Daily Devotions
Today's Devotion
» Devotion - September 3, 2014

There (Elijah) went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord God said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. … The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came…”

1 Kings 19:9-12, 15


“What are you doing here?” the Lord asked Elijah. And Elijah’s response might as well have been, “I’m wondering the same thing myself.”

It’s easy to find yourself where Elijah was—depressed, alone, wondering what’s the point of living. You live in much the same kind of times that Elijah lived. You live in a world that could care less about the true God and hates those who do care. They are so brazen about it! Watch enough of it on your 24/7 news channel or witness enough of it in your community, and you’ll feel like you are the only faithful one left. You will wonder, “What am I doing here?” Perhaps you wonder that right now. Is it God's fault or your fault that you feel like you are the only faithful one left?

Has God taken away your purpose for living in this world or have you lost sight of it? Has God failed you with his promises or have you walked away from them? Who has been more brazen—those who do evil and hate you or you who wallow in a pity puddle and insinuate that God is sitting on his hands? Aren’t you amazed right now that God doesn’t lay you flat with a mighty wind, or swallow you up with a violent earthquake, or consume you with a blazing fire?

But what comes to you? A gentle whisper that says, “Go back.” Go back where? “Go back to where you have my promises.” Go back to the cross of your Savior, Jesus Christ, where sin is swept away and forgiveness is given. Go back to the empty tomb where the worst enemies—sin, death, and the devil—are swallowed up. Go back to the waters of baptism where self-pity drowns and new life rises. Go back to the Supper where Christ’s body and blood satisfy the hunger for peace.

When you do go back to God’s promises, do you know what you’ll find? You’ll find that you are back where you belong—back as the faithful spouse, the faithful parent, the faithful citizen, the faithful church member, the faithful Christian witness.

You’ll be back where God wants you. And you’ll know exactly why you are there. Through faith in Christ, you have God’s promises.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, keep me focused on your promises in Christ. That’s where I need to be. Amen.

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

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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 - September 2, 2014

…from [the patriarchs] is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all.

Romans 9:5

The Rescue

During World War II, an American soldier by the name of Bert Frizen was on the front lines in Europe. One day, his patrol reached the edge of a wooded area with an open field before them. But unknown to the Americans, a unit of Germans waited in trenches about 200 yards across that field.

Bert was one of two scouts who moved out into the clearing. Once he was halfway across the field, the remainder of his battalion followed. Suddenly the Germans opened fire. Bullets ripped into both of Bert’s legs. The Americans immediately withdrew into the woods for protection. A rapid exchange of fire continued, but Bert lay helpless where he had fallen.

Then things got worse. Bert noticed that a German soldier was crawling towards him. He closed his eyes and waited for his enemy to arrive and put him to death. Time passed. Finally he dared to look. There was the German soldier kneeling at his side. Then Bert noticed something else. The shooting had stopped. The shooting had stopped because every man on both sides wanted to see what this mysterious German soldier was going to do next.

And this is what he did. In the middle of that field, the German picked up Bert in his arms and carried him to the safety of the American side. Then, without speaking a word, he turned and walked back across the field to his own troops. Moments later the fighting resumed, but not before all those present had witnessed how one man had risked everything for his enemy.

By nature, you and I were God’s enemies. Our sinfulness had infected us so much that our very minds were hostile toward God. But God did the unthinkable. He became one of us. He became one of us in the Person of Jesus Christ. On our behalf he lived the holy life we had refused to live. Then, for our sin he suffered and died the death we had deserved to die. Then he rose from death to assure us that we were enemies no more.

And now we are rescued, you and I—rescued and forgiven through faith in the One who refused to stand by and watch us die. That is what we have in our God. That is what we have in our Savior.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, at a time when every fiber of my being was your sworn enemy, you chose to rescue me. And now you are my dearest Friend. Thank you, Lord. 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

» Devotion - September 1, 2014

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

Matthew 14:25-27

Mistaken Identity

Often embarrassment follows a case of mistaken identity. What also quickly follows is an apology with the explanation, "I thought you were someone else." It is a situation that will repeat itself regularly, but likely will not have any lasting consequences—except when it happens regarding Jesus.

On the night the disciples witnessed the miracle of Jesus walking on the lake, their fears escalated. Instead of seeing their Friend, Teacher, and Savior, they mistook Jesus for a ghost. As a result, they were filled with terror and believed their demise was near. I need to learn a lesson from the disciples, and even more importantly, I need to know who Jesus is and what he does for me.

It is easy for Jesus to experience a case of mistaken identity. It happens when I fail to see Jesus for who he is, and try to make him into something he never came to be. Without the guidance of the Scriptures I would only identify Jesus as a good man, a fine teacher, or someone after whom I would like to model my life. The problem comes when I need Jesus to be more than this.

