Daily Devotions
Today's Devotion
» Devotion - November 28, 2014

Hymn of the Week

The joy of all who dwell above, the joy of all below
To whom he manifests his love and grants his name to know.

To them the cross, with all its shame, with all its grace, is giv’n;
Their name, an everlasting name; their joy, the joy of heav’n.

They suffer with their Lord below; they reign with him above,
Their profit and their joy, to know the myst’ry of his love.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 217, verses 3-5)

Follow the Leader

Maybe you played the game “Follow the Leader” when you were younger. It’s pretty simple. One person is chosen as the leader. Then everyone who is playing has to mimic exactly what the leader does and go where the leader goes.

In the same way, in our Christian lives we follow the leader, Jesus. He is the source of tremendous joy and comfort in our lives, because in following Jesus, we follow our Savior who loves us so much that he suffered and gave his life on the cross for us. He’ll never lead us in the wrong way. But following Jesus also means that we will follow him in suffering. He told his disciples in Mark 8, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” For some Christians that has meant giving up their very lives rather than turn away from their Savior. For others, the suffering is less severe, but it is suffering nonetheless. Some believers follow Jesus even though that will mean that others may think less of them or stop associating with them altogether. For still others following Jesus may mean being ridiculed or called names.

So why follow Jesus if it means suffering? Because Jesus said to those who suffer for following him, “Be faithful to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). His head was once crowned with thorns. Now Jesus wears a crown of glory as he reigns in heaven. In the same way, to his people who wear the thorns of suffering now, he promises for them the crown of everlasting life in heaven.
 
Jesus, our Savior, is our leader, and he calls us to follow him from cross to crown.

Prayer: 

Help me follow you, dear Savior, through the suffering of life now to the glory of the life you have prepared for me in heaven.  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 - November 27, 2014

Hymn of the Week

The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned in glory now;
A royal diadem adorns the mighty victor’s brow.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 217, verses 1,2,6)

The King of Kings for You

History is full of them: emperors and kings whose rule and authority were absolute. If you were to go back through the thousands of years of recorded history, you would find that the old saying rings true, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. There are many examples of such rulers in our world today as well. They thirst for even more power, more influence and more wealth—all at the expense of the people under their tyrannical reign.

So would you like to live under the rule of a king whose power and authority are absolute? “No” might understandably be our initial answer. But consider another king, a king under whose rule we already live.

This King is none other than Jesus, and he is different. His concern isn’t for himself. It’s for us. He set aside his glory as the Son of God and came to earth to save us from sin and death. His head was crowned with thorns, his body nailed to a cross and he suffered the anguish of hell so that all our sins would be forgiven.

And now Jesus sits on the throne in heaven, as the Bible says, “…far above all rule and authority, power and dominion” (Ephesians 1:21). He truly is King of kings and Lord of lords, ruling over everything in this world. Yet he doesn’t rule over us for the sake of his own power or prestige. His concern is still for us. Every event in this world from the great to the small he bends so that they fit with his will to bring his believers to heaven. And so we sing with joy…

Prayer: 

The highest place that heav’n affords is his, is his by right,
The King of kings and Lord of lords and heav’n’s eternal light.

The cross he bore is life and health, though shame and death to him;
His people’s hope, his people’s wealth, their everlasting theme.

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 - November 26, 2014

“ ‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. … I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.’”

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23-24

God’s Own Shepherd

Would you trust someone who was totally incompetent to work for you or with you? Would you give them total control? Probably not. The worldly proverb says, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!” While we aren’t here to debate if such a statement is in line with Christian humility, there is at least this truth in the proverb: “If I do something myself, it will be done to my standards!”

When God observed his people in Ezekiel’s time, he saw leaders, shepherds, who weren’t cutting it. He had entrusted to them the care of his chosen, dearly loved people. He had entrusted their spiritual lives to them, and they were failing their people and failing God. They refused to lead in the way that God wanted them to, but rather they led the people to follow after their own desires and to seek their own definition of happiness.

Too often we act like sheep without a shepherd. Though God places shepherds all around us, though he shepherds us with his Word, too often we follow our own noses and chase after our own desires. Like those shepherds of old, we deserve to be shoved aside. We deserve to lose our place in God’s flock and our place in this world.  We deserve to suffer and to die for our sins.

But God doesn’t treat us the way our wanderings deserve. God says: “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.” In fact, in these eight verses, he says I (or my) 16 times. “I will do it. I will fix it. I will make it right!” says the Lord. God wanted it done right, so he did it himself.

“I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them.” God sends a Shepherd-King. He sends David. David was a great King, but he was dead for 400 years when these words were written. The Shepherd-King that God would send was a descendant of David. This is Jesus, God’s Own Shepherd.

Jesus shepherded us as he laid down his life to protect his sheep from sin and death. He died so that we could live. And even now he rules and reigns, guards and guides, in this life and even through the valley of the shadow of death. Safe in his care he leads us, from this world into the green pastures of everlasting life in heaven.

Rejoice!  It’s a good thing to have Jesus as our Shepherd and King!

Prayer: 

Thank you, Lord God, for making Jesus our Shepherd-King. We praise you for securing our salvation and shepherding us in this world and for promising us the green pastures of heavenly peace. In the name of our Shepherd-King we pray, 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 - November 25, 2014

For [Christ] must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26


Are you worried about the right things?

We can worry about so many things! Putting food on the table, paying the bills, staying safe from crime, not getting Ebola, net neutrality, passing the math test, taking care of elderly parents, meeting with the lawyer, not falling off the ladder, and on and on.

Are we worrying about the right things?

A good friend of mine is dying from cancer. Can you guess what he’s worried about? He’s worried that his wife doesn’t know where all the financial information is. He wants to make sure that before he dies, she knows what bills to pay and where the funds are. He is not worried at all about dying–or what happens after death–or facing God to be judged–or where God will send him for all eternity. My friend is not worried because he knows Jesus has conquered death.

In 1 Corinthians 15, a missionary called Paul wrote that Jesus rose from the dead and will raise us from the dead. In verses 25 & 26, Paul promised that Jesus will quietly rule this world until it becomes obvious on the Last Day that all his enemies must obey him.  The last enemy on Jesus’ destruction list is death.

My friend knows that he will die in the next few months. He knows Jesus will wake him from the dead to be judged. You might think my friend would be terrified because he has done a lot of bad things in his life. His Christian faith did not make him immune to being selfish, stubborn, thinking poorly of others, wanting his own way. God should condemn him for his sins.

But my friend is not worried. He knows Jesus sacrificed himself to wash away all sins. So my friend knows God will approve of him. My friend knows God will welcome him into heaven. My friend knows that he will live forever and ever in the joys and glories of being with Jesus. My friend knows Jesus has conquered death for him.

My friend is not worried about dying or judgment. Jesus has given him the peace of sins forgiven and eternal life guaranteed.

Jesus has done the same for you!

Prayer: 

Jesus, don’t let me worry about death. Remind me every day that you have forgiven all my sins. Remind me also that if you have conquered death for me, then I don’t need to worry about anything at all!  Thank you, Jesus! 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 - November 24, 2014

Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Matthew 27:27-31


Children raised on fast food sit in front of a home-cooked meal. They stare at the chicken breast and baked potato and ask: “What is it?” The only potatoes they’ve known are cut and deep-fried. And, as far as they know, chicken only comes in the form of patties, nuggets and fingers.

Sometimes we get such a strong and wrong picture of what something should be that we don’t even recognize the REAL THING when it’s sitting right in front of our face.

What does a king look like? The people of Jesus’ day “knew” that a king looked like the rulers of their day. They figured a king must always appear rich, powerful and honored. When they saw Jesus, they did not see a wealthy or powerful or respected man. They reacted wrongly and sinfully heaped abuse on Jesus with their cruel words and angry fists.

We dishonor Jesus, our King, too, but with quite different tactics. We call Jesus our King (you may be singing that in a Christmas song or two soon.) But how often have we let our lives or circumstances mock the rich grace and unlimited power of our King? When it comes to following our King, do we chose our whims and worries instead of our King’s commands and promises? We chose lust instead of purity; cursing instead of prayer and blessing; coveting instead of contentment. We chose worry instead of trust; fear instead of faith; hate instead of love.

Thank God that Jesus chose to be our King by his love and work on our behalf. In today’s section from God’s Word, Matthew tells us that Jesus did what only our REAL King could do. He allowed himself to be dishonored because our sin dishonored God. Jesus allowed himself to be mocked, beaten and doomed to death because that’s what we deserved. Only our real King could step in and do this perfectly in our place. Only his death could lift the death penalty that hung over our heads.  This is what our REAL King looks like.

You know your real King. Don’t let imposters sit on the throne of your heart. No matter the temptations, the hardships, the uncertainties and the suffering you face, they are not your king. They are imposters. You have a king–the Real King–Jesus!

When temptations and suffering flood into your life, Jesus may seem distant, weak or uncaring. But remember, you’ve seen this before. When Jesus stood on trial, he did not look like the REAL King. Even as Jesus suffered and died, he was our all-powerful, gracious God. Jesus’ death and resurrection give us forgiveness, eternal life and peace. Your King promises you power for living for him, and his constant care and presence in your life now. Only your Real King could give such great gifts. When you see Jesus, you see your REAL KING.

Prayer: 

Jesus, you are my King. In love for me, you did what no king should have to do–you suffered and died for a rebellious servant like me. Thank you for your forgiveness and care. Fill me with your love and faithfulness so that I always serve and honor 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

"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