Established by God – November 8, 2018

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13:1

Established by God


Daily Devotion – November 8, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 13:1

See series: Devotions

God established governing authorities because human beings are not perfect. Sin doesn’t just affect our relationship with God; it affects our relationship with each other. Sinful humanity needs an institution to keep the peace, and God established the governing authorities to make the sin-infested world a safer place to live.

This is why the government does so much that is good. You experience that good whenever you drive on a highway or enjoy police protection. It’s a great blessing to worship and speak your faith without government interference. When God’s servants in government do their job, God’s servants in his kingdom can do theirs.

But sin always corrupts, and the governing authorities are no exception. Government often ignores God who established it and oppresses people rather than serves them. Jesus experienced affliction under government authority. He was unjustly arrested, tried, beaten, and crucified—all at the government’s command.

Why did Jesus endure it? Because he loves us. He perfectly submitted to the governing authorities and demonstrated that he was in complete control. Government gone wrong sent Jesus to the cross, and that is exactly where he wanted to go. Even bad government is part of God’s plan to save sinners, because it sent Jesus to Calvary to complete his work of salvation for us.

Governing authorities are not perfect, but they are a gift from God. Government is a gift for this life from the Savior who will still be King of kings and Lord of lords when all earthly governments have passed away.

Prayer:
Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of government. Bless and guide all who make, administer, enforce, and judge our laws, so that we may live in peace until we enter your eternal kingdom. 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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God the Potter – November 7, 2018

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
Jeremiah 18:1-6

God the Potter


Daily Devotion – November 7, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 18:1-6

See series: Devotions

Have you ever seen the potter at his wheel? It’s amazing! Starting with a lump of spinning clay, a good potter can form and shape until he has created a usable vessel, and often it’s a work of art!

But sometimes it just doesn’t seem to work. So what does the potter do? He reshapes, sometimes even beginning again.

How desperately I need God to reshape me, to reform me! I make a mess out of so many things, oh-so-often! I fail to listen to and focus on God and his Word. I fail to love God with all my heart. I fail to love my neighbor as myself. I make a mess out of myself and I often hurt others!

And yet God, the “potter,” continues to lovingly work with me! He continues to forgive me, love me, and assures me that I am his child. I deserve his wrath! He gives me his love!

And in love he, the potter, continues to shape me; a push here, a prod there, more—or less—pressure as needed. And in the end? I will be an amazing work of art, fashioned by THE Potter himself!

Prayer:
O God, continue to shape and form me that I might show your glory in my life. 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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Pencil – November 6, 2018

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.
Revelation 14:6

Pencil


Daily Devotion – November 6, 2018

Devotion based on Revelation 14:6

See series: Devotions

Sixty years ago next month, a man by the name of Leonard Read wrote a short but extraordinary article. What made it so extraordinary was that it took the abstract and seemingly dull subject of economics and made it concrete. But his little article did more than that. With this piece, Leonard Read also filled countless readers with a sense of humility and a sense of awe.

The title of his essay was, “I, Pencil.” In it, Read demonstrates how even the making of a plain pencil involves all kinds of people in all kinds of circumstances from all over the world.

He starts with the wood. The wood had to come from a source of lumber—perhaps a place like the American Pacific Northwest. But the equipment to harvest the trees came from somewhere else, the metals for making the equipment came from somewhere else, and the transportation for moving the wood involved many scattered teams of individuals in various places. In addition, the human skill needed to transform massive loads of lumber into precise, delicate sizes involved many more.

In his article, Leonard Read then goes on to think through all the other parts of the pencil. What has to happen to get the graphite for the pencil? What has to happen to develop the yellow paint? What has to happen to construct a machine that will print the letters and numbers? What about the coats of lacquer that cover the pencil? What about the metal band on the end that fits just right? What about that mysterious piece of technology we call the eraser? What’s the nature of the glue that holds all the parts together? And finally, what does it take to assemble all of these different components in such a way that it does not cost a fortune to do it?

A major point in Read’s article is this. The creation of just a plain pencil does not involve a few select people. Rather, it involves wide swaths of people from multiple languages, multiple cultures.

In that way, it’s similar to how the Lord uses the gospel to create his Church. The Good News of what Jesus did on the cross to wash us clean is not for a select group or a select class. The gospel, John records, is for every nation, tribe, language, and people. The gospel is for everyone because everyone needs the gospel. And it is through this gospel that God builds his Church out of wide swaths of souls from multiple languages, multiple cultures; from Pakistan to China, from Cameroon to Germany, from the Navajo Nation to Brazil, from Siberia to Vietnam, from Montreal, Quebec, to Casa Grande, Arizona.

The next time you hold a pencil in your hand, think beyond the pencil. Think about the breathtaking miracle that is the Church.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your gospel. Move me to remember that your gospel is for everyone. Everyone. 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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A Deadly Deception – November 5, 2018

Jesus said to [his disciples]: “Watch out that no one deceives you.”
Mark 13:5

A Deadly Deception


Daily Devotion – November 5, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 13:5

See series: Devotions

Jesus offered an earnest warning to his disciples. He knew what they would endure while he was on this earth. He also knew what they would endure after he ascended to his Father’s right hand in heaven. Jesus issued the warning because of his sincere love and care for their spiritual well-being. The warning still applies today. I need to take these words of caution to heart, “Watch out that no one deceives you.”

Deceptions abound. Their purpose is always the same because their author is the same. The devil who is a liar is also a master deceiver. He manufactures half-truths with impunity. He manipulates conversations to fit his dialogue. He molds perceptions to accommodate his purpose. Each is a deadly attack designed to destroy my faith.

This is why Jesus’ exhortation is paramount. I need to be on my guard and keep my eyes open. There is never a “time out” from the devil’s attacks. His deceptions come when I least expect them, and they are compelling at my most vulnerable times. I can never let my guard down for a moment.

While my heartfelt desire is to keep watch, I know what often happens. My eyes grow weary because of the strain. I fall asleep because I am exhausted from the battle. Even worse, I tend to minimize the deadly nature of the devil’s deceptions. I need to rely on Jesus’ encouragement. I also need to rely on his strength. He was faithful. He was unyielding. He was victorious. He endured every deadly deception I would ever have to experience, and he overcame them without fault or failure.

Through Jesus I am able to recognize the devil’s deadly deceptions. Through Jesus I have perseverance to keep watch. Through Jesus I have strength to be victorious.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 472)
Rise, my soul to watch and pray; from your sleep awaken!
Be not by the evil day unawares o’ertaken.
For the foe, well we know, is a harvest reaping
While the saints are sleeping.

But while watching also pray to the Lord unceasing.
God protects you day by day, strength and faith increasing,
So that still mind and will shall unite to serve him
And forever love him.

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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Persecution Preservation Perseverance – November 4, 2018

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Matthew 10:22

Persecution Preservation Perseverance


Daily Devotion – November 4, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 10:22

See series: Devotions

In love Jesus took his disciples aside to prepare them for the time when his earthly ministry would come to an end. He warned them about the persecutions they would face. He also encouraged them through his promise that he would preserve them. He even offered them the assurance that they would persevere.

In love Jesus provides me with the same preparation for my life. As a disciple of Jesus I need to understand the world in which I live is not my friend. There are distractions and deceptions. Each proves destructive to my faith because they draw me away from my Savior and his will for my life. Even more dangerous are the persecutions I will have to endure. These deadly attacks are designed by the devil to destroy my faith and rob me of heaven. Jesus alerts me to these dangers. He also makes me aware of the preservation he provides.

Jesus tells me I will be able to stand firm to the end. My confidence to remain steadfast comes through faith in his precious work. Jesus’ ministry brought him to this earth to secure the victory I could never win on my own. Through his death on the cross, he defeated the terror of death and the grave. Through his descent into hell, he proved that he destroyed the devil’s power and control. Through his resurrection he proclaimed the victory was won. Jesus further assures me he will preserve me from all harm and danger, and guard and protect me from all evil.

It is because of Jesus’ precious work that I will be able to persevere. Life can be wearisome and discouraging. I will have to endure troubles and persecution. The enemies of my faith will seek to strike terror into my heart and rob me of heaven. Jesus not only tells me, “Do not be afraid,” he also assures me I will persevere. Because of his strength and his victory I can endure and overcome all things.

How blessed I am to know that my Savior will preserve me so that I can persevere in every time of distress and persecution. How blessed I am to know he will be with me to save me.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, by your death you have overcome death. By your resurrection you have declared your victory. Bless me through your work so that I can remain faithful to you in this life, and in the end, receive the gift of eternal life. 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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Courageous Faith – November 3, 2018

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Daniel 6:19-23

Courageous Faith


Daily Devotion – November 3, 2018

Devotion based on Daniel 6:19-23

See series: Devotions

They couldn’t believe that Daniel, the do-gooder Jew from Jerusalem, was being promoted to one of the most powerful positions in the kingdom. But no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Amazingly, after 70 years of public service, there wasn’t one intern who spoke against him, or proof of one underhanded deal, or one case where he fixed the books just a little to his advantage. If they were going to get him, it had to be with his religion. So they got the king to issue a decree that anyone who prayed to any god or man, except the king, would be thrown to the lions.

When Daniel heard the decree, he did what he always did. He went home, opened the windows, turned toward Jerusalem, got down on his knees and gave thanks to God. Instead of giving in to the threats of his enemies, instead of rationalizing reasons to hide his faith, he chose to courageously put it on display. And even though he didn’t seem to have any specific promise from God that he would be delivered from the lions, he trusted in the Lord. In this case, the Lord rescued him from bodily harm.

We don’t have a promise from God that nothing bad will ever happen to us as we follow Jesus and glorify him with our lives. But we do have this same marvelous promise from God that served as the foundation for Daniel’s faith: God has forgiven all of our sins, made us his children, and he will be with us in every circumstance and even use everything that happens to us for our eternal good. We live in a culture that seems to be growing more and more opposed to Christ and his followers. But like Daniel we can trust in God. His promises give us the confidence to courageously live our faith and look for ways that we can glorify God with our lives.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, remind me of your promises to be with me and to bless me in every circumstance. Help me by the power of your Spirit to courageously live for 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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Chosen People – November 2, 2018

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

Chosen People


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 2:9

See series: Devotions

When you hear the words “chosen people,” who do you think of? If you’re familiar with Old Testament history, you probably think of the Old Testament people of Israel. Throughout the Old Testament God repeatedly refers to the people of Israel as his “chosen people.” For example, as the people of Israel were camped at Mount Sinai on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan, God told them, “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). Forty years later, as the people of Israel finally prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses reiterated God’s declaration when he said, “You are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6).

In our Bible passage today, the apostle Peter echoes those Old Testament words about the people of Israel. Only now, he’s not using them to refer only to the Old Testament people of Israel. He’s not even using them to refer just to those who might be physically descended from the Old Testament people of Israel. Instead, he’s using them to describe all believers regardless of their ethnic heritage. He’s using them to refer even to you and me. Everyone who believes in Jesus, regardless of their ancestry, is now a part of this “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.”

How did this happen? Was there something in us that caught God’s attention and led him to choose us? Did we do something to deserve this inestimable privilege? Not at all. Nothing in us and nothing that we could have done could ever have led God to choose us as his special people. But that was the case for God’s Old Testament people as well. God didn’t choose them because they were bigger or stronger than all the other people on the earth. Instead he chose them because he loved them (Deuteronomy 7:8). That was it. God loved them and, in his love, he chose them to be his special people. That ultimately is why God has chosen us as well. He loved us. In spite of the sinful, damnable, unlovable people that we were by nature, God loved us. And he demonstrated that love by sending his Son Jesus to live, die, and rise again for us. Now, through faith in Jesus, we are exactly what the Bible says we are: we are God’s chosen people. We are kings and priests, ruling with God and having direct access to him through Jesus. We are holy, for we are covered in Christ’s holiness. We are a people belonging to God, purchased with the blood of his Son and invaluably precious to him.

All this makes us eager to do what God has chosen us to do. As God’s chosen people, we are eager to declare his praises to all those who are around us. May God use us, whom he has called out of the darkness of unbelief into the light of faith, to share this good news with others, so that many more may come to faith in Jesus and join us as God’s chosen, holy people.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, all praise to you for making me a part of your chosen people through faith in Jesus. Lead me to declare your praises that many more may become a part of your holy people. 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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Hope Fulfilling and Fulfilled – November 1, 2018

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
Ephesians 1:18

Hope Fulfilling and Fulfilled


Daily Devotion – November 1, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:18

See series: Devotions

If a loved one of yours left this earth for heaven this past year, you are freshly aware of the feelings of grief and loss. Even if the funeral service was an uplifting celebration of God’s grace in Christ, you still miss your loved one on all those special days of the year: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. They all are missing that someone special.

If that has been your experience, then today is your day. It is possible that we have all lost someone special this past 12 months, so today is for all of us. For 1300 years, on November 1, Christians have been remembering those believers who have gone on to heaven on a day that is called All Saints Day.

On this All Saints Day, we join the apostle Paul in praying that the eyes of our heart would be opened to see two glorious things: The hope—that is the “present certainty of a blessed future reality” that we have now—it is a fulfilling hope. God blesses the believers, the saints here with the promise of heaven—a glorious eternal life with Jesus and our dear departed loved ones.

We also have the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, that is, the assurance that we will have a glorious inheritance which is heaven or that we will be God’s inheritance in heaven. We can understand the words either way, but the result is the same: The fulfilling hope of heaven yet to come will become the fulfilled hope of heaven when we leave this world and take up residence there in the glory of God.

God called the saints to this hope when he brought us to faith in Jesus who lived perfectly, died sacrificially, and rose victoriously for us so that hope in Christ is never just wishful thinking.

So if you have been feeling loss, take time today and every day to also feel gain—the joy of heaven for your loved ones and the joy of heaven for you—the glorious inheritance of the saints.

Prayer:
Jesus, my Savior, fill my heart with the hope you gave the world. Lead me to rejoice in the heaven that is mine by your grace through faith. 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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