Daily Devotions

Daily Devotions
Today's Devotion
» Devotion - May 22, 2015

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation…”

Luke 2:29,30

As a young man awaiting the birth of our children I never worried that something could go wrong. I just didn’t think about the dangers of pregnancy or childbirth; not even after our second child required time in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Later, after experiencing the tragedy of still birth and the death of infants, I found myself very anxious especially when waiting for news that a new grandchild had safely arrived and all was well with mother and child.

Anxious waiting…this well describes Simeon’s experience. As a Jewish man with Messianic hopes, he was waiting for a baby…waiting for a Savior…waiting for God’s salvation…waiting to die in peace. Then the day came and Simeon, led by the Spirit went to the temple so that he might see Jesus. How many people are like Simeon! They are led by the Spirit to go to the “temple”—to a place of worship so that they can see Jesus with the eyes of faith and embrace Jesus in the arms of faith.

Why? So that they might have peace. In Jesus there is the peace of forgiveness for all our sins instead of painful separation from God because of sin. There is the peace of God’s personal presence in our lives. There is the peace of the present rescue from the guilt of sin and the peace of future rescue from every painful effect of sin. Jesus removes anxiety, fear and shame and in their place grants us his peace.

So many people say with thanksgiving: “My eyes have seen God’s salvation.” We see it in the Word God has given us. We see it through the faith the Holy Spirit works in our hearts. As the Lord has promised, we can, with Simeon, one day depart this world, and praise God we can go in peace just as the Lord has promised.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, help us to see you in your Word and to hold you in our hearts. Fill us with your peace. Finally grant us a blessed end that we might leave this world of sorrow and enter the glory of heaven. 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 - May 21, 2015

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

A “Mixed Bag”

Are you having a good Thursday? On that Thursday night before Jesus died, he celebrated a special meal with his disciples, conducted a “counseling session,” and prayed earnestly (John 13-17). Jesus’ words that night were a “mixed bag.” He foretold betrayal, denial, and desertion. The disciples protested: “Even if we have to die with you, we will never disown you” (Matthew 26:35). But they did.

Jesus also spoke words of comfort, with a specific goal: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” Yet, what he also said is always true: “In this world you will have trouble.” Peace and trouble? A “mixed bag!” The only solution lies in Jesus’ victory: “I have overcome the world!” Jesus battled Satan with a sinless life and rose from punishment-paying death to overcome the world and satisfy the justice of God. Only Jesus could get that job done.

A coach sends in a sub when the “starter” is not getting the job done. God’s justice requires a totally sinless life or an eternity of punishment in hell. We cannot accomplish the former and we tremble at the latter. Moved by his amazing grace, the heavenly Father sent his Son, the only one whose life and death are totally sufficient for all. Jesus died announcing, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) His rising from the dead on Easter morning proves the payment was accepted! Heaven is won!

Jesus restored peace with God for sinners, offering you peace of mind. Peace with God comes to you through the forgiveness of sins received by Spirit-worked trust in Jesus. Jesus urges, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1).

Life is a “mixed bag.”  But, “Take heart!” Jesus says. “Day-by-day, celebrate your peace with God in humble repentance.” “Be thankful and be strong ‘in me’ to face any troubles.” At day’s end, he reassures you, “Enjoy peaceful sleep. I’ll watch over you. I’ll be up anyway.”

Prayer: 

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal - 422:1):
Jesus, lead us on till our rest is won; and although the way be cheerless, we will follow, calm and fearless. Guide us by your hand to our fatherland. 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 - May 20, 2015

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus—he was one of our number and shared in this ministry." (With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, " 'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, " 'May another take his place of leadership.' Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

Acts 1:15-26

God has unlimited patience. We do not have unlimited second chances.

Jesus picked Judas to be one of his friends and students. For three years Judas followed Jesus and saw the miracles. Judas heard Jesus’ teaching. He heard Jesus warn against the love of money, yet Judas let greed linger in his heart. One day Judas agreed to betray Jesus for money. Later he regretted his act of betrayal, but sin had so crushed his faith, he couldn’t believe Jesus forgave him. In despair Judas committed suicide.

About a month later, the believers held a meeting to pick another student to bear witness with them that Jesus rose from the dead. We have the minutes from that meeting in Acts 1. What can we learn from this? God has unlimited patience. We do not have unlimited second chances.

Jesus died for Judas’ sins. Jesus loved Judas and wanted him to believe and have eternal life in heaven. But Judas went to hell. Not because his sin was so horrible. Not because Jesus had not forgiven him. Not because he committed suicide. Judas went to hell because sin had destroyed his faith. Judas died an unbeliever.

Maybe you stopped going to church because someone hurt your feelings there. Maybe you want to check out Jesus and this forgiveness thing he offers, but right now you feel is not a good time. Maybe you are letting a sin (like greed or lust or complaining) linger in your heart.

