The Promised Land – July 7, 2018

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

The Promised Land


Daily Devotion – July 7, 2018

Devotion based on Exodus 33:14

See series: Devotions

The Lord had rescued his people from slavery in Egypt. The people had fashioned a calf-shaped idol out of gold, Egyptian style, and worshiped it. The Lord had punished them. Now what? The road to the Promised Land was forty years long, and they would have to travel through desert, wilderness the whole way.

Maybe you, too, have paid a heavy price for something you’ve done. Maybe you still feel the effects. Where do you turn when the burden of your sin weighs heavily upon you? We may think that if we stay busy, we will forget the burden we carry. We may turn to recreation and entertainment to anesthetize our pain. These are only band-aids for wounds that run soul deep.

Listen to what the Lord says to his Old Testament people in today’s reading. He says, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” The Lord is present with you, just as he was present with them. The Lord has rest for you, just as he had rest for them. God’s Son Jesus knows exactly what your burden of sin feels like. He carried it all the way to the cross, together with the sin of everyone who has ever lived, and that’s where he left it. This is no band-aid. This is the Lord of all lifting a ton of weight off of your soul; this is your Savior dealing with guilt-burdened hearts at the source of all guilt. Jesus became sin for you. In him, you have rest for your soul.

The road through your wilderness may be long, but you aren’t traveling alone. Jesus is here for you in God’s Word every step of the way. He’s here for you with his soul-saving message of forgiveness, of rest. Jesus will also be there for you at the end of the road, to welcome you into the Promised Land.

Prayer:
Dear Savior, refresh me in the forgiveness you won for me and all people. Give me strength for the journey ahead. 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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God’s Instruction Manual – July 6, 2018

I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore, I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:104-105

God’s Instruction Manual


Daily Devotion – July 6, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 119:104-105

See series: Devotions

I don’t always know the right thing to do. I wish I could trust my gut or at least my conscience, but I can’t. The desires of my heart are a mixed bag. Or, as one theologian put it, “We are at the same time a sinner and a saint.” That means sometimes we have good, God-given motives and actions. But other times, we are being influenced by our sinful nature to live a selfish life. On our own, we just don’t know the best way to live.

That’s why we need God’s Word. Now, the Bible is first and foremost an account of God’s great rescue mission in Jesus Christ. But the Bible is also an instruction manual for life. You see, God designed the world, and his Word shows us how things are supposed to work.

We need instruction manuals. Have you ever tried to assemble a dresser from IKEA without the instructions? Sure, you might be able to build something that resembles a dresser, but it won’t work properly, and you will end up with lots of extra parts.

That’s what happens when you try to assemble your life, family, and marriage without God’s Word. Sure, you might be able to build something that resembles a family, but it probably won’t work properly. Yet, when you look at God’s instruction manual you will see how things were really designed to be.

God’s Word is a “lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” We might not always be able to trust our gut or our conscience, but we can always trust God’s Word.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive us for all the times we tried to live our life without listening to your instructions. Holy Spirit, show us the way we ought to live, and give us the ability to carry it out. 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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Built for Service – July 5, 2018

We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

Built for Service


Daily Devotion – July 5, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:10

See series: Devotions

Everything has a purpose. Hammers are for pounding nails. Sponges are for cleaning. Books are for reading. These tools work best when you use them for their designed purpose. Cutting an apple with a book cover would not work well. Using a hammer to wash the dishes would not turn out very well for the dishes. You couldn’t get to work trying to drive a sponge. Things are designed for a purpose. If you try to make them do something they are not designed for, you often run into problems.

What is your purpose? As a Christian, the Bible says that you are God’s workmanship, his handiwork. God made you, and in Christ he has given you a purpose—to do good works. These good works are the things done by faith out of love for God and love for others. They can be great deeds like rescuing someone from a burning building, or they can be simple acts of kindness like doing the dishes or being kind to someone who is hurting.

What makes these opportunities to serve by good works so amazing? God prepared them in advance for you to do. He provides you with countless opportunities to show this love to him and to others.

Do you always take those opportunities? Or do you give into the thoughts that they are too much work or you are too busy. Selfishness and self-serving attitudes can come up with countless excuses to not serve God or others. The result of these sins is that you not do what God designed you to do.

And yet, what has God done? By grace, God’s undeserved love, Jesus took your place. He lived perfectly for you and died for all your sins. God forgives you for selfishness and failures to serve. He gives you this gift because of his great love. Moved by his love and forgiveness, savor the opportunities to show love for him by joyfully doing good works in service to him and others. For God has built you for service in Christ Jesus.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving me my sins of selfishness and loveless actions. Help me to live in your love, and joyfully serve you and others in all that I think, say, and do. 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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Waiting – July 4, 2018

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:25-26

Waiting


Daily Devotion – July 4, 2018

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:25-26

See series: Devotions

“Are we there yet?” With summer vacations in full swing this is sure to be heard from more than a few back seats. After spending so much time in the car, children can’t help it. Waiting is a difficult thing to do.

But waiting is difficult in more than just car rides.

The original readers of the book of Lamentations had experienced the heartache of sin and its consequences and had to wait for God’s restoration. They had been taken from their homes, led off into captivity, and now struggled as aliens in a foreign land. However, God promised them certain restoration. They would return to their homes and find peace, but they needed to wait for that day.

We, the readers of Lamentations today, also know the heartache of sin. Whether it is the consequences of our own sin, the consequences of the sins of others, or just living in a sinful world, we too know the heartache of sin and we must wait for God’s restoration. Sometimes we get to see hints of that restoration here and now: a disease is cured, a relationship is restored, security is found. Other times we must wait for restoration, though God promises it will surely come, whether in this life or in the life to come.

The thing about a long car ride is you do eventually arrive at your destination. Whether it is the beach or Grandma’s house you get there, and the waiting was worth it. The same is true for those of us who wait on the Lord. While it may seem to take a long time, God promises us that it will be worth the wait. Because it will be worth the wait, it is good to wait quietly for the Lord, not grumbling or complaining. With hope in our hearts we know that the Lord is good to us. We know that his plans are best for us and so we seek him. We know that he is bringing full restoration and salvation when he returns at the Last Day.

Until then, we wait quietly for the Lord.

Prayer:
Lord God, help us to wait on your timing. Give us patience to see and know that your will is best for us. 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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Alone – July 3, 2018

You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.
2 Corinthians 8:9

Alone


Daily Devotion – July 3, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 8:9

See series: Devotions

It was the summer of 1992, and a man by the name of Christopher McCandless had just come to a startling conclusion. It’s a conclusion he likely never expected to reach.

For much of his life, Christopher McCandless had wanted to be alone. He dreamed of living a solitary life, free from obligations to others; free from the responsibilities that come with ties to family and friends; free from the complications of human relationships. His passion to live this way was so great that he was willing to sacrifice all he had to experience it.

And so in 1990, after graduating from college, Christopher walked away. He walked away from his family relationships. He walked away from his ties with friends. As he did, he began his new life—his new life as a vagabond, traveling about the country, working odd jobs as needed along the way.

He found the experience thrilling. His desire to be alone grew. He hitchhiked his way to Alaska, and there he pursued what he must have seen as a dream-come-true. With little equipment or expertise, he walked into the Alaskan wilderness, determined to live off the land and to be alone.

He kept a diary and took pictures to record his adventure. For a time, he seemed convinced that this was the way to live, and that this solitary life was worth all he had sacrificed.

But then, in the summer of 1992, alone, in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, Christopher came to what must have been a jarring conclusion. His diary proclaims that conclusion in five words. In his diary he wrote, “Happiness only real when shared.”

“Happiness only real when shared.” After all that he had sacrificed to be alone, Christopher had discovered that, for him, to be alone was not the answer. But now it was too late. His body had grown weak from physical problems. He was too weak to walk back out. He died alone.

Jesus once sacrificed all that he had. He gave up the full use of his power and glory as God in order to live and die as a human being. He made that sacrifice, however, not in some quest to be alone. He made that sacrifice so that he could be with us, and we could be with him. He did what had to be done to break down the barriers of our sin. He did what had to be done so that you and I would never have to be alone.

Through faith in Jesus, we are not.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for my moments of solitude. But even then, remind me that simple aloneness is not the answer. You are. 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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Why Bother the Lord? – July 2, 2018

While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Mark 5:35-36

Why Bother the Lord?


Daily Devotion – July 2, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 5:35-36

See series: Devotions

There are times when I pray that I get frustrated. I come to the Lord hoping he will help. I feel confident he hears my request. I even expect I will get a good answer. This is when I get frustrated. It seems the Lord isn’t listening, and his answer is completely different from the one I expected. This is when I have to fight the temptation to say, “Why do I bother the Lord?”

It is what Jairus’ friends said when his daughter died. For them there was nothing anyone could do, even Jesus. Yet, Jesus encouraged Jairus to believe.

Faith didn’t disappoint Jairus, neither did Jesus’ answer. Faith will never disappoint me either. Surely the world will say, don’t bother. Without a doubt the devil will want me to think, don’t bother. It is certain my sin-weakened flesh will tell me, don’t bother. Yet, I can believe what the Lord says. I can also believe his answer will never disappoint.

While I may not see the same miracle Jairus did, I will see miracles in my life. Every time Jesus answers my prayer for my good, it is a miracle of his great power and his undeserved love. And even though I may not always see or understand that answer, I can trust the Lord. My confidence comes from his loving answer to my greatest need.

I was dead in sin. I was condemned because of my disobedience. I was sentenced to eternal separation. Yet, Jesus delivered me from death. He purified me from my guilt. He even declared me free from the just judgment I deserved. It is this love, secured with the sacrifice of his own life, which gives me every reason to believe him. It is this love which also gives me every reason to “bother” him with every need—small or great.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 411)
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness—take it to the Lord in prayer.

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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Whom do you love? – July 1, 2018

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:37-39

Whom do you love?


Daily Devotion – July 1, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 10:37-39

See series: Devotions

These words of Jesus may be a bit difficult to comprehend, especially if you’ve ever held your own child in your arms. The love which parents, especially new parents, have for their child is something that can hardly be described. It’s overwhelming. It’s profound. Some find the greatest joy in these moments.

Something more…perhaps you’ve been there as your mother or father or sibling is passing away. You’re filled with another kind of profound love and care for them. It’s overwhelming and profound to a different degree, and yet it is still love.

Now, as you consider the words of Jesus once again, you have to ask yourself, “Is my love for my child, parent, sibling…greater than my love for Jesus?” If so, Jesus’ words cut deeply. In truth, we are breaking the very First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods,” if we are loving people more than we love Jesus. The results of this are eternally damning.

Let’s consider this from heaven’s eternal viewpoint. Everything we have is a gift from God—a gift that is best viewed “on loan.” Our parents are his. Our children are his. The material things we have are his, on loan to us for a time. If we love the gifts and not the giver of the gifts, we are idol worshippers and will lose our life.

Jesus had it all, and yet he gave it all up. He is the eternal Son of God who gave up the glory of heaven to come to this world where he died destitute—all because he loved God above all else. He truly is the only one who has earned the title “worthy.” Yet, by grace alone, through faith alone, he forgives our sins and calls us worthy! Whoever loves him and believes in him HAS eternal life.

What astonishing love Jesus has for us! What an amazing gift he has given to us! In love he gives us eternal life—a gift that far surpasses all material gifts. May his love lead us to love him above all else, always.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, help me to love you more and more each day. Thank you for all the gifts you have given me. 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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