The Language of Home – April 21, 2018

Live your lives as strangers here.
1 Peter 1:17

The Language of Home


Daily Devotion – April 21, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:17

See series: Devotions

It’s said that, many years ago, in England, there was a circus elephant by the name of Bozo. Bozo was gentle and friendly. Children and their families would come from all around so they could feed him peanuts, admire his size, and enjoy his personality. One day, however, something changed in Bozo. He was not himself. An examination revealed that there did not appear to be anything wrong with him physically. He was neither injured nor sick. Nevertheless, it was clear that something was wrong.

It was then that a small man stepped out of the crowd. He told the manager that he thought he knew what the problem was. With the manager’s permission, the man stepped right up to the elephant and began speaking to him in very soft tones. Almost immediately, Bozo returned to his old, happy self. He wagged his massive head in delight. He even wrapped his trunk around the small man’s waist.

The manager, of course, could not wait to find out what had just happened. As the small man walked away from the elephant, he explained to the manager what he had done. “This elephant is from India,” he said, “and none of you spoke his language.” And there it was. The elephant was homesick. All he needed was to hear the sounds of the language of home.

As Christians, you and I stay in this fallen world for just a little while, and then we go home. When we forget that however—when we instead get caught up in all the distractions of this temporary journey—then it’s easy to lose sight of who we are. Then it’s easy to lose sight of why we are here and where we are going.

When that happens, it’s time for you and me to hear the language of home.

The language of home is the voice of Jesus. The language of home is the Word of God. It cleanses our hearts in the blood of Calvary. It embraces us in the Lord’s forgiveness. It gives us peace of mind and heart. It empowers us to remember the joy of what we have and the joy of who we are. That is what the language of home does for us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, at those times when I drift in the details of this temporary world, speak to me in the language of home. Speak to me in your Word. Refresh me in the joy I have in you. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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.

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First Things First – April 20, 2018

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6

First Things First


Daily Devotion – April 20, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:3-6

See series: Devotions

“Where do I start?” “When I’m confused or depressed; when I need assurance, comfort, or simply need direction, where do I start?” Today’s lesson from God’s Word says, “of first importance,” consider that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised again on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Why is that first things first? It speaks directly to our greatest need and God’s gracious solution.

It’s been three weeks since Easter. Lent and Easter are not just seasonal customs of the Christian Church. The message of Jesus’ death and resurrection verifies God’s amazing love for sinners. That is always where you start. Yes, you are a sinner, but Jesus’ all-sufficient sacrifice confirms that God’s forgiving love is for you! Warmed by that truth, consider your various needs.

Notice that the apostle Paul twice writes, “according to the Scriptures.” That’s where you go next. The Bible not only foretold Jesus’ death and resurrection, it also makes you “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” With its truth and promises you are “thoroughly equipped” to deal with … whatever! (See 2 Timothy 3:15-16.) It follows that each of us benefits to the extent that we continue to read, learn, and remember the Bible’s blessed assurances, greatly helped by instruction received through: hearing sermons, attending Bible classes, and having home and private devotions.

Thirdly, Paul refers to the many eye-witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. Appreciate the encouragement from those who saw the risen Jesus with their own eyes! Likewise, talking with a mature fellow Christian, who has life experiences to share, helps you review Bible truths as seen with the eyes of faith.

Incidentally, some of the 500 eye-witnesses had “fallen asleep.” That always refers only to our body at the time of death. The souls of believers in Christ go immediately to heaven. (See Luke 23:43.) “First things first!” The resurrection of our body and the “new heaven” and “new earth” will follow on the Last Day. (See 2 Peter 3:13.) That’s ultimate assurance!

Prayer:
Day by day, Lord, help me keep “first things first!” 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.

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Know God – April 19, 2018

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
John 14:9

Know God


Daily Devotion – April 19, 2018

Devotion based on John 14:9

See series: Devotions

“How are you doing?” I asked. The elderly woman who had been going through a pretty rough time responded, “I’m hanging in there. God is with us.”

“How are you holding up?” The father in the hospital waiting room replied, “I don’t really know, but God has a plan.”

I’ve witnessed it countless times. When life gets hard, and circumstances leave people feeling powerless and helpless, Christians find the ability to express hope fueled by their trust in God.

Who is this God? That’s an excellent question because the true answer is the difference between hope that is wishful thinking and hope that is an unwavering confidence.

