The Birth of Love – December 23, 2018

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.
Revelation 12:1-5

The Birth of Love


Daily Devotion – December 23, 2018

Devotion based on Revelation 12:1-5

See series: Devotions

Giving birth to a baby is an eventful experience. While you don’t remember your own birth, it is likely that after you took your first breath of air, you cried out as loud as your little lungs could handle, as if to announce your arrival into the new world around you.

Revelation chapter 12 is an unusual picture of a very eventful birth. A woman is ready to give birth to a son who would rule the earth. A dragon looks to devour the new baby. But God rescued the baby boy from the dragon. It’s a picture of Jesus’ birth which we celebrate this Christmas.

Don’t lose sight that Christmas was part of a struggle that went back to the very beginning of the world. Christmas is God’s answer to defeat an ancient dragon who wished to wage a war against God himself. Christmas is God keeping his promise to Adam and Eve that her offspring would someday crush the head of Satan. Despite Satan’s best efforts to destroy Jesus, God would win the day. Jesus was born into our world to defeat our greatest enemy!

Childbirth is an eventful experience. Christmas is even better because Jesus is born for us! It is God’s announcement that his Son came down into the world to defeat sin. Thank God for his eventful gift of love born into the world!

Prayer:
Lord God, you sent your Son to battle our great enemy, the devil. Through his death and life, he defeated that ancient serpent and won heaven for us. Remind us always of the true purpose of your Son’s birth into our world. 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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Joy on Judgment Day – December 22, 2018

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.
Luke 3:15-18

Joy on Judgment Day


Daily Devotion – December 22, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 3:15-18

See series: Devotions

Do the verses of that lesson seem to contradict each other. John the Baptist talks about how Jesus is going to burn up bad things with unquenchable fire. A fire that never goes out. John’s talking about hell. But in the very next verse our lesson claims that John said those things to encourage us. How can talking about Jesus’ wrath possibly be encouraging to us?

Well, let me ask you this. When you see someone being mistreated, do you get angry? Say someone at school is bullying someone else. That makes you upset, right? It bothers you to see someone be teased or hurt. When bad things happen to people, it makes us angry.

It is no different with Jesus. There is nobody who loves you more than Jesus. He loves you more than your parents. He loves you more than your pastor. Our lesson says that people thought John the Baptist was so great, they wondered if he might be the Christ. John told them, “I’m not even close.” Jesus is so much greater, so much more loving, than anyone else. Therefore, when he sees someone hurting you, he gets angry. When he sees you suffering, it bothers him greatly. Because he loves you, he gives you this promise. Anything that hurts you, anything that scares you, anything bad in your life eventually Jesus is going to come and set all those bad things on fire. He is going to destroy everything that could do you harm. He is going to roast anything that could cause you pain or sorrow. So, when you are hurting, you have that encouragement. Jesus hurts with you, and he is coming to take your pain away.

You might say, “But what if I’m the source of pain? What if I’m the bully? What if I’m the one who caused someone to cry themselves to sleep? Is Jesus going to set me on fire?” NO. Because on the cross, Jesus himself was torched for you. He was punished for your sin, so that you might be set free. When you were baptized, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live inside you, to give you the gift of faith. Jesus is going to set bad things on fire. But through your faith in Christ, you don’t look bad to God. You look beautiful, holy, perfect.

Judgment day is coming, and with it, an unquenchable fire. That news is rightfully terrifying to some. But judgment day is not scary for those who know what happened after Jesus came on Christmas Day. Jesus Christ redeemed us. So, we look forward to judgment day. We will be saved. But everything that causes pain in this world—that will all be incinerated.

Prayer:
Lord, you are the Savior that I need. I want others to have the same joy that Jesus gives. Use me this Christmas season to share it with everyone I can. 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 Sorrow and Joy of Repentance – December 21, 2018

Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” [John] told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” [John] replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
Luke 3:12-14

The Sorrow and Joy of Repentance


Daily Devotion – December 21, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 3:12-14

See series: Devotions

If you do something wrong, get caught, and are punished, there are two possible reasons you could be sad. You could be sad because you are being punished, and punishment is never fun. However, you should be sad simply because you did something wrong.

For example, say your mom tells you not to eat a Christmas cookie before dinner. When she’s not looking, you sneak one anyway. But she catches you. She tells you that now don’t get to eat any more of those cookies. You could be sad that you are being punished and can’t eat cookies. But you should be sad that you disobeyed your mom. She’s your mom! She loves you. She made those cookies for you. Moreover, when she tells you to do something like NOT have a cookie before dinner, it’s not because she’s being mean. It’s because she loves you and she wants you to be healthy. Your mom is a wonderful woman. You should feel sad that you disrespected her, not that you’re being punished.

That first type of sadness—when we are sad that we got caught and punished—is selfish. It is not healthy. But that second type of sadness—when we are sad that we did something wrong—that is healthy. It’s the first part of true repentance. Repentance begins when we are sad that we disobeyed God. God has been so good to us. Moreover, when he tells us to do or not to do something, it is only because he knows that is what’s best for us. When we disobey him, we should be sad that we wronged a God who has been nothing but loving to us.

Repentance is complete when the Spirit helps us understand that precisely because God loves us, our sin has been forgiven.

So, how do you know if you are sad for the right reasons? In our lesson, John the Baptist told us. If you are sad because you were caught, you will soon commit that sin again. You’re going to try and steal another cookie the moment mom isn’t looking. But if you are sad because you wronged someone who loves you, your mom, or, more importantly, your loving God then you will fight against that sin in the future. You will do all you can to avoid committing that sin ever again.

Friends, when you slip into sin, be sad for the right reason. Not that you got caught. But that you did something offensive to a God who has been nothing but good to you. That’s the first part of repentance. But then be joyful, that because of what Christ did when he came on that first Christmas, your sin has been taken away. That joy, that gratitude you feel, that is what will give you the desire to fight against your sin moving forward.

Prayer:
Father, you have been so good to us. That is why it saddens us to disobey you. Thank you for sending Jesus to take our sins away. Thank you for letting us live in the joy of your forgiveness. We ask you to give us strength, so that we might avoid committing those sins in the future. 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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Living Joyfully – December 20, 2018

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Luke 3:7-8

Living Joyfully


Daily Devotion – December 20, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 3:7-8

See series: Devotions

You have probably read the story or seen one of the movie versions of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. In the story, Ebenezer Scrooge is a despicable character: a selfish, arrogant, hard-hearted, mean-spirited, uncaring, tightwad. But Scrooge is visited one night by three ghosts who force him to see himself as he really is—selfish and awful. That night changes him completely! Scrooge wakes up to Christmas Day. He sends presents. He gives to charity. His life was completely turned around!

Why are we so fascinated with this story? Probably because it is similar to our story. We too needed to be turned around—needed to be converted from selfishness to love, from unbelief to belief. So God sent us, not ghosts, but a spirit—the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit, through God’s holy law and through God’s messengers, helps us see ourselves as we really are. In our lesson, one of God’s messengers, John the Baptist, says that sometimes we act like snakes. We slip into all sorts of sins.

But the Spirit does not just help us see our sins. He shows us the Savior. John the Baptist prepared people to meet Jesus, the Lamb of God whose sacrifice would take our sin away. When we see Christ make that sacrifice on the cross for us, it turns us around. John said, “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” He is telling us that our lives will change completely, that we will live differently, now that we have seen Christ and understand what he did for us.

Once Scrooge realized the truth, his life changed completely. He gave instead of taking. He served others instead of making demands of others. His life was marked by joy, not anger. Likewise, we who have seen the Christ—we don’t want to live for ourselves, but for him. Christ changes us from greedy, selfish people into generous, loving, gracious, servant-like people.

Jesus has turned us around. He has enabled us to repent. That’s good news! So do the kinds of things that show you are sorry for your failures and show how thankful you are that you have forgiveness in Jesus. He is coming to take you to everlasting joy. So, live in that joy! Live like your life has been turned around—because it has!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to bring us joy. Forgive us for our failures. Lead us to live the kind of lives that reflect the new life you have given to 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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A Joyful Song for You – December 19, 2018

On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:16–17

A Joyful Song for You


Daily Devotion – December 19, 2018

Devotion based on Zephaniah 3:16–17

See series: Devotions

There are some songs that everyone knows. That’s especially true this time of year. I’ll prove it. Complete the following lyrics. “I’m dreaming of…” (pause) “…a White Christmas.” Here’s another: “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, had a very…” (pause) Everyone knows it’s “shiny nose.” One of the reasons we all know these songs is that we love to sing them.

What if I told you that there is a song that God loves to sing?

Zephaniah told us that when God looks at mankind, he often sees us fearful. What is it that is making you afraid? Is it fears about your financial future? Are you frightened by the state of our world or country? What about death? Does the thought of dying scare you? Maybe what scares you is that you’re wrestling with some sin. You know that God sees that sin every time you commit it, and that thought scares you.

Zephaniah told us that when God comes to us in those scary times and he quiets our fears with his love, it makes him so happy, he himself bursts out in joyful song.

If you think Christmas makes you happy, my friends, think about how happy it made your God. Because when Christ came to earth, he took away everything we fear. You fear your financial future? In the future, you will live in Christ’s very own mansion. You fear for the state of our world? Christ is going to make a new heavens and a new earth. You fear death? Look into the empty tomb. You are going to be raised, just like Jesus. You fear your sin? Jesus paid it all. In your baptism, you were washed clean. When God looks at you, he sees the perfection and holiness of Christ. You have nothing to fear! Absolutely nothing.

That all is good news of great joy which the angels sang about on that first Christmas Eve. We hear that good news, and it quiets us…it calms our fears. We rejoice in Zephaniah’s promise: “The LORD your God is with you.” That is what Immanuel means, “God with us.” We sing that this time of year too. “Oh come, oh Come, Emmanuel.” When God hears that song, when he sees that his grace has calmed our fearful hearts, he sings for joy too!

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, thank you for taking away our fears. Fill our hearts with the joy of our salvation, and we will sing your praises, now and forever. 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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Singing with Greater Joy – December 18, 2018

Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.
Zephaniah 3:14-15

Singing with Greater Joy


Daily Devotion – December 18, 2018

Devotion based on Zephaniah 3:14-15

See series: Devotions

What kind of songs make you sing along? Maybe it’s the latest hit that tops the charts. Maybe it’s a blast from your past. This time of year, maybe it’s one of the Christmas songs playing on the radio. Whether you are the giddy gal who belts it out behind the wheel or you’re the tone-deaf guy whose range is somewhat monotone, chances are there is something that will make you sing along.

God loves that! He’s the one who created the physics of sound, the sense of hearing, the mouths that shape our words, and the very breath that enables us to sing. The birds can make pretty sounds, but they cannot really sing. God gave that gift to mankind.

And yet of all the things that make us want to sing for joy, the reality is there are circumstances in life that make us silent. When Zephaniah shared the words of our text, the people of Judah did not feel like singing. They were facing catastrophe and death. They had brought this upon themselves. After decades of unrepentant sin, God had had enough. Punishment was coming. The nation of Judah would be conquered by pagan foreigners. The great city of Jerusalem would fall.

How then can Zephaniah encourage the people to sing for joy? It would be a ridiculous request, except for the fact that Zephaniah also told them, “The LORD has taken away your punishment.” It is not that Judah would stay safe and Jerusalem would be spared. No, they would be destroyed. But Zephaniah is referring to a worse punishment—the eternal punishment of hell. Everyone in Judah who put their faith in the LORD, the gracious God who had promised to send a Messiah, would escape that eternal punishment.

Friends, even for repentant believers, sin has earthly consequences. But our time on earth is very short—eighty years if we are fortunate. Then comes eternity. Because of our sins, some of which we committed this very day, we deserve to spend all eternity in agony and remorse in a place called hell.

But on that first Christmas Eve, that Messiah was born. Jesus came, and by his life, death, and resurrection turned back the enemies of sin and death. You have an extremely short amount of time on this earth. After that, you shall spend eternity in a place where you will know only comfort and joy and peace. Heaven will be so vibrant…so wonderful…so exciting, you will not even be able to remember any hardship or pain you experienced here on earth.

As you prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus at Christmas, all the while mindful that he will come again, remember that God has given you something to sing about. He’s given you a song of forgiveness, fearlessness, and joy. How can we not sing along?

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give joy to the sad-hearted. You have pardoned our sin and covered us with your grace. We have a secure heritage in heaven. There, with you, we shall live forever in glory. Help us grasp the certainty of that perfect future, so that we might sing for joy even now. 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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Joy Versus Anxiety – December 17, 2018

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Joy Versus Anxiety


Daily Devotion – December 17, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 4:6-7

See series: Devotions

Don’t be anxious? Does the Apostle Paul sound a little too optimistic here? Our lives are filled with so many reasons for anxiety—especially this time of year! Is there any month where your “to do” list is longer than December? Is there any season where you have more events on your calendar then this one? We can be anxious about little things this time of year like, “Should we visit her parents are my parents this Christmas?” And we can be anxious about big things, like, “Will mom even make it to Christmas. Her health is so bad.”

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, he was writing to people wracked with anxiety. The believers in Philippi were worried about Paul as he wrote to them from prison. Paul himself was worried for them as he wrote about enemies of the cross of Christ. There is always something to make us anxious.

What has you anxious? Is it the impending Christmas break or what will be under the tree? Is it travel plans and all you have to finish before you leave town? Is it the pressure to make this Christmas memorable because the family is growing up so fast? Is it a lack of plans that has you anxious? Whoever you are and wherever you live, there is always something to make us anxious.

But the peace of God that Paul speaks about is the complete opposite of that anxiety. Living in anxious world and in the midst of an anxious time of year, we can appreciate the contrast. The more we see the anxiousness of the season, the more the peace of God that transcends all understanding stands out as the blessing that it is.

So, slow down and gaze at the baby in the manger. There is no need to spend or plan or hurry. There is nothing for us to do, nothing to busy ourselves with. Instead as we come to the manger, we can be still. Friends, slow down. Take a deep breath. And enjoy the peace he brings. As we gaze at this child in the manger, we see the one who did all that needs to be done to make us right with God through his death on a cross and his resurrection from the dead. We see the one who has forgiven every one of our sins. We see the one who will come again to take us to a world where anxiety does not exist.

In the middle of all our doing, what a joy it is to be still and to rejoice in all that is already done.

There is always something to make us anxious—especially this time of year. But we know where to find peace. We find it in the Savior lying in a manger. Return to his manger often. Leave your anxiety with him. Present your requests, prayers, and petitions to him. He is the reason for peace!

Prayer:
God of peace, you promise to hear and answer our prayers. You know the anxiety that fills our hearts and minds. We commit it to your care. Do what you know is best. Bless our efforts according to your loving will. And lead us to find rest in all that you’ve done for us in your cross. 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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Rejoice Always – December 16, 2018

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:4-5

Rejoice Always


Daily Devotion – December 16, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 4:4-5

See series: Devotions

Can you remember Christmases from long ago? Christmas is a time of nostalgia. Our attics, smart phones, and social media accounts are filled with memories from past Christmases. It can be fun to go down memory lane as you look at old pictures or watch old videos.

Sometimes, we even try to recreate moments that brought us joy in Christmas past. We still use our favorite childhood Christmas traditions. We make the same Christmas cookies that mom used to make. We try and decorate our homes the same way we did when we were young.

There is a place for such nostalgia. But nostalgia might also reveal deeper struggles taking place within our heart. We live in a broken world. Life can be hard. And so we use nostalgia—recalling the joy of Christmas yesteryear—in our effort to forget about current problems. That approach can give us some joy…until December 26th.

Friends, if our joy this holiday season is found only by looking backward—remembering fond days of Christmases past—then our joy will be fleeting. Nostalgia cannot help you to rejoice always. To rejoice always, you need to look forward, not backward.

God gave us a gift that helps us to look forward, the gift of his own Son in human flesh. Jesus came to us—our “Immanuel,” God with us. God drew near to us on that first Christmas. He came to earth bearing the types of gifts which bring a joy that never fades.

Jesus drew near to conquer sin, death, and the devil for us. Jesus draws near to us still today in the waters of baptism and welcomes us into his family. Jesus draws near to us in his Word. He binds himself to us in promises he will never fail to keep.

Do you want to rejoice always? Then look forward. Because this same Jesus will draw near again, when he returns on the Last Day with a new heavens and a new earth created just for you.

There is joy to be found in our Christmas celebrations. But lasting joy is found only in Jesus. Rejoice in him always.

Prayer:
O Immanuel, you are a God who is near us, with us, and one of us. Lead us to find our joy this Christmas first and foremost in you. And bless us also with those other smaller joys of the season—safe travels, good health, time with family and friends, and other gifts as you see fit. In Your name we ask it, 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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Pure and Blameless – December 15, 2018

And this is my prayer: that…you may be…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:11

Pure and Blameless


Daily Devotion – December 15, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 1:11

See series: Devotions

Christmas is filled with traditions. One that I remember from my childhood is the family Christmas picture. The boys had their hair combed, my sister was wearing her favorite dress, and (most years) everyone had a smile. My parents hoped to capture a moment when everyone was looking their best.

But it didn’t always work out this way. Sometimes there was an untucked shirt, stains on a sweater, or a shock of hair sticking out the side of someone’s head. We did not always appear as perfect as we would have liked.

The same is true for us spiritually. When our Lord returns on the Last Day, his hope is that we will be perfectly clean of any sin and perfectly obedient to his Word. But so many things stain our spiritual appearance: apathy towards God’s commands, sloppiness in obedience, a lack of love toward others, and the list goes on. These are not superficial details. These blemishes threaten to cut us out of God’s family picture.

Thank God that he sets our hearts at peace this Advent season. We were made pure and blameless when we were baptized—washed in the forgiveness Jesus won for us. We are assured of that purity and forgiveness whenever we receive the Lord’s Supper. In God’s Word and sacraments, we are connected to Jesus and everything he has done to cleanse us from our sin.

Even more, God still sends his Spirit to work in our hearts and turn us away from behaviors that would damage our faith. He preserves us in holiness, turns us from sinful habits, and gives us new desires pleasing to God.

No longer do we appear before God stained and wrinkled with sin, but rather “pure and blameless.”

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for cleansing, washing, and preserving me in holiness for the day of your return. 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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Picking What is Best – December 14, 2018

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11

Picking What is Best


Daily Devotion – December 14, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 1:9-11

See series: Devotions

“It’s the thought that counts.” This phrase is meant to rescue us from awkward holiday moments, like when grandma knits you a sweater two sizes too big. But sometimes, the thought, or lack thereof, can actually cause harm. For instance, if you bake cookies that are not gluten free for your friend who is allergic to gluten. When giving gifts to loved ones, thinking about what would be good for and pleasing to them is important.

The same is true when we give gifts to our God. We want our gifts to be good and pleasing to him. The apostle Paul prayed about this very thing in Philippians chapter 1. He prayed that that their love would increase in the knowledge of God’s will so that their lives would be pleasing to him. Paul knew that it is God who fills our hearts with both love and spiritual knowledge. He tells us exactly what he wants us to do in his Word and sends his Spirit to help us do those things. Without our loving Lord, we would be lost, settling for whatever we think God might want and falling far short.

Thankfully, Jesus gave us credit for the ultimate gift. He lived the perfect life that God so dearly desires, and he died the death that we should have died as payment for our sins. Those gifts put us in God’s good graces and set our hearts at rest for the day Jesus returns.

What’s more, through Jesus’ sacrifice and through the Spirit’s guidance, we can offer works pleasing to God. No wondering, no scratching our heads. We can be confident that God delights in, cherishes, and celebrates what we do for him as we follow his commands. Through Christ, we know we are pleasing to our Father.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, we praise you for giving us credit for a gift we could never afford—your perfect life and innocent death. Spirit, we thank you for enabling us to offer works that are pleasing and perfect, and for giving us the peace to stand before you on judgment day. 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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