Stay Focused – January 5, 2018

Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13

Stay Focused


Daily Devotion – January 5, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:13

See series: Devotions

It is getting more difficult to be focused. Have you noticed this? Our modern world is filled with distractions. For example: You are in the middle of an important conversation with a friend when you hear a familiar bing from your phone. You know someone has sent you a text. Who sent it? What does it say? The curiosity is killing you. Suddenly, you are no longer listening to a thing your friend is saying. You have lost your focus.

When you lose your focus during a conversation with your friend, it can be embarrassing and frustrating for your friend. When you lose your focus spiritually, it is more than embarrassing. It is dangerous.

The devil knows this. It is why he works so doggedly to distract us. He wants us to take our eyes off the prize. He wants us to forget what is most important. And it doesn’t matter to him what he uses to distract us. If he can get us to lose our focus, he may eventually be able to get us to lose our faith. And then he will have us forever.

Do not let this happen! Do not lose your focus! That is what the apostle Peter seems to shout when he writes, “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” In other words, stay focused! Remember what is important! In the end, only your relationship with Jesus matters. Do not let yourself be distracted!

Take Peter’s encouragement into this new year. Make Jesus your priority. And no matter what the devil uses to distract you…stay focused!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I know that nothing is more important than my relationship with you. But I also know how easily I am distracted. Grant me the strength and focus to keep this from happening this year, and every year, until you take me home to heaven. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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.

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

A Prayer to Begin a New Year – January 4, 2018

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

A Prayer to Begin a New Year


Daily Devotion – January 4, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 90:12

See series: Devotions

I remember my grandpa telling me, “The older you get, the faster the years pass by.” As a ten-year-old this was just one of those puzzling things that older people said that really didn’t make much sense. How could time go faster or slower? How could years speed up and slow down?

We’ve just entered a new year. Whether this is the 98th time you’ve changed calendars or just the 27th, you are one day closer to the end of your life here on earth. A couple of verses earlier, the writer of this psalm wrote, “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away (Psalm 90:10). Whether they knew it or not, the 70’s progressive rock band, Kansas, was simply summarizing a truth taught throughout Scripture when they sang, “All we are is dust in the wind.” We are here one moment and blown away with the breeze the next.

So, what does this mean for us? Is the point to simply make the most of every moment recognizing that our time is short? Should we just eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die? Or should we just despair over the ever-shortening length of time we have left? No, none of these are real solutions. Instead we can pray, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Numbering our days means acknowledging that our time is short. It means not pretending that we are immortal, and will somehow escape death. But God doesn’t encourage us to number our days, just so we are aware of how little time we have. He wants us to do this so that “we may gain a heart of wisdom.” He wants us to look away from ourselves to his compassion and mercy, because it is there we will find true wisdom. It is there we will find wisdom born in a manger in Bethlehem. In Jesus we find forgiveness, salvation, and new life. In him our lives are charged with meaning and purpose, no matter how short they may seem right now. This is a prayer to begin the New Year:

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”—Psalm 90:12

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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.

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Beware Easy Idols – January 3, 2018

“Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it—let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”
Isaiah 45:20-22

Beware Easy Idols


Daily Devotion – January 3, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 45:20-22

See series: Devotions

Writing a devotion, the week before Christmas, on the topic of idols seems almost too easy. For weeks, ads of all kinds pushed our “idol buttons.” I succumbed early on to a larger TV, reasoning there was no need to wait to get what I wanted to use now. That is the danger of the materialism idol. You can pick up that idol right now. You don’t even have to leave your home to get it. “One-click shopping” and it is on its way.

In many ways, all idolatry is easy. Easy on the part of the idol, that is. The idol answers no prayers and saves no lives. The idol being nothing does nothing but head toward inevitable decay. It is “wood” as God’s Word declares.

By contrast, the true God does all the hard work for us. In idolatry, you give to your idol and your idol gives back nothing of lasting value. In Christianity, God gives to you and what he gives is hard, but lasts forever.

