Daily Devotions
Today's Devotion
» Devotion - July 25, 2014

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:24-25


Much of the wisdom contained in the book of Proverbs makes sense to us. Laziness will result in poverty while diligent work will bring wealth (10:4). Those who heed discipline are wise while those who refuse to be corrected are foolish (12:1). Spend time with those who are truly wise and you will become wise. Spending time with fools will only bring you harm (13:20). The relationship between cause and effect in these encouragements fits well with what we understand to be rules of life.

However, something seems to be backward here: Give away what you have and you will gain even more. Hold tightly to what you have and you will become poor. This doesn’t seem to add up. Conventional wisdom says, “The more you give away the less you have. The more you save the more you get to keep.”

We do not have a God who operates with conventional wisdom. We have a God who punished the innocent (his own Son) so that the guilty (you and me) could go free and be rewarded with eternal life.

That’s not the way things are supposed to work. The guilty are supposed to be punished, the innocent rewarded. Our loving and gracious God does not do things the way they are “supposed” to be done. He showers blessings on us even though we in no way deserve them.

He gives us those blessing for a purpose. He graciously gives us money and material possessions not just so that we can hoard them and keep them to ourselves. He blesses us in order to give us the opportunity to be a blessing to others.

When we are generous with what we have been given, God promises that we will gain even more. We might not receive back the exact same as we have been given. Money given away may not result in a two-fold return. However, good will, friends, appreciation and thanks, as well as the knowledge that we are using our gifts in a way that is pleasing to God–-these are all refreshing, positive returns on investments of generosity.

God wants us to use what he has given us to bless others. He graciously promises to bless us when we do.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, thank you for all the blessings you have given to me, especially the gift of eternal life through your Son Jesus. Help me to use the earthly things I have to bless others. In the name of your Son, Jesus, my Savior. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 24, 2014

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.

Proverbs 11:13


How many friendships have been destroyed by a juicy morsel of gossip mouthed in a moment of anger or mentioned because of envy? How many have become twice shy about sharing an intimate secret with an acquaintance or a family member because of a careless slip of the tongue, even if the motive wasn’t to hurt? On the other hand, how many have found their best friend to be the one who is able to keep secrets and to love them in spite of what they know? How many business people have held in high esteem those partners or employees who know how to keep quiet about what has been told them in private?

We know, especially if we’ve been burned by loose lips, how damaging the tongue can be. We also know, sometimes from experience, how rare and beautiful it is to find someone with whom we can be comfortable and confident to share anything. Is it any wonder that God includes damaging words of the tongue among those he forbids within his 10 Commandments? Martin Luther, who had tremendous insight into the Lord’s commands, wrote these words as explanation to the Eighth Commandment (You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor): “We should fear and love God that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him or give him a bad name….”

When we use our tongue in a way that betrays another’s confidence, we do more than disappoint, or potentially lose, a friend. When we let loose with some nugget of information (even if true!) that causes shame or disgrace, we break God’s command. Can you think of a time that has happened in your life? Perhaps it’s not a specific example, but you’re pretty sure you’ve let your tongue slip once or twice or many more times than that. As we hear proverbs like this one of Solomon, may God lead us to confess that we’ve sinned by the way we’ve used our tongue. And then may he lead us to look to Jesus. The perfect trustworthy man. The perfect confidant. The one who used his tongue only for the glory of God and always for the good of neighbor! That one who lived perfectly in our place then innocently went to the cross for every one of our slips, every one of our careless words and all of our malicious mud-slinging.

As followers of Jesus, desiring to thank and serve him, let’s strive to put this proverb of God’s truth into practice. What a blessing God can make us to others as we rein in our tongue! What a tremendous privilege to live our lives for others, using constraint as we talk about them and what they’ve shared with us! We live as trustworthy men and women with those we love and those with whom we work and worship, all in and through Jesus who strengthens us with his grace and guides us by his Word.

Prayer: 

Lord, forgive me for the times when I have used my tongue in a sinful way. I know in Jesus you have forgiven me. Restore any relationships that have been broken in my life because of sins of the tongue. Help me to glorify you and to serve my neighbor by the things I say…and the things I don’t. Amen.

“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.

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 - July 23, 2014

The prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.

Jeremiah 28:9


Although we look for and long for peace, it is not often found and short-lived when it is. Full-blown wars are waged across the globe. Minor skirmishes break out continually. Violence erupts in city streets. Domestic abuse comes to old and young and many in between. How great it would be to hear that right around the corner is an end of the fighting and an entrance of peace! Sadly, that’s not what God tells us to expect in our world. Hatred and hostility, not harmony and hand-holding, are the world’s hallmarks.

