Daily Devotions
Today's Devotion
» Devotion - October 31, 2014

Hymn of the Week

Lord Jesus Christ, your pow’r make known,
For you are Lord of lords alone;
Defend your Christendom that we
May sing your praise eternally.

O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife,
And lead us out of death to life.

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - Hymn 203, verses 3-4)

Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word!

Martin Luther, the man who wrote these words, knew just how important God’s Word is.

Maybe you’ve been where Luther had once been. He just wanted to be happy by knowing that God was happy with him. It seemed as though the best way to get there was to do the right thing. So he tried to do the right thing. He tried to be the best person he could be. But he still didn’t feel like God loved him. He tried harder. Still nothing. Eventually, Luther did something most people wouldn’t have done. He gave up a promising, high-paying career. He joined a monastery. He took vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity. He thought that this would finally give him the peace and happiness he was trying to find.  Even then, he found no comfort, no peace, no joy.

For Martin Luther, the answer finally came from the pages of Scripture: “In the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed… the righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17). God used this Scripture passage to open Luther’s eyes. Happiness does indeed come from being righteous. But how does this happen? The gospel, the good news of Jesus the Savior, revealed to Luther that his righteousness came not from himself, but only from God.

Yours does, too. It’s good to do good things, but the good things you do can’t make you or God truly happy. They don’t save you. Jesus already has.  You don’t have to fight for God’s love and acceptance. You already have it, through faith in Jesus. Every time you hear this gospel of Jesus, God fills you with true and lasting joy. And where is this gospel of Jesus to be found? Only in God’s Word.

Prayer: 

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word. 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 - October 30, 2014

Hymn of the Week - Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – Hymn 203, verse 1)

In 1541, a special service of prayer was held in Wittenberg, Germany. In August of that year, King Ferdinand and his army of European soldiers had suffered a severe defeat by Mohammedan forces from Turkey. In October, a hurricane had destroyed the ships of Emperor Charles V. The service of prayer was prepared by Martin Luther. Most of the music, including this hymn, was arranged for the boys of the choir:

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word;
Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would seek to overthrow your Son
And to destroy what he has done.

In the original German version of this hymn, the words deceit and sword are more pointed. The original German for deceit pointed to the false teaching of the Roman papacy that our good works play a part in getting us to heaven. The original German for sword called attention specifically to the Turkish army that was threatening to invade.

Situations change. The Turkish army isn’t currently threatening to invade Europe. Still, there are continuing dangers to both body and soul around every corner. Only in God’s Word can we hear God’s promise of protection and peace. Only in God’s Word do we find a true guide through the trials and troubles of life. Situations change, but our prayer stays the same: Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word. God’s answer to that prayer stays the same, too. Because of Jesus Christ our Savior, we have God’s promise of protection now and always.

Prayer: 

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word. 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 - October 29, 2014

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?” . . . The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Isaiah 5:1-4,7


It was back-breaking work to plant and care for a vineyard—the plowing, the clearing of stones, the planting. Two years you’d have to wait to see any fruit. Yet, this farmer did everything possible to make his vineyard fruitful. But when he went to find good fruit, all he found was rot.

God tells this story to describe the people of Israel. He had given them everything they could possibly need to succeed: a homeland, a guide to live by, a place to worship, leaders to help them, prophets to lead them. Nothing more could have been done! Yet, when the harvest came, God found no fruit. His people had rejected him.

Friends, this isn’t a picture of Israel alone. This is a picture of every single person on earth. Even though God has done everything for us, by nature we hated God. We were God’s enemies. We produced only rotten fruit.

But God was determined not to give up on us! He sent his one and only Son Jesus to live in our place, to produce the good fruit that God desired. And Jesus not only lived for us, he also died for us to take away all of our sin and establish peace between us and God again! This good news creates a desire in us to do what God desires, to produce the good fruit he’s looking for. Because of Jesus, we can once again be the garden of God’s delight!

Prayer: 

Lord, have mercy on us for the times when we take your care for granted. Let us never receive that love in vain, but help us to produce the good fruit that you desire and deserve. 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 28, 2014

I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14


After a long day, that glorious moment has finally arrived. However, as your weary head sinks deeper into its pillow your mind begins reviewing the events of the day, and you find that sleep is not going to come as quickly as you would like. Unfinished tasks, disappointing events, words that you regret speaking… there are all sorts of things that happened during the day that you wish you could go back and change, but you can’t.

One of the most frustrating things in life is also one of the most solid truths. We cannot go back and change anything that has happened in the past. Neither the hasty words spoken five minutes ago nor the foolish decisions of youth can be undone. There is no time machine that allows us to go back and avoid making the mistakes we have made.

How awesome our God is! He does undo the past. He has erased those mistakes, not by using a time machine, but with the blood of his Son. Every hurtful word spoken, and every selfish decision made, all the sinful acts we have ever committed—they have all been erased by Jesus’ death on the cross.

Now we have been given a tremendous gift—a future. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross in our place, all our sin and guilt have been removed and by faith in Jesus we have been given eternal life in heaven. Instead of ending the day with a mind that is spinning, filled with the regrets of the past, we can rest in peace with our eyes focused on the wonderful future God has graciously given to us.

Each day we struggle to make decisions that are pleasing to God. Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to win that struggle. Other times our human nature prevails and we fail. Trusting in the forgiveness that is ours through Jesus and confident of his gift of eternal life, we can sleep in peace every night. The sins of our past have been erased forever. Instead of focusing on them, we can focus on the future—the eternal future we have been given—and how we are going to strive to live our next moment to the glory of the gracious God who has given it to us.

May the Holy Spirit graciously enable us to echo the apostle Paul’s words: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer: 

Holy Spirit, fill my heart with a faith that focuses on the eternal prize that Jesus, my Savior has won for me with his blood.  With my eyes focused on heaven, help me to live my life here on earth as the forgiven child of God that I am.  In Jesus’ name I ask it. 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 27, 2014

Jesus said to [the chief priests and the Pharisees], “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”

Matthew 21:42-43


These words of Jesus came at the end of a parable (a story that relates a truth about God and his kingdom). A landowner had rented his vineyard to some tenant farmers. They were to give him a share of the harvest when his servants came to collect. Instead, the tenants beat and even killed those servants. In response, the landowner sent more servants. Same treatment. Finally, the man sent his son. Certainly, he thought, they would respect and receive his son. But instead, the wicked tenants killed the son and claimed the vineyard as their own! The point was not lost on Jesus’ hearers. They knew what that landowner would do next. He would avenge the death of his servants and son and rent his vineyard to new, faithful farmers.

How patiently and graciously the Lord had dealt with the people of Israel! God had chosen them to be his special people. They would bear his name, have his Word and be the nation from whom the world’s Savior would be born. They were not special because they were better than other people. They were not sinless or righteous in themselves. They needed the Savior from sin as much as anybody else. God had chosen them by his grace. He called on them to believe his promise that the Savior would come. He called on them to produce the thoughts and actions that come from faith. In large part, though, the people of Israel rejected the Lord’s promise. They became proud of the position that was theirs only because of God’s undeserved love. God sent them prophets to turn them around. They mistreated and rejected those prophets. Finally, he sent them his Son! They crucified him, the one who had come as proof of God’s patience and mercy. They had rejected God’s chosen one.

Rejecting Jesus is rejecting the Father who sent him. Refusal to listen to the Lord and to believe his promises is to treat him the same way the tenant farmers treated the landowner. There is a message there for all of us. God has been and still is patient and gracious. He still sends a message of pardon and peace to those who realize just how much they need it because of sin. Jesus Christ still holds out his nail-pierced hands to lead us to his Father. He still gives his Word that our hearts might be filled with faith and might burst forth with fruit.

Look to him as God’s chosen one. See him as the sure hope of a right relationship with God. Look to serve him with lives that reflect genuine thanks and love.

Prayer: 

Lord, thank you for your patience with me. Help me to see just how much I need Jesus, and then fill my heart with joy to know how he has lived and died to save me. Help me to live a life that shows my gratitude and love. In Jesus’ name. 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