God has unlimited patience. We do not have unlimited second chances. Tragically, Judas kept renting out more and more of his heart to sin until finally there was no room for Jesus. He did not out-sin God’s patient forgiveness. But he did out-sin his second chances.

“Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation,” the Bible says (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now is the time to know Jesus’ complete forgiveness. Now is the time—in the power of his love and forgiveness—to turn away from sin. Now the message of God is patiently calling you to trust in your Savior Jesus who loves you completely and unconditionally.

God has unlimited patience. We do not have unlimited second chances. Now is the time. Be reconciled to God.  Through Christ you are forgiven. God loves you. He wants you in heaven with him.

Prayer: 

Jesus, thank you for your forgiveness. Fill my heart with a firm trust in you as my Savior. Change me so sin no longer controls me. Thank you for never running out of patience with 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

» Devotion - May 19, 2015

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Ephesians 1:18-19

Several years ago, I got to chaperone a youth trip. On our journey, we stopped off at the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. To explore the cave, we followed a tour guide down into the dark tunnels. On our own, we would have had no idea where we were going. But, the tour guide was leading us and the stony hallways were well lit.

We arrived in a large open space 100 feet or so below ground and sat down on benches. The guide spoke to us for a few minutes. Then he flipped the lights off—total darkness! You couldn’t see your hand if you put it 2 inches in front of your face. It was perfectly quiet too… until a bat swooped overhead and screams filled the air. The lights were flipped back on. We could see again.

Have you ever felt like you were sitting in darkness—lost and startled by every little thing? Perhaps your life felt that way when you thought you had little direction or purpose. You wondered: “Where am I going? What am I doing?” Maybe you were stuck in some bad habits that were hurting you or others. You thought: “Is this the way I should be living? Am I doing what’s right and good?” Maybe you’re feeling this way right now. Does God want you to feel like you’re lost in complete darkness?

The apostle Paul wrote these words in a letter to Christians he loved in the city of Ephesus: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Paul prayed for them. He prayed for God’s light to shine more and more brightly in their hearts. What did Paul want them to see? The hope to which God had called them. They could be confident that by God’s grace through faith in Jesus they had been forgiven and saved. Paul prayed that they would see just how spiritually rich they were now and eternally. And, despite any trouble or hardship they might face, Paul prayed that they would know God’s great power was on their side and working for them.

God shines the light of his grace and hope in our hearts. He keeps cranking up the brightness as we read and hear his Word more and more. As you do that, my prayer for you is that God keeps shining his light brighter and brighter in your heart so that you see even more clearly the sure hope and glorious inheritance he’s given you. The light of God’s sure hope and promises will change your heart and life; it will help you find direction and purpose.

The lights in Mammoth Cave were helpful. But then, when we stepped out into the full sunlight, we were nearly blinded. Now that was bright! I pray for God to step into your heart and life to turn on the lights and to turn them up with the full brightness of his hope and love for you.

Prayer: 

Lord God, so often I wander—lost in my thoughts and following my own way. Shine brightly in my heart and life through your Word. Fill me with your grace and hope. Guide my path and give me purpose in all I do. 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 - May 18, 2015

“Holy Father, protect [my disciples] by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. … My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”

John 17:11b,20

Jesus was preparing to finish his mission of dying and rising for a world of sinners. He knew that after he returned to heaven his followers would come under attack from without and from within. False teachers would introduce deceptive heresies to divide Christians from one another, and the devil’s accusations would tempt them to despair of remaining united with their Lord. So our Savior prayed for his Church, that we might be protected from our enemies who threaten such division.

Jesus knew that the protection we need comes from one source: the power of God’s name. His name is not a mantra superstitiously repeated to ward off evil, but the gracious revelation in Scripture of who God is, what he has done, and what he promises to do. When Satan, the great accuser, points out your many faults and insinuates that you have no hope of seeing heaven, you can find comfort in the fact that God has revealed himself in Scripture as merciful and loving, the One who forgives your sins and removes your guilt. When false teachers create disunity in the Church by proclaiming half-truths and outright lies so that you are no longer sure what to believe anymore, you can return to God’s eternal Word.  With God’s faithful people, rally around his unchanging truth as that which unites all believers to God and to each other.

In a special way, Jesus himself is that “name of God.” As the Son of God in human flesh, everything that Jesus said and everything that he did, revealed to us the nature of our invisible God. See him lying as a baby in the manger and know that God is willing to do the impossible to reconcile himself with mankind. Watch him patiently and powerfully heal the sick, and be assured that God cares for every individual. See Jesus die and rise again, and trust that your sins have been paid for and your eternal future with God is sealed. Listen as Jesus prays for all believers to be one with each other, and understand that he desires you to be a part of his loving family.

Prayer: 

Holy Father, I ask nothing more than your Son already asked: that you would protect me and all believers everywhere from disunity and despair by opening our eyes to see your precious promises in the Bible. Through Jesus Christ. 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