The Disease of Pride – December 10, 2019

[P]raise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Daniel 4:37

The Disease of Pride


Daily Devotion – December 10, 2019

Devotion based on Daniel 4:37

See series: Devotions

The great British writer, G.K. Chesterton, lived his life in the early years of the 20th Century. He was a happy bear of a man. He always had an easy smile, a ready laugh, and an exuberant personality. As a Christian, however, there was one subject he never failed to take seriously. If there was a single sermon he could preach, he once wrote, it would be against the sin of pride.

When a fiery prohibitionist demanded that Chesterton take “The Pledge” to abstain from alcoholic beverages, Chesterton had a ready answer. He would swear off drinking, he said, when the temperance reformer swore off the sins of pride. Then he ended with this. “The wickedest work in this world is symbolized not by a wine glass but by a looking-glass.”

Chesterton was not alone. Shakespeare said, “He that is proud eats up himself.” CS Lewis said, “Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” And Martin Luther wryly observed that pride “is truly a disease that mocks all doctors…[for it] is a diabolical temptation in the spirit which is not [even] felt.” Luther was right. The disease of pride is so pervasive in us that we often don’t even know it’s there.

This is where the Lord steps in. In love, he does what is necessary in our lives to highlight the disease. He helps us to see it because he knows that as long as we are proud, we cannot see our need for Jesus. And without Jesus, we are lost.

May God do whatever is necessary to reveal and destroy the pride in our hearts so that we look less and less at ourselves and more and more at Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord, destroy the disease of pride in my heart so that I see you more clearly. 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 Stump – December 9, 2019

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
Isaiah 11:1

The Stump


Daily Devotion – December 9, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 11:1

See series: Devotions

There was once a mighty tree, strong and wide and beautiful and tall. It was the kind of tree that looked as if it could withstand any trouble, any wind, or any storm.

But then something went wrong. The mighty tree grew weak. The leaves withered. Bugs infested the bark. Finally, one day, that once-mighty tree fell. Someone hauled the wood away. And there, where that giant tree had once stood, all that was left was a stump.

This is the image God used to explain what had happened to his Old Testament people, Israel. He had chosen them to be his own special people. He had blessed them. He had made them into a mighty nation. But they failed to appreciate all he had done. They went their own way rather than his way. Even their kings who ought to have led them toward God, led them instead away from God. So, God allowed Israel’s enemies to overtake them. What had once been a strong, proud people was now nothing more than a stump.

But, in the midst of this misery God gave his people a promise. Out of the stump of Israel, a strong shoot would arise. The shoot’s name was Jesus Christ.

Isaiah’s prophecy promised that the shoot named Jesus would bear fruit. And what remarkable fruit he bears! He gives spiritual life to sinfully dead people like us by forgiving our sins and reuniting us to our heavenly Father.

This time of year, as you prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, marvel that your good God kept the promise he made through the prophet Isaiah. Be thankful that he did not give up on his people and leave them a worthless stump. Take comfort in knowing that he used them to send the world a Savior—your Savior.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for keeping your promise to send the world a Savior. Comfort me this day knowing that he is my Savior. 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 12/08/2019

The 2nd Sunday in Advent

December 8, 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    

  Pastor Rick Zahn  
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.  

 

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 Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near! The forerunner prepares for the coming Christ by preaching repentance that brings renewal of life. The Root of Jesse will come in swift judgment on the unrepentant but in mercy and grace for God’s people. His coming will end the wickedness of the world and usher in a new age restored to the perfection with which God made it. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, fixes our attention on the need for true preparation for the Lord’s coming. Such preparation means repenting—recognizing how our sins have offended God and trusting him for the forgiveness he gives us in Christ. Jesus, the only Savior, brings peace to a troubled heart.  

 

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.

CHOIR SINGS                                                                              Lead Us To Your Light

LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES                                 

Two Advent candles are lit.

OPENING HYMN 702                                                    Prepare the Royal Highway

See below.

Please stand

CONFESSION & ABSOLUTION                                                           hymnal page 26

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 27

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.

O LORD, OUR LORD                                                                                                                 hymnal page 28

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: Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way for your only Son. By his coming give us strength in our conflicts and shed light on our path through the darkness of this world; through your Son, 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.

FIRST LESSON                                                                                    Isaiah 11:1-10 (today’s sermon text)

Summary: The blessings of righteousness and peace

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD– and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.  He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.  Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.  The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.  The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.  In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.

PSALM 130                                                                                                                                      hymnal page 114

Sung in unison.

SECOND LESSON                                                                                                                Romans 15:4-13

Summary: The blessings of hope, joy, and peace

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.  For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written:

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.”

{2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49}

Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” {Deut. 32:43}

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.” {Psalm 117:1}

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” {Isaiah 11:10}

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

VERSE OF THE DAY                                                                                                       Luke 3: 4, 6

Alleluia. Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. All mankind will see God’s salvation. Alleluia.

C: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! These words are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!                            

Please stand

GOSPEL LESSON                                                                                                                          Matthew 3:1-12

Summary: The blessings of repentance

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'”

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

C: Praise be to you, O Christ!                            

Please be seated

HYMN OF THE DAY 16                                             On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry

SERMON                                                                                                     Isaiah 11: 1-1

“Behold, a Branch Is Growing” 

 1. Equipped with righteousness     2. To bless us with peace

Please stand

NICENE CREED                                                                                        hymnal page 31

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

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, Advent Prayer and Intercessory Prayers are spoken by pastor. Please see announcements for those on our Intercessory Prayers list.

LORD’S PRAYER                                                                                                                            hymnal page32

XS E R V I C E    O F    T H E    S A C R A M E N T X

In this service we celebrate the gift of Jesus’ redeeming love, we bear witness to the Christian fellowship we share, and we proclaim his death until he returns.

Please be seated for the distribution

At St. John’s and Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Church we practice closed Communion. If you are a guest at worship today and interested in receiving the Lord’s Supper, please speak with the pastor prior to the service.

DISTRIBUTION HYMNS 27                                             O Jesus, Lamb of God, You Are

                                                          47: 1-3                                           Behold, a Branch Is Growing

Please stand

THANK THE LORD, CLOSING PRAYER & BLESSING                       hymnal page 36, 37

Please be seated

CLOSING HYMN 47: 4-5                                                                            Behold, a Branch Is Growing

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

Announcements

Activities for the week of December 8 – December 14

Sun. 8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship
  8:30 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School
  9:00 A.M. St. John’s Adult Bible Study
  10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship with communion
  4:30 P.M. Advent by Candlelight at Emmanuel
Mon. 6:00 P.M. Hands In Prayer meeting at St. John’s
  6:30 P.M. Choir at St. John’s 
  7:30 P.M. Adult Bible Study at St. John’s
Tues. 8:30 A.M. Elders meeting at St. John’s 
Wed. 8:00 A.M. St. John’s School Chapel
  10:00 A.M. Adult Bible Study at St. John’s
  1:40 P.M. St. John’s School/Little Lambs early release
  2:15 P.M. Public School Teen Confirmation at St. John’s
  3:30 P.M. Emmanuel Advent Devotion
  6:30 P.M. St. John’s Advent Devotion
  7:30 P.M. Bible Information Class at St. John’s
Thurs. 8:00 A.M. St. John’s School Teen Confirmation
  10:00 A.M. Montello Care Center Devotion
  6:00 P.M. School Board meeting at St. John’s
  6:00 P.M. Griefshare at St. John’s lower level (final session)
Fri.    
Sat. 9:00 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School Christmas Service practice  
Theme for Next Sunday December 15 , 2019 Advent 3: “The Lord’s Coming Is Near”
8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship
8:30 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School
9:00 A.M. St. John’s Adult Bible Study
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship

INTERCESSORY PRAYERS – For those hospitalized, ill, shut-in and facing trials: Wyatt Beahm (William and Alyssa Beahm’s infant son), Liola Crown & son Terry, Agnes Dassow, Don Ebert, Reinold Eckelberg, Harold Fandrey, Lilah Farrell, Xzander Jahr, Melvin Johnson (Beth’s son), Oliver Knoch (Kenon & Mary Smith’s grandson), Chris Krause (Gordy and Linda’s son), Robert Lederer (Jackie and Jeanne Buchholz’ father), Delvin Mittelsteadt, Mark and Peggy Russell (Elsa’s son and daughter in-law), Kathryn Sigrist (Pastor Gary & Orlene Johnson’s daughter), Doris Smith, Jennifer Strauss – (added this week: )

– For Natasha Rebecca Jahr, the daughter of Andrew and Rebecca Jahr, who was baptized yesterday (12/7) at St. John’s

– For our communicants at St. John’s

ADVENT HAS BEGUN! It’s the season that anticipates the coming of the Savior. We prepare for this coming in many ways.  But one way is by decorating and beautifying our homes and churches. We use a circle of artificial greens around our Advent candles in the front of the church, with each candle lit in order on Sundays in Advent, and each candle symbolizing an important event on the way to the Savior’s birth—the last candle is the Christ Candle. But another way is to hang Christmas wreaths on the church doors as a sign of welcome. Once again—anyone interested in donating toward the purchase of wreaths for the front doors at St. John’s is encouraged to contact LuAnn Zieman at 608-297-2422 or email zieman@bugnet.net or by mail at W1440 State Rd 23, Montello, WI 53949.

ADVENT BY CANDLELIGHT WOMEN’S PROGRAM hosted by Emmanuel and supported by a Thrivent Action Team Project will be held today, Sunday Dec. 8 at 4:30pm at Emmanuel Parish Hall. We are looking forward to hosting all who have signed up for this special evening. If you have any questions, call Sue Stelter (608)297-2761.

EMMANUEL CHRISTMAS SERVICE Monday, Dec. 23 at 6:30pm. All are invited after the service for refreshments and fellowship in the Parish Hall. If you have an extra plate of cookies, please bring them to share.

CHOIR Are any members of Emmanuel and St. John’s interested in being part of the choir for the Christmas Eve Services?  If so, practices will be on Monday evenings in Dec., 6:30pm at St. John’s. Any questions, please call Lynn Sellnow 616-826-0816.

MEMBERS OF ST. JOHNS AND SCHOOL FAMILIES This past summer the St. Johns council authorized the borrowing of $10,000 from the church’s line of credit to replace and refurbish the school boilers. As some may be aware, there have been a number of issues from the last couple years keeping the boilers running and the school heated and it could no longer be repaired. This project was completed late last fall. This also means that the church officially is borrowing money from its line of credit. If you wish to donate to help paying off the loan, please go ahead and do so. Any amount would be greatly appreciated. Look to the information room for where this project is at with regards to being paid off and where the other projects on the board are at with funding.

CHRISTIAN ONE-LINERS (from a WELS pastor): “The best mathematical equation I have ever seen: 1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given.”

UPDATE on CARDS FOR PRISON MINISTRY Thanks to all who picked up packs of cards to write for the prison ministry.  All the cards are out.  Please return completed cards by Thanksgiving Day, November 28, to the collection box in the linkway or to the church office.

SUNDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY A “Sneak Peek at the Gospel” for the day is the topic of the Sunday morning Bible study every week. It’s from 9:00-9:45am – come anytime. We meet in the church. All are welcomed. All are encouraged to attend.

ACH What is ACH? Automated Clearing House. Interested in having your church offering automatically deposited? Stop by the office or Information Room and fill out your application today.

MEDITATIONS & FORWARD IN CHRIST New “Meditations” and “Forward in Christ” WELS daily devotional booklets and WELS monthly devotional magazine are available in the church entry (many thanks to our generous members for donating!)

WELS NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON LUTHERAN LEADERSHIP WELS Congregational Services will host the first WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership at the Sheraton Grand in Chicago, Ill., Jan. 21-23. The conference will have five keynote presentations that deal with major cultural challenges before every WELS congregation. Twenty-five breakout sessions will deal with issues specific to certain congregations, including overcoming a consumer mentality in church, Christian apologetics, increasing volunteerism, retaining and gaining young members, fully utilizing the gifts of women in ministry, equipping members for personal evangelism, having a “high-expectations” church, strategic planning, using social media for outreach, operating a financially sustainable elementary school, and more. Learn more at register at lutheranleadership.com.

CHRISTIAN ONE-LINERS (from a WELS pastor): “We don’t change the message, the

message changes us.”

Attendance Emmanuel St. John’s
12-1                            12-4 65                                44 110                                       36
St. John’s Altar Committee December  2019 Diane Eisermann & Delores Cotte 
Emm/Usher Schedule
Emmanuel & St. John’s Holiday Worship 2019

December 8      

   Emm                          Don Stelter, Noah Buchholz, Joe Heller

   SJ (comm)                  James Wachholz; Chief, Kenny Wojtalewicz, Zeb Zuehls,

Mark Emond, Ben Emond

December 11 Advent

   Emm                        Wayne Stelter, Don Stelter, Joe Heller

   SJ                           James Wachholz, Chief, Ben Emond, Kevin Kaul, Corey Kaul, Ken Borzick

December 15

     Emm                        Darrell Buchholz, Bruce Stelter, Gary Wegner

     SJ                           Don Smith; Chief, Matt Borzick, Haiden Van Treeck,

Paul Van Treeck, Nolan Van Treeck

December 18 Advent

    Emm                         Wayne Stelter, Don Stelter, Joe Heller

    SJ                            Kenon Smith; Chief, Martin Schmanke, Aaron Kendall, Chuck Boetcher, Jim Eisermann

December 22    

    Emm                         DuWayne Sommerfeld, Paul Wuerch, Paul Dahlke

    SJ (comm)                 James Wachholz; Chief, Jerre Duerr, Robin Smith, Joe Zauner Sr.,

Joe Zauner Jr.

December 23      Emm                                        ?

December 24     SJ        James Wachholz; Chief, Jon Vote, Jesse Schable,

Gordon Krause, Gerhardt Voigt

December 25    

     Emm                                     ?