Who is this God? He seems to be shrouded in mystery, described with terms like: eternal, holy, righteous, almighty, source of everything that exists. These terms make it clear that God is nothing like us and can certainly leave us with the feeling that he is so big and distant that we can’t really know him.

Admittedly, a God who is far-removed and unknowable would not be all that comforting. Thankfully, we don’t have that kind of a God. We have Jesus.

God became one of us. He lived in our flesh and blood in our world. He experienced all the pain, suffering, heartache, and temptation that our world has. He spent time eating with the outcasts, touching the unclean, and loving the sinners. He allowed himself to be arrested, beaten, and executed even though he was certainly powerful enough to stop all of it. He suffered punishment that he did not deserve because he didn’t want you to have to suffer it. Then he came alive again, defeating death, and rose from the grave.

Intimately familiar with everything you are going through because he experienced it all himself, kind and compassionate, loving, selfless, merciful, gracious, and powerful—that is Jesus. That is your God.

Trust in him brings real hope. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s the solid confidence that the One who loved you enough to die and is powerful enough to overcome death, loves you enough to know what is best for you, and is powerful enough to accomplish it.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for becoming one of us and dying to save me from my sins. Thank you for showing us what God is like. Keep my eyes focused on you and give me hope, confidence, and peace. In your name I ask it. 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.

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Do you have what it takes? – April 18, 2018

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:8-12

Do you have what it takes?


Daily Devotion – April 18, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 4:8-12

See series: Devotions

For much of his experience as a disciple of Jesus during the Lord’s ministry, Peter must have struggled with the question, “Do I have what it takes?” Like the time when Jesus was about to be put on trial, Jesus told Peter, “Tonight you are going to deny me three times.” Peter responded, “Even if everyone falls away, I never will.” He wanted to prove that he had what it takes, that he was a true disciple.

So when Jesus was brought to trial, Peter followed behind, warming himself outside by a fire. A servant girl came up to him and asked, “Are you one of Jesus’ followers?” Peter denied it, not just once, but three times.

Peter felt like a failure. He didn’t have what it takes. So he went out and wept bitterly.
But then, after Jesus died and rose from the dead, he came to Peter and reinstated him as his disciple (John 21:15-19).

Now in the book of Acts, we see a whole new side of Peter. He is no longer relying on his own strength. He is filled with the Holy Spirit. He is no longer trying to prove himself but testifies boldly to the truth that Jesus is the only Savior from sin.

Now it’s your turn. You don’t need to prove that you have what it takes. In Christ, you have a new identity. He has filled you with the Holy Spirit. Now you can follow Peter’s example. You can live for God’s glory and boldly testify your faith in Jesus, the one and only Savior.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive my pride. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I might live for your glory and boldly testify that you are the Savior. 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.

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Not Guilty – April 17, 2018

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sin, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2

Not Guilty


Daily Devotion – April 17, 2018

Devotion based on 1 John 2:1-2

See series: Devotions

The only way you can go to heaven is with a “not guilty” verdict. Heaven is a perfect place. In it dwells the perfect God and only perfect people—people who are “not guilty” of any kind of sin.

So, how does our verdict read? A thorough comparison of what God demands of us in his Word with what our hearts and lives look like, makes the answer obvious.

God demands that we always give him first place in our hearts. Every time we value our relationship with hobbies, possessions, or family members more than we value our relationship with him, we are “guilty” of sin before God.

God demands that we be kind, compassionate, patient, and forgiving towards others. With every unkind word we speak, impatient reaction we have, and act of withholding forgiveness from someone who has wronged us, we are “guilty” of sin before God.

God demands that we use our language to honor him and serve others. Every time we lie, let a bad word slip, use our words to tear someone down rather than to build them up, we are “guilty” of sin before God.

Sin permeates our lives through and through, because sin permeates the very nature of our hearts. Every sin we commit makes us “guilty” before God. Is there any hope of going to heaven?

God tells us in his Word: “If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sin, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Through Jesus’ righteous life and the atoning sacrifice for our sin that he made on his cross, he has taken away our sins and given us his righteousness in return. In doing so, he has given us the perfection we need to live in a perfect heaven with our perfect God for all eternity.

Every time we sin, Jesus speaks to his Father in our defense, reminding him of that perfect life he lived in our place and of the sacrifice he made for our sins. And the verdict spoken by our heavenly Father because of Jesus Christ: “Not guilty!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, your work has removed our sins and given us your perfection in return. Thank you for speaking to our Father in our defense, that we may enjoy our “not guilty” verdict forever in the perfection of 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.

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Peace – April 16, 2018

While [the disciples] were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Luke 24:36

Peace


Daily Devotion – April 16, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 24:36

See series: Devotions

It had been a rough couple of days for the disciples. Altogether, they had betrayed, denied, and abandoned Jesus. They had doubted his promises and failed to understand his words about what would happen to him. They were slow to believe the reports about their Savior being alive. They were hiding in fear for their lives. What would Jesus say if he could see them now?

He could yell: “Where were you guys? In my hour of greatest need, you weren’t there for me! You abandoned me. Get out of my sight before I destroy you!” He could be sarcastic: “Thanks for nothing, guys. Looks like I didn’t pick the right ones to be my disciples. Looks like I will have to move on without you. Have a nice life.” He could insult their intelligence: “What is wrong with you idiots? How many times did I explain to you that this is how it was going to happen? How could you not have figured it out by now!”

Our Savior could have responded in any of those ways, but he didn’t. Instead, his words were full of grace. In love, patience, and comfort, Jesus said: “Peace be with you.” Peace. What an awesome word to hear from the Savior of the world! Peace is a beautiful word. It is a word that emphasizes that all is well between you and the holy God. It means that by faith in your Savior you now have fellowship with God. No longer are you at war with him. It means your sins have been removed and you can now approach him as his dear child. Peace with God means your conscience is at rest knowing that your sins have been forgiven in Jesus. This peace is an awesome blessing and it comes only through Jesus.

Has it been a rough couple of days for you? Have you been struggling with the same old sins that have tripped you up before? Have you failed to put your faith into practice? Have you allowed fear or doubt or worry to rule your heart and life? Confess those sins to your Father in heaven. Turn to your Savior and know that he will not lash out at you or berate you. Confess your sins to him confident of his love for you. The same Savior who was so patient with the disciples says to you today: “Peace be with you.”

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to be my Savior. Thank you for the peace that he provides. Enable me to live as your forgiven child. 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.

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Confidence – April 15, 2018

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
Jeremiah 17:7

Confidence


Daily Devotion – April 15, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 17:7

See series: Devotions

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such great confidence that concerns in life don’t bother us? We don’t let worries upset us. Nothing ahead makes us afraid.

Maybe you consider yourself to be a “confident” person, but even the most confident person can have questions like:
“Is there a God? What is he like?”
“What if I have to face him someday?”
“Is there a heaven? How can I be sure I will get there?”

Wondering about these things makes it difficult to be confident. It becomes worse when our consciences remind us that we are not “right” with God and we fall under his judgment for our sins. Surely that doesn’t make us feel very confident!

But God has told us the answers to the big questions of life. He makes them known to us in the Bible. He clearly points out the truth that we are sinners who do not deserve to be in heaven with him. But he has rescued us from this death sentence by sending his Son Jesus to die for our sins on the cross. Jesus paid the penalty of sin for us. He died in our place. And on Easter, Jesus rose from the dead to give us absolute confidence that by faith in him we will live with God forever.

So now, what are the answers of life that we can be confident of? God surely exists! And he loved us so much to send a Savior to die for our sins. We know a place in heaven is ours because of Jesus. The Bible says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” Another Bible verse, speaking about heaven, tells us, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).

We can always be confident of our relationship with God because we have a Savior who took our place under the judgment of God for our sins. He was sentenced to the death we deserved. Yes, he died, but he rose from death. Gloriously our Savior lives to assure us that we live forever. We can be absolutely confident of this, because it is the truth from God!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, strengthen me in my confidence that because of your death and resurrection I have been rescued from death and will live with you forever. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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.

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How Are You Today? – April 14, 2018

We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16

How Are You Today?


Daily Devotion – April 14, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:16

See series: Devotions

Pearl was one of the most enthusiastic Christians I’ve known, even though she suffered through the pain of polio and all of its complications for many years. When people would greet her and inquire, “How are you today?” she would cheerfully answer, “Just fine!” Those who knew what Pearl went through in life—difficulties including being confined to a wheelchair and losing her fiancée because of the polio—sometimes questioned her sincerity. “How can you say you’re fine when you are suffering so much?” Pearl’s sincere response was: “How I feel has very little to do with how I am. You see, the part of me that hurts is just a shell, not the real me, and the real me is just fine!”

What Pearl called a shell, the apostle Paul calls an “earthly tent” (2 Corinthians 5:1). And the “real me” that Pearl referred to, the apostle calls the inward being (4:16). Although Pearl’s earthly tent was painful and perishing, she realized that it was, after all, just temporary housing for her inward being. She trusted the promise of her living Lord that one day her temporary housing would be exchanged for a permanent home waiting for her in heaven. That was the reason for her confidence. But until that point, the “inward” Pearl was conscious of being renewed daily by the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life through her Savior Jesus.

How are you today? Is your earthly tent drooping? Remember, Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord, and because of that a perfect body awaits you one day. But until then, no matter what’s on the outside, on the inside you can say, “I’m just fine!”

Prayer:
Lord and Savior, thank you for winning for me a perfect body that awaits me in heaven. Until the day I reach my true home always keep my eyes focused on you and your cross. In your name I pray. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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.

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Heaven Doesn’t Spoil – April 13, 2018

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:3-4

Heaven Doesn’t Spoil


Daily Devotion – April 13, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:3-4

See series: Devotions

I have a mini fridge in my office at work. I put my lunch in it when I arrive in the morning and keep a good supply of water bottles inside. This particular mini fridge, like many I’ve seen, has a very small freezer in it. I don’t open the freezer all that often. In fact, I recently discovered that I don’t open it often enough. It had been a while since I had cleaned out the fridge, so I decided to do that recently. When I opened the freezer, I discovered a box of uneaten, unopened Hot Pockets. The box was covered in ice, and when I opened the box to look at what was inside, I quickly threw it away. The food was spoiled. It was an orange-green color that could have made a person sick just by looking at it.

I don’t remember when I placed those Hot Pockets in that freezer. It was obviously a long time ago. When I re-discovered them, it was long past the expiration date on the package. When I purchased them and put them in the freezer, I’m sure I was looking forward to eating them. But now they are spoiled, and they will not be enjoyed by anyone.

Hot Pockets aren’t the only things on earth that have an expiration date. We lose our ability to enjoy good things all the time. Our bodies get older and weaker. Jobs are lost. Friends and family move away. And every funeral we attend is another reminder that, one day, we will expire too. One day, everything we did in our lives will only exist in someone’s memory, which also fades away over time. There is nothing on earth that we will enjoy forever, which is why the promise of heaven is such a precious gift.

In heaven, we are promised “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade;” an inheritance won for us when Jesus came out of his grave. Easter morning was proof not only of God’s ability to create and sustain life in places where previously only death was seen, but also proof that our sin—the true cause of our destruction—had been overcome with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

And best of all, we are reminded that this inheritance is “for you.” As you walk through life and see everything that will eventually perish, spoil, and fade, God has given you the right to anticipate a future in heaven when every good thing you hold will never be lost ever again.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for the inheritance won for us by Jesus. Whenever our hearts are heavy with loss, help us to look to your Word and see again the perfection that is waiting for us in 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.

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Wanted: Dead and Alive! – April 12, 2018

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.
Romans 6:4

Wanted: Dead and Alive!


Daily Devotion – April 12, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 6:4

See series: Devotions

You have probably seen it in old Western movies. The bandit robs a train and gets away with a bag full of gold. But his portrait ends up on a poster with the words, “WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE!” You wouldn’t want your image on a poster like that.

However, God has a poster in mind with you on it. The caption reads, “WANTED: DEAD AND ALIVE!” God wants you dead to sin and living for Christ. Rather than a bounty hunter, God sends out his Holy Spirit. And rather than a revolver, the Holy Spirit uses Baptism to bring you in.

Baptism is not a symbolic ceremony. In Baptism, the Holy Spirit connects us to Jesus Christ and gives us a share in his saving work. Our sin makes us deserving of death, but Jesus took our place. The life he lived, he gives to us. The death he died, he died for us. In Baptism, every one of Jesus’ acts become our own. When he was crucified, we were crucified. When he died, we died. When he was buried, we were buried. Our sinful nature is crucified, died, and was buried with Christ in Baptism. We are free from all our spiritual debts.

This doesn’t give us an excuse, though, to go on a sinning spree. Why would we want to go back into debt? Just as Jesus is risen from the dead, in Baptism we too have a new life! In Baptism, God changes us and changes what pleases us. Sin does not please God, and therefore we are never pleased to sin. The meaning of Baptism for our daily life is that we live to please God.

Dead AND Alive. That’s what God has made us. Dead to sin and alive to walk the way of Christ.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in Christ I am a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come. Help me to die each day to sin and revive me to do what pleases you. 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.

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