Why? Why is peace such a rare commodity? The simple answer is: sin. Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, their descendants in this world are in a wrecked relationship with God and each other. Sin that dwells in human hearts reveals itself in self-destructive acts of rebellion against God and his commands. Human hearts reveal their sinfulness in thoughts of jealousy and suspicion against fellow human beings. Wicked thoughts often lead to ugly words and malicious accusations. Greed and unbridled desire propel people to take action to sink the competition and gain ground for self. Is it any wonder that unchecked human beings who gain wealth and power will use them to gain even more, with little or no care for those they hurt in the process? Sin destroys peace…peace we long for on earth…but more devastatingly, peace with God!

The prophet Jeremiah, some 2600 years ago, recounted the accurate prophecies made against nations and people, all which came as a result of sin. Then, to a certain false prophet who was trying to raise the people’s hope for peace he said, “The prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.” Jeremiah was warning the people that the prophet who predicted peace for the nation of Israel was a liar.  How depressing!

But wait! Later in his rather long book of prophecy, Jeremiah himself spoke of peace (30:10, 46:27). He talked of a lasting peace which would bring ultimate security. And…his prediction came true! The Lord himself brought peace to human beings by sending his Son as the peace-maker. He came, not as one who demands that all lay down their arms, but to lay down his life as an offering for sin and sinners. Not coming to bark orders and demand that everyone treat each other nicely…or else, he came to bring about a divine cease-fire through his pure life, innocent death and resurrection from death. Those actions of Jesus Christ have been accepted by God himself as solution to sin and the terms of a truce between God and people, between God and you!

We shouldn’t expect to see an end of the fighting in this world. But, in Christ, there is peace that goes way deeper than that: peace with God through the forgiveness of sins! As you hold tight to Jesus in faith you have a divinely secured peace, which no one can take from you and that will last forever!

Prayer: 

Lord God, thank you for sending your Son to restore peace in my relationship with you. Help me to reflect that peace in the way I serve you and treat others. 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

» Devotion - July 22, 2014

Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:1b-11


Sometimes we hear that we are forgiven and we still feel bad. When I was little and that happened to me, my dad would say, “Remember your baptism.” But I couldn’t remember it. When I got older, I realized that Dad meant, “Remember that you are baptized.”   

Baptism is not just simple water. It is water used by God’s command and connected to God’s Word. Baptism has great power. When people are baptized according to the command of God, they are connected to Christ. So what is true of Jesus Christ is also true of baptized people.

Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment for the sins of the world. Baptized people have their sins forgiven through faith in Jesus. They can count themselves dead to sin.

Jesus rose from the dead. Transcending time, God sees that baptized people have already risen from the dead. Baptized people live new lives in Christ. Their sins are forgiven and their deeds of love are the way that God works in the world. Baptized people can count themselves alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, when I hear that I am forgiven and I still feel bad, remind me that I am baptized, and keep me close to 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 - July 21, 2014

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 10:37-39

Whom do you love?

These words of Jesus may be a bit difficult to comprehend, especially if you’ve ever held your own child in your arms. The love which parents, especially new parents, have for their child is something that can hardly be described. It’s overwhelming. It’s profound. Some find the greatest joy in these moments.

Something more…perhaps you’ve been there as your mother or father or sibling is passing away. You’re filled with another kind of profound love and care for them. It’s overwhelming and profound to a different degree, and yet it is still love.

Now, as you consider the words of Jesus once again, you have to ask yourself, “Is my love for my child, parent, sibling…greater than my love for Jesus?” If so, Jesus’ words cut deeply. In truth, we are breaking the very First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods,” if we are loving people more than we love Jesus. The results of this are eternally damning.

Let’s consider this from heaven’s eternal viewpoint. Everything we have is a gift from God–a gift that is best viewed “on loan.” Our parents are his. Our children are his. The material things we have are his, on loan to us for a time. If we love the gifts and not the giver of the gifts, we are idol worshippers and will lose our life.

Jesus had it all, and yet he gave it all up. He is the eternal Son of God who gave up the glory of heaven to come to this world where he died destitute–all because he loved God above all else. He truly is the only one who has earned the title “worthy.” Yet, by grace alone, through faith alone, he forgives our sins and calls us worthy! Whoever loves him and believes in him HAS eternal life.

What astonishing love Jesus has for us! What an amazing gift he has given to us! In love he gives us eternal life—a gift that far surpasses all material gifts. May his love lead us to love him above all else–always.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, help me to love you more and more each day. Thank you for all the gifts you have given me. 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