Refreshing Power – April 11, 2018

When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? … Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
Acts 3:12,19-20

Refreshing Power


Daily Devotion – April 11, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 3:12,19-20

See series: Devotions

When the chocolate bunnies, Peeps, and jelly beans start filling the grocery store shelves, you know Easter is near. But very quickly after Easter, all that candy goes on clearance. Thirty, then fifty, and finally seventy-five percent off sales help stores liquidate seasonal merchandise.

Does your Easter joy ever feel like Easter candy at the local grocery store? Less than a week after Easter Sunday, does it feel like you’re coming down from a spiritual sugar rush?

It is a struggle we are all too familiar with. This is why the Book of Acts is so vital for us. When we met men like Peter and the other disciples in the gospel accounts, often we saw them at their worst. They were frequently frightened and confused. Even when they were bold, they often headed off in the wrong direction. But seeing the risen Lord changed them.

In Acts chapter 3, Peter and John were on their way to the Temple to pray. They saw a lame beggar and gave him something far greater than what he was asking for—they healed him in the name of Jesus. Instantly, the man’s legs became strong. After a lifetime of immobility, he was now jumping for joy and praising God.

Of course, many people had questions about this healing. Peter told them all that he had not healed this man by his own power. God had done this marvelous thing. God’s power had raised this man up.

The power of God is unlike any other. It makes barren women sing for joy as it did for Sarah, Rebekah, and Hannah. It stopped the flowing waters of the Red Sea, so the children of Israel could cross safely on dry land. The power of God is his Word. He speaks and then he does. He promises and then he fulfills.

This is what he did when he sent his Son. The power of God made his dwelling among us.The power of God humbled himself in becoming flesh and blood. The power of God rejected temptation and chose the path of righteousness. The power of God died and was buried in weakness. The power of God rose triumphantly from the grave. Jesus is the power of God.

Just like that lame man, you need God’s power to heal you. In his mercy, God has healed you from the sin that incapacitates. God’s Son has wiped out all your guilt and shame. The sin that haunts you has been replaced with the refreshing good news of Christ. The debt of your sins has been settled. Easter has lasting joy for you, because it is God’s power at work in your life.

Prayer:
Risen Savior, you paid the ultimate price for all my sins. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Continue to fill my heart with peace and joy, trusting that your power is still at work in my life. In your 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:

What Rings True – April 10, 2018

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
1 John 5:5

What Rings True


Daily Devotion – April 10, 2018

Devotion based on 1 John 5:5

See series: Devotions

If the apostle John were to visit our world of the 21st Century, how would he react? After all, about 2,000 years have passed since he walked this earth. No doubt the massive changes in technology alone would make a profound impression on him. Nevertheless, there’s also a good chance that, in a larger sense, the world of the 21st Century would not surprise him at all.

Historians have noted that, in many ways, the culture of the 21st Century has come full-circle to resemble that of the 1st Century. In John’s day, as now, it was popular to presume that there was no absolute, objective truth. In John’s day, as now, there was a chaotic variety of beliefs and non-beliefs. In John’s day, as now, the message of a crucified Nazarene seemed out-of-step with what people thought they needed.

It’s quite possible that, if given the chance, John would look at our present culture, smile, and say, “I’ve seen this all before.”

By the time the Holy Spirit moved John to write his first letter, John was an old man. He had seen humanity’s brokenness up close, and he had seen it many times over. He had seen the fickleness and restlessness of people’s souls. He had seen their attempts to find meaning in pleasures, causes, philosophies, and belief systems that held no permanent meaning.

For John, only one thing rang true. For John, only one thing mattered. “Who is it that overcomes the world?” John asked. “Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Down through the ages this message has continued to ring. It has continued to show our desperate need for forgiveness of sins and announce the full forgiveness we receive in the One named Jesus. Over the centuries, the message of the cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Easter has been proclaimed. And through this proclamation, generation after generation of souls have come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through faith in him we have life in his name.

And on it goes. Praise God.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, the challenges of our culture are nothing new. Refresh us with your gospel. Renew us by your Spirit. Empower us to see with new eyes what we have in 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.

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

I Have to be Certain – April 9, 2018

These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:31

I Have to be Certain


Daily Devotion – April 9, 2018

Devotion based on John 20:31

See series: Devotions

Thomas will always be remembered with the surname “doubting.” He found it hard to believe the report of the other disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead. He also demanded hard and fast proof before he would believe.