This is why I need to get back to what God's Word reveals. There I see Jesus' true identity. He is my Savior who by his obedient death on the cross rescues me from the condemnation of sin. He is my Redeemer who by his victorious resurrection frees me from the power of the devil. He is my Shepherd who by his unsurpassed power lovingly leads me through this life to eternal life. He is, finally, my ever-present God and Lord who says, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

While situations of mistaken identity will happen from time to time, I can never afford to see Jesus as anything, or anyone other than my Savior, my God, and my Lord.

Prayer: 

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 358)

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear!
It soothes our sorrows heals our wounds, and drives away all fear!

O Jesus, Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, my Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring.

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 - August 29, 2014

A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!

Proverbs 15:23


It usually takes about 15 minutes.

Fifteen minutes after I’m walking away from a conversation–then I think of what I should have said!

I completely agree with Solomon’s wisdom in Proverbs 15:3. There is great joy is giving a friend an apt reply in a timely manner. I just wish I knew what that felt like!

But I do. And you can too.

My friend was going into minor surgery. As his pastor, I shared a devotion with him before the surgery. Instead of focusing on Bible passages that promised the Lord would be with him and keep him safe, we read a passage about God’s forgiveness. I reminded my friend that he was going into surgery totally forgiven by his Savior. I reminded him that his heavenly Father had put my friend’s sins behind God’s back. His Lord loved him without reservations.

Later, my friend told me that my “reply” was the best thing I could have told him. He went into the operating room filled with peace and confidence.

The point?

Many of us are not good with the quick come back. We struggle to know the right thing to say. What do you say to a friend who is down? To someone who is grieving? To a person feeling lonely? To those who realize they made a huge mistake? To a friend going into surgery?

We don’t have to be clever or witty. Sometimes the most apt reply is the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness because we have all sinned. Feelings of guilt can jump up and pull us down when we least expect it. We always can use a dose of good news that God’s Son has taken our guilt away forever.

Be a friend who is willing to talk about God’s overwhelming forgiveness. Share a few thoughts on how God has put away all our sin since Jesus died for the whole world. Tell your friends that Jesus died for them too. Whatever challenge or heartache or danger they are facing, they can face it being absolutely sure God holds nothing against them. God has forgiven them and will be with them as their loving, dedicated Father.

They will know the joy of forgiveness. You’ll know the joy of giving an apt reply that will help them for the rest of eternity!

Prayer: 

Jesus, so many times I’m not sure what to say. Help me find the words to talk about your undeserved love to people who need you. I’m not asking you to make me quick witted, just compassionately open about your grace. Thanks! Amen.

This special series has concluded. Refer to the archive for all the devotions in the “Summer with Solomon” series.

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 - August 28, 2014

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

Stir It Up?

It’s fun to stir things up, isn’t it? Stirring up a science experiment in a lab can produce exciting results. Stirring up a cooking mixture in the kitchen can produce delicious results. Before you start stirring, you need to think about what will happen. How will these chemicals react to each other? How will these ingredients taste when mixed together?  When the recipe looks good, you go for it and stir away.

Have some fun and stir it up! But stirring things up is not always fun and good. Today, God tells us about a kind of “stirring up” that isn’t so good. The stirring up has to do with communication. When you take harsh words and stir someone’s heart into anger, it’s a bad thing.

We may know we shouldn’t use harsh words that stir up anger, but we excuse our sin by finding reasons why it isn’t so wrong: “They had it coming.” “The service at this place was horrible.” “I had to defend myself.” And the excuses go on and on. What excuses have you used for slinging harsh words at someone else?

Thankfully, God’s mercy and grace extend to us even when we’ve been so hateful as to attack someone else with our harsh words. In our place, Jesus took the harsh and angry words we deserve. As he suffered and died, people heaped angry ridicule and harsh words on him. He took the punishment that all our sins deserved when he died on the cross. On the third day, God’s answer was revealed as he raised Jesus from the dead. Your sins–even your harsh words–are forgiven in full!

God’s gracious work and forgiving words calm and strengthen our hearts. And God stirs us to action. The same God who shares kind and gentle words with us sends us out to share words with kindness and gentleness. In Galatians chapter 5, he says it this way: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.”

The next time you’re ready to share words with someone, ask yourself: “Am I giving a gentle answer or a harsh word?” Think about how the mixture of what you say and how you say it will react in the heart of the one who hears it: “Am I stirring up anger or giving a gentle answer?”

Have you heard the gentle words God uses with you? Through Christ, he calls you his own child. The Holy Spirit whispers his mercy, grace and peace into your ear. Your Good Shepherd knows your name and needs, and calls you to follow him. The way God speaks changes your heart and your words. Before you speak, listen–God loves you!

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, you soften my heart with your kind and gracious words. When I speak to others, fill my words with kindness, gentleness, truth and love. 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

"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