He gives righteousness and salvation. That is hard work. For example, try to be righteous for a day. Magnify that. Take on the task Jesus did. Thirty-three years of daily righteousness, lived out in a real world of temptation and sin, yet he was without sin, so that his righteousness could be credited to our account.

He also gives salvation, which is rescue from sin. Salvation required a sacrifice for sin, and this, too, Jesus did on our behalf. The depictions of Jesus’ death on the cross are devastating from the physical perspective. What we cannot fully comprehend is the spiritual anguish of separation from his Father.

There is no idol who will live and die for you as Jesus did. There are too many who live and die for their idols. Do not be among the ignorant. Instead heed the words of God: “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in this New Year turn me repeatedly to you, to the righteousness and salvation of Jesus my Lord. Keep me from false idols and wasted worship. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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.

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Impartial – January 2, 2018

Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
1 Peter 1:17

Impartial


Daily Devotion – January 2, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:17

See series: Devotions

Are you a “Christian-By-Association”? In other words, do you consider yourself a Christian because you can point to your familiarity with the trappings of Christianity? Perhaps you can rattle off happy memories of going to Sunday School or a Christian Day School. Perhaps you can recall what it was like to be in a children’s Christmas program on Christmas Eve. Perhaps your parents and grandparents were active in church life and you’ve inherited some family connections with various pastors and teachers.

If that’s all you’ve gotten out of your exposure to Christianity, however, you’ve got nothing.

God is impartial. It does not matter to God how active your parents or grandparents were at church. It does not matter to God how many songs you sang in Christmas Eve services of your childhood. It does not matter to God how many Christian pastors and teachers you know by name. If you or I think God will accept us because we’re familiar with some trappings of Christianity, then we are not hearing him. And a moment is coming when we’ll be in for a real shock.

What matters to God is our relationship with Jesus. What matters to God is our trust in Christ as our Savior from sin. What matters to God is the forgiveness we possess through faith in Jesus’ perfect life and death in our place. What matters to God is that my personal eyes of faith are fixed upon his Son.

No more pretending. Only Jesus. He alone makes all the difference in the world. Your world too.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, forgive me for all the times I have not focused on your Son. Wash me in his blood. Renew my zeal for the good news of salvation through Jesus. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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.

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

A Miracle in the Making – January 1, 2018

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
Luke 2:25

A Miracle in the Making


Daily Devotion – January 1, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 2:25

See series: Devotions

It’s easy to assume a miracle must be something big. It has to be dramatic and out of the ordinary. So, it’s not surprising that Jesus’ circumcision could be easily overlooked. However, when I take a closer look at what Luke was recording, I see a miracle in the making.

In order to understand the miraculous nature of this simple account, I need to see how it fits in with the whole context of the Scriptures. Here I learn, “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

When Jesus was circumcised, God set in motion the miracle which would result in my rescue. I was trapped under the curse of God’s law. No matter what I would do, I could not change the just condemnation I deserved. Yet, in his undeserved love God sent his Son into the world to undertake the dramatic work needed to change my status before God.

It was a miracle that Jesus, who is true God, was conceived and born of Mary. It was a miracle that Jesus was circumcised and placed under the obligation of God’s law. It was a miracle that Jesus received the name which declared, “he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). This miracle assures me I am innocent of all charges against me. This miracle declares I am child of God. This miracle proclaims I am an heir of eternal life and heaven.

While many may look for miracles to be something out of the ordinary, by faith I see God doesn’t always work that way. Often, he uses the simple, and even the ordinary, to accomplish his will. This is the wonder of Jesus’ circumcision. Certainly, it could be easily overlooked. Nonetheless, through faith, I see a miracle in the making—a miracle which results in my rescue.

Prayer:
O gracious God and Lord, open my eyes to see your all-surpassing power and your undeserved love, especially in the simple testimony you offer regarding your Son, my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
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.

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us: