpler? Although the first son answered his father harshly and rudely, in the end he did what was asked. Although the words of the second son sounded sweet and polite, in the end he only paid lip service to his father.

It was meant to be an easy question with an obvious answer. But then Jesus transitioned to his true intent. The deeper spiritual point was meant to be just as clear to his hearers. That audience was made up of upstanding people, including the religious leaders of the day: Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him” (Matthew 21:31b-32).

The first son represented the openly sinful. They had turned away from God and his will. They had lived a life that was obviously contrary to the commands of God. But then John the Baptist came. He called out to sinners to turn from their sinful ways. He urged them to place their trust for forgiveness in a coming Savior. Many heard the message, believed it and lived!

The second son represented the outwardly righteous. They boasted about their relationship with God. They believed they had earned that relationship by who they were and the good they had done. But then John came. When he pointed out that they too were sinners who needed a Savior, they rejected his message and the Messiah (Jesus) who followed.

God the Father comes with this message today: “Go and work in the vineyard.” Jesus himself tells us that “the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29). Jesus was sent into this world as Savior of all. He lived, suffered, died and rose again to redeem you and me and everyone else from the punishment of God that our sins had earned. Now, he calls on us to place our trust in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Have you lived an openly sinful life? Turn to Jesus and his promised forgiveness…and live! Do you place your confidence of a good relationship with God on the goodness that others can see in you? Listen to Jesus’ call today, and turn from that misguided idea. Place your trust in the righteousness Jesus alone can give…and live!

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus Christ, help me always to see my need for your grace and forgiveness. Help me always to turn to you in humble faith for the forgiveness of sins, righteousness and life that you alone can give. 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 - October 17, 2014

Hymn of the Week

What God does in his law demand And none to him can render,
Brings wrath and woe on ev’ry hand For man, the vile offender.
Our flesh has not those pure desires The spirit of the law requires,
And lost is our condition.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 390, verses 2, 4, 6)

Salvation unto Us Has Come

Paul Speratus was a Roman Catholic priest serving in the Bavarian town of Dinkelsbühl in 1518. A devout man, Speratus lived in relentless uncertainty with the understanding that the righteousness of God was God’s active standard by which he judged unrighteous sinners. Since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), Speratus reasoned that the sinner could only hope to appease God with good works.

It was at this time that he began to read some of the writings of an audacious monk named Martin Luther. Luther was brazenly questioning the practices and doctrines of the church, proclaiming that the righteousness of God has been fulfilled by Christ and is gifted to the sinner through faith, by grace.

Yet as the law must be fulfilled Or we must die despairing,
Christ came and has God’s anger stilled, Our human nature sharing.
He has for us the law obeyed And thus the Father’s vengeance stayed
Which over us impended.

Emboldened by Luther, Speratus began to proclaim the message of the gospel unfettered by the shackles of work-righteousness. But his evangelical preaching caused his removal from several churches, and ultimately he was branded a heretic.

Fleeing for his life, he arrived in Iglau, Moravia, where he found sympathetic ears and hearts eager for reform. Yet here again Speratus was targeted, this time imprisoned and sentenced to burn at the stake. It was only through the influence of the King of Prussia and Queen of Hungary that he was later released and ordered to never return to Bohemia or Moravia.

He joined Luther in Wittenberg in 1523 and later helped to assemble the first “Lutheran” hymnal, contributing this hymn and two others. He was later influential on liturgical worship in Prussia and rose to become the Lutheran Bishop of Pomerania, where he died in August of 1551.

But it was his imprisonment and death sentence that had the greatest influence on his ministry, steeling his resolve and sharpening his spiritual sight. It was at this time that he wrote Salvation unto Us Has Come. His self-titled “Hymn of Law and Faith” bears witness and praise to “The God who saved us by his grace.”

Prayer: 

All blessing, honor, thanks, and praise To Father, Son, and Spirit,
The God who saved us by his grace—All glory to his merit!
O Triune God in heav’n above, You have revealed your saving love;
Your blessed name be hallowed!

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 - October 16, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Salvation unto us has come By God’s free grace and favor.
Good works cannot avert our doom; They help and save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone, Who did for all the world atone;
He is the one Redeemer.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 390, verses 1, 3, 5)

Salvation unto Us Has Come

In the middle of terrible storm, a local pastor saw an opportunity and leaped at the chance to help people with a desperate need. Quickly he made a sign that read: “Beware! The End is near!” He chose his location carefully, standing at a bend in the road alongside the highway. As the first car approached he frantically waved his sign, praying that the driver would see the sign through the driving wind and pelting rain. A passenger in the car noticed him and his sign. Sadly, instead of heeding the warning, the passenger yelled out the window, “Go do something useful, you religious freak!” Moments later there was the screeching of tires and then a tremendous crash. The pastor looked down at his sign and thought to himself, “Maybe I should change the sign to ‘Beware! Bridge Out!’”

Though intended to be humorous, that story illustrates the intentional self-delusion with which many people go through life. Warning signs abound naturally, scripturally, and personally. And yet the warnings are ignored by those who think that they know better: “I’m a good person; I’ll be fine.” “I’m going to try harder next time.” “At least I’m better than that guy!”

The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25).

It is a false, misleading dream That God his law has given
That sinners can themselves redeem And by their works gain heaven.
The law is but a mirror bright To bring the inbred sin to light
That lurks within our nature.

Even we who have received the true message of salvation, who by grace have heeded the warning sign, sometimes hit the gas towards doom and death when we congratulate ourselves on having been better this week than last week. Dear Christian, we must recognize that anything short of perfection cannot avert the eternal disaster that awaits us. We have sinned…

…but Jesus is perfect. And now he “…speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2). Because of Jesus, there is no doom, no death around the bend for us who trust in him. Because of Jesus there is a bridge from depravity to eternity; we are at one with our heavenly Father.

Prayer: 

Since Christ has full atonement made And brought to us salvation,
Each Christian therefore may be glad And build on this foundation.
Your grace alone, dear Lord, I plead; Your death is now my life indeed,
For you have paid my ransom.

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 - October 15, 2014

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Philippians 1:27

Remembering What We Have

There’s a story of a child who seemed apathetic about everything. He was reckless. He was careless. He didn’t work hard. His life seemed to have no purpose or direction. That all changed when a group of people decided to sit down with him and have a talk. This group of people revealed to him something he had not previously understood. They revealed that, one day, by succession, he would become the leader of their country. From that moment on, that young man’s life changed. He had focus, direction and drive. Knowing that he was the one who would inherit the highest position of leadership—knowing that made all the difference in how he conducted his life.

Which brings us to the portion of God’s Word we have before us. Here’s the setting. The Christians living in the town of Philippi were facing people who were openly hostile towards them and what they believed. The apostle Paul knew that this was no time for Christians to appear apathetic or careless. Rather, this was a time for focus, direction and seriousness of purpose. In light of this, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to say this to the Philippian Christians, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Paul wanted them to remember what they possessed in Jesus. He wanted them to understand that the message of the gospel is the most profound truth that the world will ever know. For this reason he called on them to proclaim with their lives how priceless and supreme the gospel really is.

In our sinful weakness, you and I often forget this. In a world filled with active opposition to Christianity, you and I often lapse into carelessness. There are times when you and I can appear indifferent or apathetic. There are times we don’t even show up. In doing so we fail our Lord and we fail to live his gospel and proclaim it.

But Paul wants us to remember. He wants us to remember how God became one of us to live and die as our Substitute. He wants us to remember the full forgiveness we have through faith in what Christ has done. He wants us to remember that Jesus lives to embrace us with his promises. He wants us to remember the crown of life that Jesus purchased for us at Calvary’s cross.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” Paul says. Empowered by that gospel, you and I can begin to do just that.

Prayer: 

Son of God, in love you became a human being. You became my Substitute. You died for my every sin and rose from death. Move me to proclaim your gospel with my life. 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

"For it is by grace that we are saved through faith, and not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, so that noone can boast." ~ Ephesians 2:8-9