Follow Jesus as Your Priority – July 22, 2019

[Jesus] said to another man, “Follow me.”
Luke 9:59

Follow Jesus as Your Priority


Daily Devotion – July 22, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:59

See series: Devotions

When I was in high school, a friend of mine was driving a number of his classmates along a country road to a school-sponsored event. At one point, he reached over to the radio to change the station. As he reached over, he accidentally turned the steering wheel so quickly and sharply that the car swerved off the road, rolled over three times, and landed upside down in the bottom of a ditch. Remarkably, everyone was okay. My friend didn’t break any laws by trying to change the radio station. It’s a good thing to listen to the radio—except when it gets in the way of safe driving.

There are plenty of good things on which we might focus our attention—our families and friends, our jobs, our hobbies. God brings abundant joy into our lives through a wide variety of means, and it’s good to focus on them—except when we give more attention to them than we do to Jesus.

When Jesus calls individuals to “Follow me,” he isn’t suggesting that he is one of many good things in this world to which we might pay attention. He is expecting to be our highest priority. Why?

Because only Jesus keeps us safe for eternity.

Because our family, friends, jobs, and hobbies are all gifts from him.

Because, when we realize how inattentive we have been to his Word and will, Jesus always treats us with grace.

Because, when we look at the cross of Jesus, we see that his greatest priority will always be to love us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for making my eternal salvation your greatest priority. Out of gratitude for all you’ve done for me, help me to keep you as the highest priority 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

No More Slavery – July 21, 2019

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

No More Slavery


Daily Devotion – July 21, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 5:1

See series: Devotions

Robert Downey, Jr. is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood. He’s the star of the blockbuster Iron Man movies. He received an Academy Award nomination for his film portrayal of Charlie Chaplin. He has a reputation for a strong work ethic and for being a loyal friend.

He also knows something about slavery and freedom.

For years, Downey was a slave to drug abuse. There was a cycle to his slavery. When things got out of control, he would check himself into rehab. For a time he would be clean and sober. But then he would return to the chains of his addiction. He started getting fired by directors and producers. But the cycle of slavery remained. He started getting into trouble with the law. But the cycle of slavery remained. Then he spent 12 months in a state prison. But the cycle of slavery remained.

Then it happened. He says he was at a restaurant and it finally dawned on him that, this time, he didn’t want to go back to all the awful things that his addiction had brought him. He went out to his car and threw all his drugs into the ocean. From that time forward, Robert Downey, Jr. has remained free.

Is there a cycle of slavery in your life? Is there an old pet sin that just keeps pulling you back? Perhaps it’s weekend benders. Perhaps it’s a gossiping tongue. Perhaps it’s your viewing habits on cable or online. Perhaps it’s your tendency to drift away from God’s house.

Whatever it is, don’t look for the answer inside yourself. Instead, look to the One who died and rose to set you free. Taste the sweetness of freedom and forgiveness you have in Jesus Christ. Remember the peace and security you possess in him. Turn your back on the old chains of sin. Your Savior has come. He has thrown them into the sea.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, by your forgiveness, fill me with your Spirit. Move me to see the freedom I have in you. Empower me to turn my back on my ancient chains. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Unity in Diversity – July 20, 2019

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

Unity in Diversity


Daily Devotion – July 20, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 3:26-29

See series: Devotions

Most schools have a certain dress code, and some even require children to wear school uniforms. The purpose of this is to create an atmosphere of equality and to keep children from competing with one another to see who can dress the most stylishly and expensively. While dress codes and school uniforms might be a good thing, it is impossible to remove everything that makes us different. Some people are tall; others are short. Some are better in school, and others are better in sports. Some are wealthy; others are poor. Some are powerful and influential, and many are everyday working-class citizens. These differences can create tension and even animosity in our lives. The poor envy the rich. The powerful often take advantage of those with less power, and those with less power sometimes complain and grumble against their leaders.

Thankfully, when it comes to our status before God, all of these differences are dissolved in Christ. In fact, our baptisms are kind of like our spiritual uniform. Just think about that for a moment. Since all of us were born into this world with a sinful nature and hostile to God, we were all the same before baptism. We all desperately needed baptism to wash us clean of our sins. Through the water of baptism connected with the Word of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we were clothed with Christ.

Because of baptism we all wear the same clothes, the clothes of our righteous Savior, Jesus Christ. This is our uniform, but even more than that, this guarantees our relationship with God. We are his children. While there might be many things that make us different, we are all the same through faith in Christ. We are all God’s dear children. All diversity is removed in this perfect unity.

Prayer:
Dear God, help me to remember my baptism every day of my life and to rejoice in the fact that because of your dear promises to me, I am your own dear child. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Cross Carrying Christians – July 19, 2019

[Jesus said] “Whoever wants to be my disciple must . . . take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Luke 9:23,24

Cross Carrying Christians


Daily Devotion – July 19, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:23,24

See series: Devotions

Is it all worth it? Is the triumph to come worth all of the trouble we face now? Is the crown of life in store for us worth the crosses that we will have to bear for confessing Christ?

Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciples must . . . take up their cross daily and follow me.”
The cross Christ calls us to bear includes everything we endure because of our faithfulness to Christ and his Word.

It is the opportunities we miss out on in this world because we put God first in our lives.

It is the way our conscience won’t leave us alone until we find peace in our Savior’s blood shed on the cross.

It is the rejection and the ridicule we face for believing and confessing that God’s Word is changeless truth in a world that is constantly reshaping truth to fit its own desires.

It is the broken relationships and the divided families that result when those we love deny some or all of the truth of God’s Word.

It is heartache for a world and, no doubt, for people we know, who increasingly deny God’s truth.

Carrying such crosses is not an option. It is not avoidable. And we can’t do it alone. The strength to bear our crosses comes only from Christ, who carried his cross up Calvary to die for us and for every sinner.

The weight of his cross was more than we could ever imagine. It was the weight of the guilt of the whole world’s sins. But he bore that weight willingly. He lifted its burden off of you and me and was crushed under its heavy load. Because he carried that cross, we are free from guilt and free to live forever with him who rose from the dead after he atoned for each and every one of our sins.

Whenever we confess Christ as Savior, the cross comes along with it. The cross of Christ, through which he overcame sin and death for us. And the cross we bear with the strength he provides, as we follow him through this life to eternal life.

Prayer:
Savior, who bore the cross for me, help me bear my crosses as I follow 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Self Denial – July 18, 2019

[Jesus said] “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves . . . For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”
Luke 9:23,24

Self Denial


Daily Devotion – July 18, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 9:23,24

See series: Devotions

Are you someone who has tried self-denial?

Maybe it was for the sake of losing weight or athletic endeavors—you denied yourself certain foods or extra sleep, or leisure time to exercise or train.

Maybe it was for the sake of loved ones—you didn’t do or eat certain things because you knew it would leave out someone else who couldn’t do those things.

Maybe it was for spiritual or discipline reasons. Fasting has long been used as an act of repentance or to sharpen mental and spiritual focus.

But the kind of self-denial Jesus expects of his disciples is a little different. To deny myself is to do the exact opposite of what my sinful nature wants to do. My sinful nature wants me to put myself first and serve myself and do only what’s best for me. Denying myself means never putting myself first.

But, my sinful nature objects, if you don’t put yourself first, who will watch out for you? If you deny yourself, who will take care of you? You have to put yourself first, at least some of the time.

But Jesus invites us to trust him. He says, “I denied myself to come and be your Savior. I put my Father’s will first as I served you in my life and my death so that the greatest thing you need is already yours. You are a child of God and an heir of eternal life!”

“And if I’ve given you that, you can be sure I will care for you in every other need you have. Because I love you perfectly, you can trust me enough to put God first in your life and to love others more than yourself.”

Self-denial is never easy. It is a constant struggle. It is a daily battle. Praise God that his Son was willing to deny himself for us. And turn to him daily for forgiveness and strength to deny ourselves as we serve him every day.

Prayer:
Prayer:
Dear Jesus, my self-sacrificing Savior, forgive my selfishness and give me strength to deny myself for you every 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Disgraced for Christ – July 17, 2019

By faith Moses . . . regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.
Hebrews 11:24,26

Disgraced for Christ


Daily Devotion – July 17, 2019

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24,26

See series: Devotions

We live in a world that is increasingly anti-Christian. The truths that God speaks in his Word seem to face greater hostility every day.

Christian college students are ridiculed by peers and professors. They are mocked for believing that the world was created by God in six 24-hour days. They are marginalized for believing that the Bible is a reliable source for any truth at all.

Christians are labeled as out-of-touch and unloving for believing and promoting God’s design for marriage, family, and home.

Christian children and their parents face pressure to fill their lives with activities that leave no time for God’s Word.

For the sake of Christ, Christians are ridiculed, disgraced, and marginalized. In some places, they are forced to give up their jobs, their freedom, and even their lives for the sake of confessing the Christ of the Bible.

When Moses faced disgrace for the sake of Christ, he regarded that disgrace “as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.” It sounds strange, doesn’t it? Who considers disgrace to be something valuable?

But think about this. Christ himself left behind heaven to be mistreated on earth. He gave up the pleasures of life in paradise to endure disgrace and death in our sinful world.

Christ endured that disgrace for our sake and in our place. Christ died for our tendency to turn our backs on him and his truth in order to avoid the disgrace of the world. Then Christ was raised to life to give us the hope and certainty that life waits for us after death too—a life of peace and pleasure, harmony and happiness, treasure and triumph.

Christ did all of that because he knew what life was like without sin and sorrow, disease and death. And he wanted us to have that. He wanted to deliver us from our slavery to disobedience to enjoy the freedom of life with him forever.

Because Christ suffered disgrace for us, we gladly and willingly endure disgrace for his sake, knowing the perfect love we see in his suffering and the freedom we have through him for this life and for eternity.

Prayer:
Thank you for enduring disgrace for me. Lead me to willingly endure disgrace for your sake. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Faith Looks Ahead – July 16, 2019

By faith Moses . . . regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Hebrews 11:24,26

Faith Looks Ahead


Daily Devotion – July 16, 2019

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24,26

See series: Devotions

Athletes endure grueling training regimens and endless hours of practice, hoping to make the team, get the scholarship, or perform at the highest level. Students work hard and spend tens of thousands of dollars to earn a degree, hoping for a rewarding career in a certain field. Parents give up so much to raise their children, hoping to help them live a healthy and productive life. We are willing to pay a great price if we think the end result is worth it.

Moses chose to live as a child of God. His choice came with a cost. It meant giving up the easy life in Egypt’s royal palace. It meant being mistreated as a slave with his fellow Israelites. It meant enduring disgrace and hardship—perhaps for the rest of his life.

But Moses “regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Moses knew the promises of God. He knew that God promised a way out of this world of sorrow and shame. God promised an eternal reward in heaven, free from pain and problems. God promised that he would give up his own life to give us eternal life with him.

Clinging to the promises of God, Moses set his sights on the far greater blessings to come. That’s what faith does. Faith looks forward. Faith in God’s promises sees what lies in the future and lives to lay hold of those priceless blessings.

Faith comes at a cost. It requires giving up whatever threatens our faith and God’s blessings. That may mean we have less money, fewer friends, and a harder life. It may mean ridicule and persecution because we follow Jesus, but what a small price to pay for the priceless rewards that Jesus has won for us.

Faith looks ahead and lives each day, focused on the eternal rewards that Jesus bought for us with his life. Faith looks ahead and lives each day, willing to give up whatever it takes to lay hold of those priceless treasures.

Prayer:
God, give me faith to live my life, looking ahead to your eternal blessings. 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Remember Who You Are – July 15, 2019

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
Hebrews 11:24,25

Remember Who You Are


Daily Devotion – July 15, 2019

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:24,25

See series: Devotions

Moses could have been very confused about who he was. He was born in Egypt, but his parents were Israelites. At the time, the Egyptians had made the Israelites their slaves. They forced them into hard physical labor to tear them down and demoralize them.

But, through a remarkable turn of events recorded in Exodus 1–2, Moses was spared that. Instead of living as a slave, he was raised in the royal palace by the daughter of the Egyptian king. He received a royal education and the finest of everything.

Who was Moses? Was he an Israelite? Was he an Egyptian? You could say he was both. You could also say that, in being both, he was neither one.

Do you ever have that feeling? You don’t really know who you are. You don’t feel like you fit in anywhere. You feel disconnected, lost, alone, confused.

As Moses looked at his life, he didn’t find his identity in his place in the palace of Egypt. He didn’t find it in his citizenship in the nation of Israel. Our text says, “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God.”

Moses knew that he was a child of God. He was part of God’s family, a citizen of God’s kingdom. By faith, he knew he was loved by God. He knew God could deliver him from physical slavery in Egypt. But more importantly, he knew God had promised to deliver him from slavery to sin and death. And that identity was more important to him than anything.

If you come to confess Jesus as your Savior, then you too are a child of God. If you have been baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then God has placed his name on you, marking you as his own.

So, whether you are feeling connected or confused, accepted or all alone, remember who you are as a forgiven, loved child of God and a citizen of heaven. Cling to that identity. Treasure it. Celebrate it. Live it.

Prayer:
Loving God, lead me to find my true identity in you each 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

Perfect Love – July 14, 2019

“I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’”
Zechariah 13:9

Perfect Love


Daily Devotion – July 14, 2019

Devotion based on Zechariah 13:9

See series: Devotions

I have good news for you: you are in the midst of a very possessive relationship. Usually, that would sound like a bad thing. Many in this world try to “possess” the attention and affection of others—that is, to control and manipulate others for their own selfish purposes. But the possessive relationship that you are in and that I am referring to is a very good thing—it is your relationship with God.

Listen to his words from Zechariah 13:9, “I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” God is proud to possess you—to call you part of his people. Why? Because his Son, Jesus removed all of your sin and guilt by his death on the cross. You are washed clean and welcomed into God’s family. God is proud to call you his own.

And what is God’s motive in possessing you? Not to burden you with control, but to bless you with compassion. Not to restrict you with fury, but to release you from fear. Not to suffocate you with limits, but to strengthen you in every season of life. Not to use you for selfish gain, but to selflessly give you all things.

You belong to him. He belongs to you. Praise him and be at peace, for you are possessed by his perfect love!

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for possessing me and looking after my every concern! Through faith in you my worries melt away and I am showered with your blessings. The greatest blessing you have given me is your Son who died for me and took away my sins. Help me to always live as your possession! 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us:

The Trip – July 13, 2019

I do not set aside the grace of God.
Galatians 2:21

The Trip


Daily Devotion – July 13, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 2:21

See series: Devotions

Not long ago, a Christian author by the name of Timothy Jones and his wife, Rayann, decided to take their family to Disney World. The trip would include their newly-adopted, 8-year-old daughter. The trip would also become a picture of God’s grace.

Before her adoption into the Jones family, the 8-year-old girl had come to believe that anyone’s love for her depended entirely upon her own, personal behavior. In her mind, if she didn’t behave well enough, no one would love her. Eight years of this had driven her into a quiet despair when it came to the idea of fitting into a family.

And so, when her new mom and dad announced that the family would be going to Disney World, the 8-year-old reacted in a disturbing way. She began to misbehave. Each time, however, her new mom and dad would exercise patient discipline. They would see to it that each episode was resolved, and they would assure their daughter that they loved her. Then they would move on.

Not long before the family was to leave on their trip, the daughter misbehaved yet again. As her new dad placed her on his lap to talk to her, she said, “I know what you’re going to do. You’re not going to take me to Disney World, are you?”

Her new father’s response was a pivot point. He asked her, “Is this trip something we’re doing as a family?” She nodded yes. “Are you part of this family?” Again, she nodded yes. “Then you’re going with us,” he said.

Fast forward to the end of their first day at Disney World. A different little girl has emerged. Her episodes of rebellion have faded. At bedtime, she unburdens herself with words few in number but packed with meaning. “Daddy,” she says, “I finally got to go to Disney World. But it wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.”

It wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.

Through faith in Jesus as our Savior, that is the security you and I possess in God’s forgiveness. We are not forgiven because we are good; we are forgiven because we are his.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, my whole relationship with you rests entirely upon your grace for me through faith in your Son. I am yours. You are mine. Thank 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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Powered by WPeMatico

Please follow and like us: