The Word of God Produces – September 6, 2018

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

The Word of God Produces


Daily Devotion – September 6, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 55:10-11

See series: Devotions

Perhaps this summer you often see a farm field where both sunshine and rain have come down on that field. You have watched as rows and rows of corn reached toward the sky. First appeared little sprouts that hardly seemed more than organized weeds, but then they grew taller, knee-high, and now those little sprouts have become full stalks that stand taller than you.

Maybe, though, you don’t see corn fields where you live. Instead you have watched your tomato plants or your garden flowers. You have witnessed that when water contacts the soil, plants grow and thrive.

It is a perfect picture of what occurs in the places we call churches. As people gather, it is God’s Word that comes down from heaven—the Bible is read, songs are sung, messages are delivered by the pastor. God’s Word contacts human hearts. We cannot watch hearts as closely as we do the soil of the fields, and we may not witness green sprouts reach for the sky, but people grow and thrive. God promises it. He promises that when he sends his Word to human hearts, it produces. It accomplishes his desire and achieves his purpose.

What is God’s purpose for you? He desires that you will come to him because you thirst for his love and mercy. (See Isaiah 55:1.) He desires that you will turn to listen to his Word and know his mercy and pardon. (See Isaiah 55:7.) He desires that you will be able to go forth in your life with joy and peace. (See Isaiah 55:12.)

In his Word, God tells you that his Son also came down to accomplish what he desired and achieve the purpose for which God sent him. That purpose was that his own Son give his life over to death for you. Jesus died to purchase your life out from underneath the weight of your guilt. God’s purpose was that Jesus’ blood shed on the cross makes you clean in God’s sight. God’s purpose is that the victory his Son accomplished by his resurrection from the dead, be your very own by trusting in Jesus as your Savior.

Do you see a church where you live in which God’s Word is proclaimed? Now is the perfect time to let God’s Word cause faith to grow and thrive in your heart.

Prayer:
Almighty God, send forth your Word into my heart in abundance, so that my faith in Christ may grow and flourish. 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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His Calling Card – September 5, 2018

Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. … Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
Deuteronomy 4:1,2,6-8

His Calling Card


Daily Devotion – September 5, 2018

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 4:1,2,6-8

See series: Devotions

Jim was a salesman. He traveled to visit his customers. He always left them a business card, so they would be able to contact him again later.

God uses his people as his calling card. On his people, he imprints his promises: “I will be with you. I will be near you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will always, always listen when you pray.” And a host of other promises. On his people, he imprints his laws: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart. Love your neighbor as yourself.” And he added a fully fleshed out code of conduct for his people’s society, worship, and personal life. God wanted his people to be his calling card. The people of other nations would see Israel and see God’s promises and commands stamped across the fabric of their lives. And it would have worked…

Except his people sinned. They fell away from God again and again. They disregarded his commands and promises and turned to other gods.

How about you? Do you represent God well? Do you display God’s commands to the world by the way you live? Do you promote God’s promises by what you say and do? Or are you guilty of giving God “bad press?”

God in his mercy sent another calling card: his own Son. In his Son, people of every nation can see the imprint of God’s righteousness, God’s laws. In God’s Son Jesus, the world can see God’s love, God’s promises. Jesus not only publicized God well in life but connected lost souls with God through his death on the cross. People from every nation who believe in Jesus not only learn about God, but know God as their Father, receive forgiveness of sins, and live forever.

God forgives you through Christ. And in grace, sends you out as his calling card into the world.

Prayer:
Dear Father, forgive me for giving you a bad name by a sinful life. Forgive me and cleanse me in Christ and use me as your calling card in a world of lost souls. 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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Raw Recruit – September 4, 2018

Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.
Ephesians 6:13

Raw Recruit


Daily Devotion – September 4, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 6:13

See series: Devotions

In the world of the First Century AD, the Roman army was a sight to see. It had great numbers. It was well-supplied. It had cutting-edge weaponry.

However, its real strength was not in numbers, weapons, or supplies. It was the training. The training of the Roman soldier in the Roman army was superb. The historian by the name of Josephus got to observe the training of Roman soldiers firsthand. What struck him the most was their determination to always be ready for the day of battle. Their training was constant. Josephus wrote: “[T]hey do not sit with folded hands in peace time only to put them in motion in the hour of need. On the contrary, as though they had been born with weapons in hand, they never have a truce from training.”

In addition, this constant training was not just for the soldier who was new to the army. It was for the seasoned veteran as well. We know this from an ancient manual on Roman military training. After it emphasizes that the seasoned veteran has orders for daily training too, the manual then explains why. It says, “No matter how many years he has served, an unexercised soldier is forever a raw recruit.”

Which leads to you and me.

As a Christian, how many times have I presumed that I am a seasoned soldier of the cross when the reality is that I often behave like a raw recruit? As soon as the Lord gives me an opportunity to display some genuine Christian maturity for others, how often do I react with the immaturity of the raw recruit? And when this sinful world gives me a very trying day, how often do I glower, pout, and carry myself as if this were my first day in the Lord’s army?

We have all had our turn at letting down our Lord.

That is why my present strength as a soldier of the cross is not the number of years I have lived. It is not my happy memories of Sunday School or Christian Elementary School. It is not my past work on this or that committee at church. Rather, it is the Spirit-wrought realization that I need the Lord Jesus now more than ever. I need the forgiveness he has purchased for me at the cross. I need the peace and strength he gives me in his Word and Sacrament.

When that happens, the more fully I wear the armor of God. When that happens, the more fully I live to the Lord’s glory as a seasoned soldier of the cross.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, so often I have behaved as if I were a raw recruit. Wash me clean. Empower me by your Spirit to realize my need for you is greater than 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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Heart Problems – September 3, 2018

“From within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”
Mark 7:21-22

Heart Problems


Daily Devotion – September 3, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 7:21-22

See series: Devotions

Nancy was concerned about her husband. His lifestyle choices made him a perfect candidate for heart problems. Even Ken’s doctor agreed. Ken was overweight. He got little exercise. He was under a great deal of stress. What was most troubling was his attitude. Every time Nancy encouraged him to change, he replied, “You have to die from something.”

In many ways I can be like Ken, especially when it comes to the spiritual condition of my heart. Jesus wants to claim it as his own, but often I reject that claim and live my life the way I choose. This leads to a struggle between what is good and God-pleasing, and what could lead to my eternal condemnation.

My heart is the problem. Jesus’ warning to his disciples is one I need to take seriously. I may believe my heart is filled with good intentions, but the opposite is true. By nature, it is filled with evil thoughts and desires which result in evil actions. In the end, I either must confess I have a heart problem or deny it.

What a blessing it is that Jesus opens my eyes with the warning he gives. Not only do I need to see the horrible condition of my heart, I must acknowledge it. Once I admit my heart has a problem, my Savior leads me to look to the cure he provides.

In Jesus, I have forgiveness for the evil condition of my heart. In Jesus, I receive the desire and the strength to change. In Jesus, I have his peace which continually guards my heart and life. It is only Jesus’ undeserved love, his sinless life, and his triumph over every evil that replaces what exists by nature, repairs the damage, and renews my heart for a life of loving service.

This new life and new heart is mine only by faith in Jesus. And though I may never be completely free from heart problems in this life, I can live in hope. Jesus continues to call me, change me, and claim my heart as his own.

Prayer: (Psalm 51:10)
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

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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Following Jesus is Worth Whatever It Takes – September 2, 2018

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Matthew 16:21-26

Following Jesus is Worth Whatever It Takes


Daily Devotion – September 2, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 16:21-26

See series: Devotions

Human beings put a value on everything. How much we value someone, or something affects the decisions we make. If we value a certain piece of meat enough to pay thirteen dollars a pound for it, we buy it. If we value our pet enough to pay a thousand dollars for the surgery she needs, we tell the vet to schedule the surgery. If we value winning a marathon enough, we get up early every morning to train for it. If we value losing weight enough, we avoid certain foods.

Jesus values you more than anyone has ever valued anything. He wants to spend his eternity with you. He knew that the only way he could do this was to go to the cross and spill his blood as a payment for your sins. It would be painful beyond words. It would be difficult beyond description. As Jesus said, he would have to “suffer many things.” But, for Jesus it was a simple equation. Lose his life or lose you. He chose to lose his life.

And now, because of what Jesus did, all his followers will live eternally with him. Those who do not follow him will suffer separation from him forever. So, what are you willing to suffer in order to follow him? It is a simple equation. Lose him and you lose everything. Or, to put it positively, follow him at all costs. Carry whatever burden you must. Put up with whatever ridicule you must. Pass by whatever temporary pleasure you must in order to follow him. Because when Jesus leads you to the glory of heaven you will exclaim, “Wow! It was worth it!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I thank you that you valued me enough to suffer so much to save me. My relationship with you is worth more than anything else. Send your Holy Spirit to strengthen me in this conviction so that every decision I make this day will reflect how much I value 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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The Wonders of His Mercy – September 1, 2018

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy … Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:1-2

The Wonders of God’s Mercy


Daily Devotion – September 1, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 12:1-2

See series: Devotions

Little hands shape Play-Doh into so many things: hot dogs, stars, and colorful creatures. And when they finish they make something else.

How much like Play-Doh we are! What is molding our hearts, minds, and character? Either the world is shaping us to conform to its standards, or the Lord is changing us inside and out.

The world works hand-in-hand with our inborn, sinful nature. An advertisement leaves us dissatisfied with what God has given. A movie scene or Internet picture stirs lustful desires. Another person’s harsh words kindle our resentment.

Even potentially good virtues like hard work, family values, and self-reliance become ungodly in the world’s hands. Work or family can become more important than our Savior. Self-reliance can fail to fully rely on God, and it can foster indifference towards the needs of others.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” But how? How can we resist the power of this world? Look at what the apostle writes: “In view of God’s mercy.”

The preceding chapters of Romans laid out the wonders of God’s mercy. The opening verses proclaimed the gospel of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. What mercy! Our own sin made us worthless. Yet even though all have sinned, God has freely justified all, because Jesus paid the ransom by sacrificing himself in our place. God justifies the wicked. He gives us a clean record. Faith believes the good news of this verdict. Only by faith in Christ, and not by works, we have access to God and rejoice in the hope of glory. “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Romans 9:16).

In view of God’s mercy, why wouldn’t we daily resist the world’s efforts to mold us like Play-Doh? Rather, take God’s word to heart to transform your mind, making you new each day.

Prayer:(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 70:4)
Jesus, be with me and direct me;
Jesus, my plans and hopes inspire;
Jesus, from tempting thoughts protect me;
Jesus, be all my heart’s desire;
Jesus, be in my thoughts all day
And never let me fall away.

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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