Help! – May 6, 2018

Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 124:8

Help!


Daily Devotion – May 6, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 124:8

See series: Devotions

“Daddy, I need your help.” Seven-year-old Samuel was trying to build a little house for the family’s pet dog. But cutting and joining the boards was proving to be a challenge for his ability. His father was honored that his son would look up to him for guidance. So dad gladly pitched in and provided the help to complete the project.

Whether we are seven or seventy-seven, there are times that we all need help. When challenges at our jobs become more than we can handle, we are wise to ask for assistance. We might need someone’s expert help to fix the car or repair the roof, because if we tried to do it ourselves we’d make matters worse. When a relationship we have with someone is strained to the point of breaking, we’ll look for help to mediate the matter.

How foolish it would be to seek the help of someone who is incompetent or unreliable. I wouldn’t ask someone for help to repair my car’s transmission if the person knows very little about vehicle maintenance. I wouldn’t ask someone to help me with a job if I’m fairly sure that they are not going to be there when I need them. I need to be able to count on people who have the ability to provide help for me.

We can always rely on God for his help. The Bible says, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” God is certainly capable. He is the creator of the universe. He called all things into being with his all-powerful word. And he still controls the course of his creation. We can have confidence in the almighty God! He is always near to help us.

The greatest help that God has provided is Jesus. He sent his Son from heaven to live with us here on earth. We needed his help because our sin separated us from God and the joy of eternal life with him. Jesus restored our relationship with God by bearing the punishment we deserved as sinners. He is our helper who died for us and rose from the dead to give us the hope of heaven.

Prayer:
O almighty God, lead me to trust you for help and not be afraid for you are my strength and my hope. 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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Unfair Treatment – May 5, 2018

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7:59,60

Unfair Treatment


Daily Devotion – May 5, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 7:59,60

See series: Devotions

Stephen was a believer and follower of Jesus in the early Christian Church. He was full of God’s grace and power. Stephen was allowed to perform great wonders and miraculous signs. He did good things and told people the Good News of Jesus.

Some people admired and supported Stephen because they believed in Jesus, the Savior whom Stephen loved and shared. And some people hated him. They spoke against Stephen and argued with him. They secretly convinced some people to spread the lie that Stephen was speaking insultingly and disrespectfully about God’s Word and God. Stephen’s enemies brought him to trial where they continued making their false accusations against him. Stephen defended himself with a long, eloquent, truthful speech that culminated in talking about Jesus. Stephen’s enemies reacted by “gnashing their teeth”, dragging him outside of the city, and stoning him to death.

If you were Stephen, what thoughts would have been racing through your mind as your enemies are hating you, lying about you, and stoning you to death? Wouldn’t you start to think, “This is totally unfair! How could they do this to me? How could God let this happen?”

“Unfair!” From the first time you cried that as a little child to the most recent time “unfair” has crossed your mind, you felt you have a legitimate gripe. But the greatest injustices and unfair treatment have not been done to you, no matter how badly you’ve been hurt and mistreated. With a far greater injustice and unfair treatment you and I have acted toward our holy, caring, loving, and faithful God. Every sin—from the biggest and nastiest to the “smallest” sin—is horribly unfair treatment of our God.

Although Jesus was perfect and holy, he had the guilt and shame of the entire world’s sins placed on him. What all sinners (all people) deserved, Jesus suffered. Jesus was mistreated, crucified, and died. Jesus never did anything wrong. Doesn’t his suffering and execution seem “unfair”?

Stephen joyfully said that by the injustice that brought Jesus’ death, God’s justice was served. Sin was punished in full. Your sins are forgiven.

God’s “unfair” treatment of Jesus changed Stephen’s heart and life. In fact, it even changed the way Stephen viewed and treated people who were being totally unfair. As they hurled murderous stones at him, Stephen prayed: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

Who is treating you in a way that is totally unfair? Perhaps it’s someone who instead of hurling stones has chosen to pick up their words and aim for your heart. What kind of words do you speak back to them? What is your prayer for them?

You are someone who has been given the benefit of completely unfair treatment: God punished Jesus, not you. That’s completely unfair, but that’s how much God loves you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I have not treated you like you deserve. Each sin I commit is an unfair way for me to treat my holy and loving God. Thank you for forgiving me through the “unfair” suffering and death of Jesus. Give me the strength to love and forgive others. 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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A Most Important Victory Parade – May 4, 2018

Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison.
1 Peter 3:18-19

A Most Important Victory Parade


Daily Devotion – May 4, 2018/b>

Devotion based on 1 Peter 3:18-19

See series: Devotions

January 12, 1946 saw one of the grandest parades in American history. It was held in New York City to celebrate the end of World War II. The parade was led by 13,000 men of the 82nd Airborne Division who were followed by tanks and other armored vehicles. The parade was reported to have been four miles long with more than two and a half million people in attendance. Ticker tape showered down on the soldiers and spectators as everyone celebrated the defeat of the Axis powers. It was a victory worth celebrating!

Jesus once had a victory parade too. He paraded, not through New York City, but through hell! It’s true. God’s Word recorded by the apostle Peter tells us that after Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose from the grave, he went to hell and announced his victory. He had done it! He had defeated sin, death and the devil! And because he did, his victory is also YOUR victory. Your sins can no longer condemn you. Your death cannot hold you. And the devil has no power over you.

Christians have confessed this comforting truth for hundreds of years. The Apostles’ Creed states that Jesus descended into hell. The next time you confess this creed, take comfort that he did. And let your life be a celebration of Jesus’ victory!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, today I celebrate the victory you announced when you descended into hell. The penalty for my sins has been paid. My fear of death has dissolved and my enemy, the devil, cannot harm me. Thank 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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Exalted for Us – May 3, 2018

God exalted [Christ Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11

Exalted for Us


Daily Devotion – May 3, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 2:9-11

See series: Devotions

During the prime of his career, Muhammad Ali was sitting on a plane waiting for takeoff, when the flight attendant walked by and kindly reminded him to fasten his seat belt. The great boxer joked, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” The flight attendant said, “Superman don’t need no plane either.” Responding to her remark the great fighter fastened his seat belt. Ali was probably just having fun with the flight attendant, but the exchange reveals something about human nature. We tend to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. In addition, our culture sends the message that humility is a sign of weakness: If you are humble, people will walk all over you, and you will never get ahead.

Jesus’ entire life sends a different message. The Bible points to it as the ultimate example of humility: “Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8) Even though Jesus was more powerful than a superman, he never once flaunted it. Even though he is the creator of the universe, he never used his control over nature to bring himself glory or honor. Instead he made himself nothing—the Son of God humbled himself to death on a cross.

But God exalted Jesus to the “highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” Even though Jesus looked more like a worm than a man as he hung suffering on the cross, on the third day God glorified him by raising him from the dead. Forty days later he gave Jesus the position of highest authority at his right hand in the heavenly realms. One day everyone will acknowledge his glory.

Right now, we can acknowledge his glory and “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Jesus humbled himself for each of us to become our sin. His exaltation guarantees that all those who trust in him will go where he has gone. Even now as we live humbly here on earth, we can place our faith in a Savior who forgives our sins and uses his exalted glory for the good of his people.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus who willing humbled himself and was exalted by your power. As we face doubts, challenges, and difficulties today, help us to remember that our exalted Savior is using all things for our eternal good. 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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The Best Day Ever! – May 2, 2018

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8:26-39

The Best Day Ever!


Daily Devotion – May 2, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 8:26-39

See series: Devotions

I have young granddaughters and one thing I especially love about them is their enthusiasm for life. A get-together with the cousins, a day at the lake, or a birthday party will be eagerly declared to be “the best day ever”! We have had many “best days.”

What for you is the “best day ever?” Is it hard to pick just one?

If you asked the important Ethiopian official, he would not hesitate. The “best day ever” was the day God sent Philip to him on the desert road. On that day, God opened up his Word to this man. On that day, God applied his Sacrament of Baptism to this man. That day was a day of salvation brought about by the power of God using the means he has given his people.

In the Word, Philip pointed this man to Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In Baptism, God washed his sins away and clothed him with Christ. God saved this man from an eternity of suffering and separation in hell. The best day ever!

Are you now thinking that an event you may have no memories of is the best day ever? At our baptisms, God’s Word was spoken and the Sacrament applied. On that day God saved us from sin, death, and hell by joining us with Jesus the Savior of the world. The best day ever!

Prayer:
Lord God, I thank you for sending faithful pastors to proclaim your Word and to administer the Sacraments for eternal salvation. I look forward with joy to the day you bring me to heaven. The best day ever! 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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Follow Through – May 1, 2018

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

Follow Through


Daily Devotion – May 1, 2018

Devotion based on 1 John 3:18

See series: Devotions

Frank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author. His area of expertise is a fascinating one. Over the years he has mastered an understanding of leadership and human relationships in the environment of a small business. In other words, over time Frank Sonnenberg has gotten very good at making astute observations about people.

In one of his recent books, Sonnenberg speaks about the great harm that can come to a small business through a certain type of individual. It’s the type of individual who tends to be mostly talk but little action. The personalities of such individuals can vary, but the results are the same. Below are five of Frank Sonnenberg’s character sketches of individuals who typically fail to follow through on their words.

First, there is “The Emperor.” Like the emperor’s new clothes, Sonnenberg says, everything centers on the show rather than the substance. They talk a good game, but that’s all.

Second, there is “The Politician.” The Politician will say anything to win your confidence. Once they have it, however, they are nowhere to be found.

Another is “The Drifter.” The Drifter, Sonnenberg says, has no backbone. They will make a statement one minute and then change their position the next. Instead of action there is evasiveness.

Still another is “The Professor.” The Professor can speak eloquently about theory, but that’s where it ends.

Finally, Sonnenberg says, there is “The Zombie.” Zombies are so oblivious to reality they don’t even realize that their words are out of step with their actions.

Now comes the hard part. As you consider these character sketches, which ones make you wince? Which ones make you wince when you think about your own lack of follow-through towards others in your life? Whose faces appear in your mind?

This is why Jesus came. On our behalf, Jesus followed through on his every commitment. Then he took our mountains of failed follow-throughs and paid for every last one at the cross. Then he rose from the dead, just as he said. And now, through faith in him, Jesus fulfills his promise to embrace us in his forgiveness, to embrace us as his own.

And that is what empowers you and me to follow through towards others with “actions and in truth.” Starting today.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I confess I have let people down in my life. I’ve let you down too. Wash me clean. Renew my spirit. Empower me to begin anew. 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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