I can relate to Thomas. I hear all the precious promises the Bible makes, as well as the written testimonies it provides. Still I have my doubts. I must be certain, because fact and fabrication can easily be confused.

What a comfort it is to know there is truth about which I can always be certain. This truth has been recorded by those who personally witnessed Jesus’ physical presence. These eye witnesses offer me the unmistakable proof and the undeniable testimony upon which I can rely.

From this reliable witness I can be certain Jesus is the Christ. He is the one chosen by God and set apart to be the Savior. As that Savior he completed every requirement of the written law and fulfilled every prophecy—just as God the Father commanded. I can also be certain Jesus is the Son of God. The testimony of the Scriptures is irrefutable and records God’s personal proclamation: “This is my Son!”

Here is the evidence I need. Here is the certainty I long to have. Here is the truth upon which I can rely to battle my doubts and fears. God must provide this desperately needed help, because the devil is always looking for an opportunity to turn my doubts and fears against me. He wants to destroy my faith. He wants to erode my confidence. He wants to plunge me into the depths of despair.

This is why I always hold firmly to what my God has provided. Not only am I exhorted to stop doubting and believe, I am also directed to the clear testimony of the Scriptures. Here, from God’s own recorded word, I can be certain Jesus is my Savior. I can also be certain I have life in his name.

Prayer:
O gracious Lord, you have blessed me with the truth of the Scriptures. Strengthen my faith to learn them, to grow in them, and to find confidence through them. 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:

Jesus’ Miracle – April 8, 2018

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: … “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him: ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”
Acts 2:14a,22-32

Jesus’ Miracle


Daily Devotion – April 8, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 2:14a,22-32

See series: Devotions

The people had seen Jesus doing miracles. Now they were hearing eyewitness testimony that Jesus had risen from the dead. They really didn’t need any more proof. With David, the king who had originally built up their city, they could say, “My heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also live in hope, because God will not abandon me to the grave.” Jesus rose, so they too would rise.

We have read in the Bible the eyewitness accounts of Jesus doing miracles and rising from the dead. We really don’t need any more proof. As citizens of the City of God by faith in Jesus, we say, “Our hearts are glad, and our tongues rejoice. Our bodies will live in hope, because God will not abandon us to the grave. Because Jesus rose, we too will rise.”

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for providing us faithful witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection. Strengthen us to live with the confidence that we too will rise from the dead. 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.

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Am I Really a Believer? – April 7, 2018

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4

Am I Really a Believer?


Daily Devotion – April 7, 2018

Devotion based on Colossians 3:1-4

See series: Devotions

By definition, the name believer says that you depend on things you can’t see or feel. The Bible says that “nothing good lives in our sinful nature” (Romans 7:18), but it might not seem so to us. The Bible says that “Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2), but we might not feel forgiven.

Sin and forgiveness aren’t the only things hidden from our eyes. In today’s reading, the apostle Paul states that a believer’s whole life is now hidden with Christ in God. Paul is saying to believers, “Everything you do looks holy to God. Everything that ever happens to you is to your benefit. God has blessed you with an entire life of uninterrupted spiritual success.” Paul is also saying, “This life is hidden.”

It sure is. When we reflect on our efforts to live the way God wants us to, we see consistent failure. When a pile of trouble hits us, it can feel very much like we’re being punished. Believers who see and feel such things may even begin to wonder, “Am I really a believer?”

In today’s reading, Paul pries our eyes away from what we can see and feel, away from earthly things, and speaks God’s Word to us: “You died…” he says. “You have been raised with Christ.” The apostle Paul is talking about Baptism. Baptism is God’s Word and promise of forgiveness, connected to water. Through Baptism, God works faith in our hearts and connects us to Jesus, who by his death and resurrection has taken away our sins. Baptism is a drowning of the sinful nature, and a resurrection to new spiritual life.

Paul says, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Looks can be deceiving, and feelings can’t always be trusted. God has given us something better, something that will never change because it comes from him. When believers struggle with guilt and pain, God invites us to look past what we can see and feel. Our baptism tells us who we are.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, set my mind on things above. 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.

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Our Good Father – April 6, 2018

[Jesus our Lord] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Romans 4:25

Our Good Father


Daily Devotion – April 6, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 4:25

See series: Devotions

What makes a father good? Importantly, it’s being a man the family can trust because he keeps his promises. Unfortunately, many don’t know what a father is, let alone a good father. So not surprisingly some have difficulty with God, our Father. How can God be a good Father if he was willing to send his Son off to die?

The answer: God the Father is good because he keeps his promises. When our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God and brought upon the world the curse of death, our Father promised a Savior to rescue the world from the condemnation people deserved because of sin.

Throughout history, God kept his promise of a Savior, proving that he is someone we can trust—a good Father. He delivered Noah through a worldwide flood. He granted offspring to an old man named Abraham and his barren wife. He sustained the world wrecked by famine through Joseph, who became second-in-command to Pharaoh of Egypt. He delivered the Israelites from slavery and kept them alive in the wilderness for forty years by his servant Moses. He returned a remnant of Israelites from 70 years in exile, even after they had forsaken him.

And finally, God delivered his Son. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was delivered by the virgin Mary. On Palm Sunday, he was delivered into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. On Maundy Thursday, he was delivered into the hands of the authorities by a kiss from Judas. On Good Friday, he was delivered over to death at the hands of Roman soldiers.

All this Jesus did for us. God demands we live a perfect life, but accepts the perfect life that Jesus lived on our behalf. God demands payment for sin, but counts Jesus’ innocent death in our place. On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). And to show that he is fully satisfied, God delivered Jesus from death to life. Our Father does not count our sin against us. Because of what Jesus has done, God declares that we are not guilty.

God our Father is good!

Prayer:
Thank you, O God, for being our good Father, whom we can trust because you keep your promises. 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 Powerful Declaration – April 5, 2018

[God’s Son], who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 1:4

A Powerful Declaration


Daily Devotion – April 5, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 1:4

See series: Devotions

If you were asked to identify a “powerful” speech, you might list Dr Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Lou Gehrig’s “Farewell to Baseball” address, Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, or many of the other inspiring examples recorded on the pages of history. Powerful speeches are those that have proven to inspire not only the audience at the time it was given, but also future audiences for many generations. They are powerful declarations given by individuals determined to make a difference.

The most powerful declaration of all, however, is unlikely to show up on anyone’s list of most powerful speeches. That is because the most powerful declaration of all was made without a single word. It was made on Easter morning when Jesus rose to life—three days after he died. By his rising from the dead, God declared that you no longer need to fear death, sin, or Satan.

That is significant because each of those make declarations as well. Death declares that you have an expiration date, and that your life will likely end with a whimper and a moan. Sin declares that you are too weak to expect that God could ever love someone like you. Satan declares that you should feel constant guilt over all the ways you have proven to fall short of what God demands.

But all those declarations, though they can scream so loudly and powerfully in our hearts and minds so regularly, were silenced when Jesus came out of the grave on Easter morning. With one inhale of his lungs, he was declared to be more powerful than all our enemies. So listen to his powerful Word which declares that all who believe in him will live forever in heaven, that all your guilt is erased and your sins are forgiven. Be inspired by the declaration that was made on Easter morning, and let that lead the way in how you live each day.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for the powerful declaration that was made on Easter morning; that Jesus Christ is Lord over all, and that his work truly does silence the shouts of death, sin, and Satan. 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 Feast for All His People – April 4, 2018

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
Isaiah 25:6-9

A Feast for All His People


Daily Devotion – April 4, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 25:6-9

See series: Devotions

There is something special about those moments around the dinner table. Our bodies are nourished by the food we eat. Much more importantly, our relationships are strengthened by the laughs and tears we share. Conversations around that table do not make the evening news, but they do help make our houses into our homes. Which is why it is so hard when the dinner table falls into disuse. When families become so busy that they struggle to find the time to sit down and eat together, they long for the simple joy of just sharing a meal once in a while. When kids grow up and move away, those dinners become fewer and farther apart. When loved ones pass away, those treasured memories begin to fade away.

The prophet Isaiah speaks of a wonderful feast awaiting all God’s children. Our Heavenly Father longs to have his whole family gathered on his mountain for a great feast.

Just like it is for families today, there are obstacles preventing God’s people from gathering at the Father’s great feast. Not busy schedules, but guilt-burdened hearts. The Father is not separated from us, his children, by a great distance, but by the great disgrace of our many sins.

But the Lord Almighty still personally prepares a feast of rich food for all his people. He does everything he can so that his children might join him. However, this feast comes at great expense.

God sent his Son, Jesus, to reconcile our broken relationship with the Lord Almighty. The Son of Man lived the perfect life none of us are capable of doing. The Son of God shared in our humanity, so that—by his death—he could destroy the shroud of death that enfolds people from every nation. On Mount Calvary, this perfect Savior died a disgraceful, painful death. Jesus alone suffered for all the sins of the world. This is how the Lord earned our salvation. This is how committed he is to the feast.

As we look at the symbols of this Easter season, they point us to our God whom we trust. The cross testifies that our sins have been paid for in full. The empty tomb demonstrates that death has been swallowed up forever. The Lord God has saved us. One day we will enjoy eternity with him. Let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.

Prayer:
Lord Almighty, thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for sacrificing your Son to save me from my sins. Strengthen my trust in your salvation day by day, until you bring me home to the feast you have prepared for me in heaven. In your 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:

Orchard – April 3, 2018

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20

Orchard


Daily Devotion – April 3, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20

See series: Devotions

It’s difficult to put into words how it feels for the owners of an apple orchard when a bumper crop of apples is just beginning to ripen. You could ask the owners, of course. But even they would find it difficult to come up with what to say. What they feel in their veins is a strange brew of adrenalin, purpose, anticipation, and joy. And that indescribable sensation begins every time they spot those first few ripened apples on those first few trees. The core of such a thrill is in knowing that this beautiful, ripened fruit is only the first of many and many more to come.

Keep that in mind the next time you are in a funeral procession. Keep that in mind the next time you find yourself accompanying the remains of a Christian to the cemetery.

As you stand at the gravesite, look at the casket or the urn. Then look at the row upon row of tombstones around you. Think of all the Christians whose bodies quietly rest beneath the green lawn on which you stand. Even though, in that moment, you are looking at that place through the eyes of grief, remember how your God sees it. For those who die in the Lord, a cemetery is not a final resting place. Not at all.

Rather, a cemetery for the Christian is more like an orchard. And not only is it like an orchard, it is like an orchard poised and pulsating with anticipation and joy. For the reality is that our Brother, Jesus Christ, has already risen from the grave, his body glorious and perfect.

Because he has already conquered sin and death through his own death on the cross, we know that his resurrection is only the first of many and many more to come.

And so, do we grieve when death comes? Of course. But never forget that underneath even our grief there is that wonderful pulse of anticipation and joy.

It is there because Jesus lives!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, the next time the death of a dear Christian brings me grief, remind me that underneath even my grief there lies the vibrant joy of what soon will come. 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:

The Stone was Moved – April 2, 2018

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb, and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
Mark 16:2,3

The Stone was Moved


Daily Devotion – April 2, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 16:2,3

See series: Devotions

Early in the morning, the women made their way to the tomb. They had watched as the lifeless body of Jesus was placed there. They were troubled because the preparations for his burial were rushed. What troubled them even more was the stone rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb. It was very large, heavy, and designed to keep people out. Imagine their surprise when they arrived at the tomb and found the stone was moved.

As I celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, I can identify with the women. It is easy to be troubled and upset by many things in my life. Distractions seem more common. Obstacles seem to multiply. Challenges seem to be insurmountable. Yet, instead of focusing on the promise of my Savior, I turn my attention to the stone in front of the tomb. My greatest concern becomes, how do I get past the “stone” in my life.

The answer is found at the tomb. The stone is moved! The grave is empty! My Savior lives!

Because Jesus lives, I can find joy in every promise he gives. There is joy in knowing the guilt of my sin is removed. There is joy in knowing death and the devil have been defeated. There is joy in knowing my Savior lives to guide and direct my life. There is even joy in knowing heaven is prepared for me.

These blessings need to become my chief focus and my source of confidence. Then I will no longer be distracted by the empty lifestyle of this world. I will no longer be deceived by the devil’s deadly lies. I will no longer be preoccupied with the fears, problems, and confusion of this life.

I know Jesus lives! I know the stone is moved!

Prayer:
O gracious and living Savior, too often I allow the burdens of this world to distract me. Strengthen my faith. Open my eyes to see your faithful promises. Fill me with joy at your open and empty tomb. 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: