Freedom in Christ – July 10, 2019

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Galatians 2:19-21

Freedom in Christ


Daily Devotion – July 10, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 2:19-21

See series: Devotions

Positioned prominently above the gates of Auschwitz, a sign greeted the Jewish prisoners as they entered the camp. Arbeit Macht Frei: “Work Sets You Free.” It was an empty promise. They worked themselves to exhaustion, but the only escape they found was in death.

Arbeit Macht Frei is an ideal that sounds reasonable, even appealing. If we do the right things, we will have freedom and approval. But no amount of work will add up to the standard of glory that God expects from us. The only payment we receive for our efforts is death.

Jesus Christ has set us free from our dead-end existence. For us, he labored flawlessly under his Father’s law. For our salvation, he paid for our guilt on the cross with his sinless life. By faith in Christ, we are free from the law’s demands and empty promises. Rather than our own works setting us free from God’s anger, it is Jesus’ work that sets us free.

Remember this when your guilt is getting the better of you. Remember that the hard work of getting your soul to heaven has already been done, by Jesus. Then, like St. Paul, spend your life living for the one who has paid the price for your entrance through the pearly gate of heaven!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me believe that all you did, suffered, and endured you did to rescue me and set me free. In the hope of your resurrection, teach me to live in the freedom I have in you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The God of Second Chances – July 9, 2019

The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors.
2 Chronicles 33:10-13

The God of Second Chances


Daily Devotion – July 9, 2019

Devotion based on 2 Chronicles 33:10-13

See series: Devotions

Would you put a tweenager in charge of your life? An entire nation?

Manasseh was twelve when he became the king of Israel. He did a poor job. Like a rebellious preteen, Manasseh was going to be different from his father. His father abolished pagan worship; Manasseh reinstated it.

What should God do? First, he tried to reason with Manasseh. When that failed, God didn’t give up. He used tough love on the king, allowing him to be taken as a prisoner to far off Babylon. Manasseh humbled himself before God and prayed for deliverance. God heard Manasseh and gave him a second chance.

You don’t have to be a tweenager to behave like one. We don’t always do things the way our Father wants. We worship our own modern-day idols. We fall into today’s culturally acceptable sins. We ignore God’s wisdom and counsel. The issue is not how big or small our sin-debt is. The issue is, we can’t repay it.

What should God do? Should he give us a second chance? That’s not what we deserve, but that’s what he does. He is the God of free and faithful grace. Because Jesus was an obedient Son who laid down his life for our sins, God’s mercy is always new.

As we live humbly before God, confessing our guilt, and trusting in Jesus Christ as our Savior, he delivers us. He gives us better than we deserve. Rather than death, he gives us life. Rather than hell, he gives us heaven. Rather than his fury, he forgives us and gives us a second chance—over and over.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I have disobeyed you in my thoughts, words, and actions. I am sorry for my sins and for Jesus’s sake, I pray: Lord, give me a second chance. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Confession is Good for the Soul – July 8, 2019

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.”
2 Samuel 12:13,14

Confession is Good for the Soul


Daily Devotion – July 8, 2019

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 12:13,14

See series: Devotions

David was a man after God’s own heart. But one late afternoon, David decided to follow his own heart rather than God’s.

From the palace rooftop, David caught sight of Uriah’s wife, the beautiful Bathsheba. He coveted her, called her to his palace, coerced her into bed, and got her pregnant. Panicked, David tried to cover up his affair. First, he buried it under a lie. Then, he buried Uriah so he could marry Bathsheba. David thought he was free, but for a year he was a prisoner of his own guilt.

That’s when God sent Nathan to David. Nathan told David a story. There were two men, one rich and the other poor. The poor man owned a single lamb that he treasured like a daughter. The rich man had hundreds of sheep and cattle. One day, a guest dropped in at the rich man’s house for dinner. Not wanting to give up one of his livestock, the rich man stole the poor man’s lamb, slaughtered it, and served it to his guest.

David was furious. He demanded to know the identity of the man who had destroyed another man’s family. He deserved to die.

Nathan replied, “You are the man.” Hard words. Honest words. Humbling words. God’s tough love set David free. Heartbroken, he confessed his guilt. And the Lord had compassion on him. Because of God’s promised Savior, Jesus Christ, David found spiritual freedom. The innocent Lamb of God, slaughtered in place of the many, brings spiritual freedom to every man, woman, and child held in bondage to sin.

That’s all of us. We don’t like to admit sin. We don’t want our guilt exposed. We bottle it up, bury it, and build walls around it. We think we are protecting ourselves. In reality, we are prisoners of our own making.

Confession is good for the soul. It’s the door to freedom. It gives us access to God’s love and forgiveness in Christ.

Prayer:
O God, I recognize my rebellion against you. I know that I began life full of sin. Purify me from my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart. And, restore to me the joy of your salvation. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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BULLETIN- July 7, 2016

The 4th Sunday After Pentecost

July 7, 2019

St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church

Montello, WI

St. John’s  Ev. Lutheran Church 313 East Montello St. Montello, WI 53949 Emmanuel  Ev. Lutheran Church W1568 Evergreen Lane Montello, WI 53949    

XW E L C O M E    T O    O U R    C H U R C H X We extend a warm welcome to everyone today, especially our visitors.  In the bulletin you’ll find an outline of today’s service, a calendar of events and other bits of information.  In the red hymn book you’ll find the songs we sing and the order of service that we follow. If you would like a large print hymnal or bulletin please ask one of our ushers and they will gladly assist you.  Restrooms and nursery area are located in the parish hall at Emmanuel and in the lower level and link-way at St. John’s.  It’s nice to have you visit today. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more, as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). Welcome to God’s house!  May God bless our worship together.  
  Pastor Peter Zietlow  

 

608.297.2866 www.stjohnsmontello.org Like us on Facebook

 

XG O D ’ S     W O R D    F O R     T O D A Y X Forgiven Much by Jesus, We Love Much – When we sense how much we need God’s forgiveness, his mercy becomes the most powerful reality in our lives. It transforms us. To ignore our need brings ruin, but to hang on tightly to God’s gift of mercy brings peace, joy, and purpose.  


XP R E P A R A T I O N   F O R   W O R S H I P X

We prepare ourselves to worship the one Savior God by expressing our humble repentance, offering our fervent prayers and singing our thankful hymns of praise.

OPENING HYMN 304                                                          Jesus Sinners Does Receive

Please stand

CONFESSION & ABSOLUTION                                                           hymnal page 15

When we confess to God that we have failed to live up to the perfect standards in his law, the pastor announces the perfect forgiveness of sins won for us by Jesus.

LORD, HAVE MERCY                                                                                                                hymnal page 15

The Church brings her concerns and prayers to a loving Father in heaven, who has shown great mercy to us and promised to hear our ardent cries for help.

GLORY BE TO GOD                                                                                                                   hymnal page 16

This song of praise reminds us of the wonderful things God has done for us, not the least of which is the salvation he gives through Jesus Christ.

PRAYER OF THE DAY

M: O God, protector of all the faithful, you alone make strong; you along make holy. Show us your mercy and forgive our sins day by day. Guide us through our earthly lives that we do not lose the things you have prepared for us in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C: Amen.

Please be seated for the day’s Scripture readings

XT H E   W O R D X

The Lord Jesus speaks to us in Scripture reading, preaching and song.

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON                                                                          2 Samuel 11:26–12:10,13-15

Summary: David needed forgiveness; Nathan proclaimed it

When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.  After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.  But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.

The LORD sent Nathan to David.  When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought.  He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children.  It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms.  It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die!  He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!  This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: `I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.   I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms.  I gave you the house of Israel and Judah.  And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.  Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes?  You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own.  You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die.  But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.”

After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.

PSALM 72                                                                                                                                           hymnal page 93

The lectern side sings the first line, the pulpit side sings the second line, and everyone sing the refrains and Gloria.

EPISTLE LESSON                                                                                                                        Galatians 2:11-21

Summary: We are justified by faith in Christ

When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.  Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles.  But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.  The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew.  How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

“We who are Jews by birth and not `Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.  So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

“If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin?  Absolutely not!  If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker.  For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

VERSE OF THE DAY                                                                                                        Psalm 132:9

Alleluia. May your priests be clothed with righteousness; may your saints sing for joy. Alleluia.

C: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!                              

Please stand

C: Glory be to you, O Lord!             Sung after Pastor announces the Gospel lesson verse

GOSPEL LESSON                                                                          (today’s sermon text) Luke 7: 36-50

Jesus was anointed by a sinful woman who had been forgiven

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears.  Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is– that she is a sinner.”

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender.  One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house.  You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven– for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

C: Praise be to you, O Christ!                            

 NICENE CREED                                                                                          hymnal pages 18, 19

Please be seated

SERMON HYMN 479                                                  Jesus, Your Boundless Love to Me

SERMON                                                                                                         Luke 7:36-50

Christ Communicates the Core of Christianity

  1. Faults
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Faith
  4. Fruits

Please stand

CREATE IN ME                                                                                                            hymnal page 20

Please be seated

X O F F E R I N G S   O F   G I F T S   &   P R A Y E R S X

THE OFFERING                   James Wachholz & Lucas Stelter sing “My Country Tis of Thee”                  The ushers now gather the “Thank-Offering.”  Members of this congregation show their thanks to God for all he has done for them by returning a portion of their income to the Lord.  Through these free will offerings, this congregation and its ministries are maintained.  Guests need not feel obligated to contribute. Please also sign our Friendship Registers and greet one another.

Please stand

PRAYERS

The Offering Prayer, Prayer for Blessings on the Church, and Intercessory Prayers are spoken by pastor. Please see announcements for those on our Intercessory Prayers list.

LORD’S PRAYER                                                                                                                           hymnal page 20

Please be seated

HYMN 394                                                                                                        Blessed Are the Saints of God

Please stand

CLOSING PRAYER & BLESSING                                                                     hymnal page 25

Remain standing

CLOSING HYMN 619                                                                 God Bless Our Native Land

After the closing hymn, the congregation may be seated and all active and retired military personnel remain standing and be recognized for their service.

As you leave today’s service, please give your completed Friendship Register sheet to an usher or pastor.

XAnnouncements X

Activities for the week of July 7-July 13
Sun. 8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship with communion
  10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship
  11:15 A.M. Bible Information Class at St. John’s
Mon.    
Tues.    
Wed. 6:30 P.M. St. John’s Worship
Thurs. 10:00 A.M. Montello Care Center Devotion
Fri. 7:00 P.M. WELS Night at Miller Park
Sat.    
Theme for Next Sunday July 14 , 2019 Pentecost 5 & Teacher Installation at St. John’s: “Following Christ Means Confessing Who He Is–the Suffering Savior”
8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship with communion
11:15 A.M. Potluck and Welcome Baskets for our new teachers at St. John’s

INTERCESSORY PRAYERS

– For those hospitalized, ill, shut-in and facing trials: George Alexander, Ron Blada, Pat Bornick, David Broderick, Sandy Buchholz, Pastor Raymond Cox (Marjorie’s Fabian’s brother), Gene & Sharon Crook, Harley & Liola Crown & son Terry, Agnes Dassow, Jerre Duerr, Reinold Eckelberg, Elaine Emond (Mark’s mother), Earl Ewert, Marjorie Fabian, Harold Fandrey, Mike Farrell, Kellen Grucza (Judy Fandrey’s daughter), Del Henke (6/3 gall surgery), Dawn Hirn (Linda Krause’s niece), Xzander Jahr, Bob Klapper (Sandy’s husband), Arden “Bill” Klimke, Linda Krause, Robert Lederer (Jackie & Jeanne Buchholz’ father), Jim Kunde (our former SJ member), Delvin Mittelsteadt, Jean Muhlenbeck (WELS member at Zion–Bristol, St. John’s visitor), Debbie Parrish, Arlene Prill, LuAnn Reber, Elsa Russell, Mark & Peggy Russell (Elsa’s son & daughter in-law), Carol Schumann, Dennis Schwanke (Mary Isberner’s friend), Amanda Stalker, Jody Steigerwald (DuWayne & Pat Sommerfeld’s daughter), Jennifer Strauss, Dennis & Ramona Wacholtz, Donny Weber (Betty’s son), Heidi Weishaar (Dennis & Sharon Kekow’s daughter), Karl Whitrock, Millie Wildt (John’s wife) – (added this week: Robert Lederer)

– For Sara Borck & Pastor Nathaniel Buchner who were united in Christian marriage at St. Paul’s–Green Bay on Friday (7/5)

– For our country

– For those serving (or who have served) in the armed forces

THANKS to all who helped our new principal and pre-school director Larry & Lynn Sellnow move into the parsonage this week.

NEW TEACHER INSTALLATION is scheduled for next Sunday, July 14th.  We’d love to welcome our three new teachers with Welcome Baskets and a potluck lunch following the 10:00am service.  If you’d like to donate any gifts for the teacher baskets, please drop them off in the office. Please see our signup sheets in St. John’s link way and Emmanuel parish hall for the potluck.

FRIENDSHIP REGISTERS Please complete the friendship register page each week. This helps your pastor and other church leaders stay in touch and keep contact information up to date. Thanks!

TO ENCOURAGE FELLOWSHIP following today’s worship service, the ushers will not be dismissing pew by pew from front to back as in the past.  Instead, all are encouraged to stay and visit and encourage one another.  Please give an usher or pastor your completed friendship register.

ST. JOHN’S SCHOOL & LITTLE LAMBS PRE-REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Call (608-297-2866), email (scsecreatary@stjohnsmontello.org) or stop by the office today to pre-register today!

MEDITATIONS “Meditations” WELS daily devotional booklets began on 6/2 and are available in the church entry (many thanks to our generous members for covering the $2K/yr cost) 

USHER AND GREETER SCHEDULE If you are signed up to be a St. John’s usher and/or greeter, please pick up your hard copy of June-July in St. John’s Information Room. Schedules will be available for pick up every 2 months.

CHECK OUT OUR UPDATED INFORMATION ROOM This room is located at the top of St. John’s link way stairs and the church entry way. Here you will find bulletin boards labeled “Home Missions” and “LWMS”. Home Missions will provide information on what’s going on at St. John’s church and school, events, educational and youth group updates. You will also find informational brochures and magazines, usher and greeter schedules, the church newsletter, children’s coloring sheets and crayons and other miscellaneous information related to our church and school. Please help yourself!

CHRISTIAN ONE-LINERS (from a WELS pastor): “If a church wants a better pastor, it only needs to pray for the one it has.”

ACH What is ACH? Automated Clearing House is an electronic payments network use by individuals, businesses, financial institutions and government organizations. The network functions as an efficient, electronic alternative to paper checks. It allows funds to be electronically debited or credited to a checking account, savings account, financial institution general ledger account or credited to a loan account. Please pick your form up in the Information Room or the office and get started today! 

2ND ANNUAL ST JOHN’S LUTHERAN CHURCH-PRINCETON SOCCER CAMP July 15-17 – “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14). Soccer is a difficult game that requires perseverance. But it is hard to persevere without a clear goal in mind. In the same way, life is very difficult and requires perseverance. But it is hard to persevere without a clear goal in mind. The Bible says that only goal worth striving for is to know Jesus and be called heavenward in his name.  Your children are invited to a three-day camp where they will learn how to persevere on and off the soccer field. Drills, exercises, and scrimmages will help them set goals for soccer. Breaks for devotions, music and other activities will help them set goals for life as they grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ their Savior.  Soccer camp begins with a meal each evening at 5 and each camp participant will receive a T-shirt and soccer socks. And it’s all FREE! Boys and girls, ages 3 through 12 are welcome! This year we are asking your child to bring their own water bottle with them to the camp each evening. Register by calling 920-295-4400 Monday-Thursday from 8:00am to 1:00pm

PASTOR WILLIAM RUNKE RETIREMENT Dear Friends in Christ-We would like to invite you to join the members of St. John’s Pardeeville for a celebration of Pastor William Runke’s ministry, and to recognize his retirement on Sunday, July 28, 2019. Pastor’s final sermon will be at the 9am service on July 28th, followed by a short program and luncheon. To help the Ladies Aid in planning the meal, please let us know how many people you expect to attend. RSVP by emailing your intent to attend/desire to participate in the program to: office@stjohnspardeeville.org or call the office 608-429-3636. Thanks! –St. John’s Pardeeville

Attendance Emmanuel St. John’s
6-30                                  7-3 55                                      118                                     
St. John’s Altar Committee July  2019 Elaine Kelm & Carolyn Rosenthal

SUMMER OFFICE HOURS

Monday: 8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.

 Tuesday: 8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.

Wednesday: 8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.

Thursday: 8:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.

●●● Welcome To Our Visitors! Please Sign Our Guest Register Find & Like us on Facebook Visit our website link:  www.stjohnsmontello.org Pastor Peter Zietlow: (608) 408-7830 E-mail: zietlowPL6@hotmail.com Little Lambs Director & Teacher Mrs. Lynn Sellnow: K, 1st & 2nd Grade Teacher Ms. Shelley Myers: 3rd-5th Grade Teacher Ms. Rachel Naumann: (847) 913-2135 Principal & 6th – 8th Grade Teacher Mr. Larry Sellnow: Church & School Secretary Ciara Neuhauser: (608) 297-2866 Altar Ladies: Elaine Kelm: (920) 344-0025 & Carolyn Rosenthal: 589-5036 Church & School Address/Mail: 313 E Montello St, Montello, WI 53949  Church & School E-mail: scsecretary@stjohnsmontello.org ●●●
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The Right Path – July 7, 2019

“So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. . . . I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Galatians 2:16,20,21

The Right Path


Daily Devotion – July 7, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 2:16,20,21

See series: Devotions

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is told that to get to the Emerald City she must follow the Yellow Brick Road. It’s the only path to the great and powerful Oz. There were obstacles: a wicked witch, flying monkeys, scary woods, fields of poppies. But to leave that path meant never reaching Oz, and never getting home.

We’re faced with a similar situation. God’s Word shows us the only path to heaven: Jesus Christ. It’s the good news that we’re forgiven, crucified with Christ, new men and women because Jesus lived and died in our place. There’s no “good work” that we can do to cause this all to happen or make ourselves right with God. The path to heaven, though, is littered with obstacles: false teachers and teachings; our own sinful natures that lead us to try things that we hope will get us right with God; human reason telling us that there must be something we can do, to name a few. But we must stay on the true path.

Have you been straying from the path? Have you fallen asleep in the poppy fields of your own good works? Paul says if you have, then Jesus’ death means nothing! Adding works to God’s plan rejects God’s love and empties the cross of power. But there is hope in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, who was crucified for you!

Because of Christ, we can stop asking, “What must I do?” By faith, we ask God to see Christ instead of ourselves. This is reality: we have died to sin and the law, with Christ. Here is the center of our life—our constant comfort, joy, and hope—Jesus Christ. Him for me!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me recognize the immense gift of grace that you have dropped in my lap, through faith—eternal life, freely bought and paid for by your blood, for me! 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Train Ride – June 6, 2019

The gospel . . . is not of human origin.
Galatians 1:11

Train Ride


Daily Devotion – June 6, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 1:11

See series: Devotions

In September of 1876, a Civil War veteran by the name of Lew Wallace was on a train headed for Indianapolis, Indiana. He was going there to attend a soldiers’ reunion, to catch up with old comrades. On the train, Lew got into an extended discussion with a man who happened to be a prominent atheist in America.

The conversation left a deep impression on Lew. Through the years he had never taken much interest in religious matters. But now, this atheist—Robert Ingersoll—had argued against Jesus and Christianity with such fervor that Lew felt compelled to study the story of Jesus on his own.

As he researched and read, a remarkable thing happened. As the story of Jesus spoke to Lew, he came to realize this was not a story at all. Rather than some made-up tale, this was an actual account of real events. Even more so, Lew came to see how this account demonstrated that Jesus was, in truth, the very Son of God. Most importantly, through the printed word in his Bible, Lew came to faith in Jesus as his Savior from sin.

In addition, Lew’s study led to something else. He decided to write a novel set in Judea during the first century A.D. The novel is about a bitter and angry man who encounters someone the likes of whom he has never met before. He entitled his novel, Ben-Hur. The book exploded into a best-seller. Well into the twentieth century, it became the basis for the Oscar-winning film by the same name. Without reservation both the book and film declare that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Savior of the world.

All this from a train ride.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, drive me to the pages of your Word. Refresh me in the reality of who you are. Empower me by your Spirit to proclaim that you are the Son of God, the Savior of all. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Win Win Situation – July 5, 2019

[David said] “To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: ‘What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help.’”
Psalm 30:8-10

A Win Win Situation


Daily Devotion – July 5, 2019

Devotion based on Psalm 30:8-10

See series: Devotions

Death can make us feel like the ultimate losers. As David puts it, “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit?” It seems as if going into the grave is the ultimate loss.

And for those who do not know Jesus as their Savior, that’s true. When they die, they are separated from God and all of his blessings forever. That’s the ultimate, eternal loss.

But when believers in Jesus die, they go to heaven! That’s the ultimate victory! So, for the believer, what looks to be “loss” becomes the ultimate “win.”

Does this mean that this life is unimportant? Not at all! In Psalm 30, David asks, “Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?” Well, to the human eye, no: dead people don’t praise God here, dead people don’t proclaim God’s faithfulness here. People who are alive do that. And that makes this life oh-so-valuable.

And so, for the believer in Jesus, it’s always a win-win. If I die, I go to heaven. That’s the ultimate victory. But if God chooses to extend my life here, that’s winning too, because I get the chance to know him better, and the chance to tell others about him.

It’s a win-win!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, remind me that you’ve blessed me with a win-win situation. Lead me to take advantage of my time on this side of eternity to bring blessings to others! Then take me home to heaven, giving me the ultimate victory. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Where is God – July 4, 2019

They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.”
Luke 7:16

Where is God


Daily Devotion – July 4, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 7:16

See series: Devotions

“Where is God?” I wonder if the mother may have asked this question, or something similar, when her child died. Obviously, we don’t know, but it’s the type of question we humans ask. “Does God really care for me?” “If God is really love, why does he allow bad things to happen?” Maybe we don’t ask it out loud, but perhaps those sorts of ideas hover on the periphery of our thoughts.

So, where is God? This text reminds us that God came to this earth. Yes, he really, physically, actually came to this earth. Because he did so, he really understands our challenges, our joys, our struggles, our hopes and dreams. And why did he come? God came to help his people. God came to help you!

And so, be filled with awe. God cared so much about you that he came to this earth. He was willing to eat our food, breathe our air, joy our joys, sorrow our sorrows, and die our death—all to give us the spiritual, eternal help we needed. God has come to help his people! God has come to help you!

Prayer:
Remind me, O God, that you came to help me, and that you continue to help me. In Jesus’ name. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Crazy Talk – July 3, 2019

Then [Jesus] went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
Luke 7:14,15

Crazy Talk


Daily Devotion – July 3, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 7:14,15

See series: Devotions

“Young man I say to you, get up.” What do you suppose went through people’s heads when Jesus said this? I wonder if it went something like this: “What? He’s talking to a dead man! And he’s telling him to get up? What kind of nonsense is this?” Might there even have been some anger? After all, wouldn’t this have sounded borderline cruel for the grieving mother?

Now, what do you suppose went through people’s heads when the young man sat up and began to talk. Oh my! Imagine how their thinking must have changed when they realized Jesus had the power to make this happen! This wasn’t crazy talk; this was power talk!

Our God has a habit of saying things which, to our sinful reason, sound “crazy.” He says, “Take and eat, this is my body . . . take and drink, this is my blood.” It sounds crazy—but it’s true because God has the power to make it happen. To think that in baptism God miraculously works faith in the heart, even in the heart of an infant, sounds crazy. But it happens, because God has the power to make it happen. The idea that God can really make ALL things work together for good sounds crazy. But God has the power to make it happen.

So thank God! Even when what God says sounds “crazy” to our sinful ears, God has the power to make it happen!

Prayer:
God, lead me to listen to and trust your powerful, empowering words. 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Do Not Cry – July 2, 2019

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
Luke 7:11-13

Do Not Cry


Daily Devotion – July 2, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 7:11-13

See series: Devotions

Don’t cry! Are you kidding me? The young man was dead. He was his mother’s only son. She was a widow. This was heartbreaking.

To more fully appreciate the sadness of this event, in Jesus’ day there was no social safety net. In general, widows were taken care of by their children. We don’t know if there were daughters, but the feel of the text seems to be that this was an only child. And Jesus says, “Don’t cry.” Wow! It almost seems harsh, doesn’t it?

Is it okay for us to cry, particularly in regard to the death of a loved one? Sure, it is. Even Jesus wept at the grave of his good friend, Lazarus. Death is—and will always remain—the wages of sin. Death forces us to see the reality of sin oh-so-clearly, including the reality of our own sin, and how much we deserve God’s judgment. Yes, that can lead us to cry.

And yet Jesus’ words can apply to us, too. Yes, Jesus can say to us, “don’t cry.” Why? Because he cares for us. Because ultimately life is in his hands. And, most importantly, because he has the ultimate answer to death—his resurrection and the promise of the resurrection of those who follow him.

So, yes, cry when death separates you from a loved one. But then hear Jesus say with a gentle, caring smile, “Don’t cry, my dear child, don’t cry.”

Prayer:
O Savior, dry my tears! 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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