December 29    

   Emm                          Wayne Stelter, Glenn Buccholz, Joe Heller

     SJ                           Don Smith; Chief, Ben Jaster, Jacob Jaster, Jeff Reimer, Jeremy Breiwa

December 31  

     SJ (comm)                Kenon Smith; Chief, Richard Freitag, Mitch Simon,  Glen Bubolz,

Al Rosenthal

December 11    3:30pm   Emmanuel – Advent Devotion                               6:30pm   St. John’s – Advent Devotion December 18    3:30pm   Emmanuel – Advent Devotion                               6:30pm   St. John’s – Advent Devotion December 22    10:00am  St. John’s Sunday School Christmas Worship December 23    6:30pm   Emmanuel – Children’s Christmas Worship December 24    4:00pm   St. John’s – St. John’s School & Little Lambs Christmas Eve Worship December 25    9:00am   Emmanuel – Christmas Day Worship           NO ST. JOHN’S 6:30PM SERVICE December 31    7:00pm   St. John’s – New Year’s Eve Memorial Worship with communion January 1          9:00am   Emmanuel – New Year’s Day Memorial Worship with communion                                           NO ST. JOHN’S 6:30PM SERVICE
Emmanuel & St. John’s Holiday Worship 2019

 

●●● 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: 616-826-0816 K, 1st & 2nd Grade Teacher Ms. Shelley Myers: 920-285-7554 3rd-5th Grade Teacher Ms. Rachel Naumann: (847) 913-2135 Principal & 6th – 8th Grade Teacher Mr. Larry Sellnow:  616-822-6689 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 Power of Hope – December 8, 2019

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

The Power of Hope


Daily Devotion – December 8, 2019

Devotion based on Romans 15:13

See series: Devotions

It may not strike us as humane today, but many years ago an experiment took place. Researchers placed a set of rats in a large tub of water. Then they placed a second set of rats in another large tub of water. In the first tub, they left the rats alone. But in the second tub, they reached in and pulled one of the rats out of the water for a few moments from time to time and then put it back. The results were dramatic. While the first set of rats quickly gave up swimming and were ready to give in to drowning, the second set of rats kept right on swimming for hours. The reason was clear. The second set of rats had hope. The first set did not.

Have there been times in your life when you’ve felt as hopeless as a laboratory rat swimming around in a tub of water? Sin does that—your sin and mine. It pulls us into bad places from which we cannot escape. It isolates and surrounds us in despair. It makes life look dark and bleak.

But God did not abandon us to swim in the vat of our sins until we could swim no more. In fact, he did far more than pull us out from time to time to give us some desperate sense of hope. Instead, he became one of us. Through his life and death on our behalf, Jesus removed our sins forever. As he did, he destroyed the despair that our sin brings and replaced it with hope as God defines it—a sure, confident certainty based upon what Jesus Christ has already done.

And so there it is. Regardless of what is happening in your life, you are walking on the solid ground of your Savior’s promises. And through faith in him, you possess the sure hope that your journey ends in victory.

Prayer:
Dear Savior, forgive me for all the times I have given in to hopelessness and despair. Wash my sins away. By your Spirit, refresh my eyes to see the sure hope I possess 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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Time to Wake Up – December 7, 2019

The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber.
Romans 13:11

Time to Wake Up


Daily Devotion – December 7, 2019

Devotion based on Romans 13:11

See series: Devotions

Morrie Schwartz was a relatively unknown college professor for most of his life. Then he contracted ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He agreed to an interview on television to talk candidly about his condition and his impending death. That television appearance caught the attention of a former student of Morrie’s, a sportswriter from Detroit by the name of Mitch Albom. Albom looked up his old professor and rekindled their friendship. He began stopping by to see Morrie every Tuesday. Later, he turned their visits into a book, Tuesdays with Morrie. It became a national bestseller.

The attraction of Albom’s book lies in Morrie’s many observations on life. One of those observations is this: “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things.”

Living, yet having a meaningless life. Chasing after things that seem important but are wrong. Busy while half-asleep. Is this you? Is this your life? Is this what you’ve become?

Before you answer those questions, just remember: In this world, you and I stand surrounded by all kinds of things that are trying to put us to sleep. In all honesty, you and I must confess there have been times when we’ve fallen asleep and drifted away from what truly matters. Perhaps one of those times is right now.

If so, then the Lord has something to say to you from Romans chapter 13. He says, “The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber.” It’s time to repent. It’s time to recognize the horror of sleepwalking through life, ignoring the only Savior we have, and look to Jesus. It’s time to be washed in his forgiveness purchased at Calvary’s cross and be refreshed in his Spirit. It’s time to wake up and live again!

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, forgive me for the times I have fallen asleep and drifted away. Refresh me. Revive me. Empower me to live my life 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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Live Securely – December 6, 2019

[Jesus said] “Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Matthew 24:42-44

Live Securely


Daily Devotion – December 6, 2019

Devotion based on Matthew 24:42-44

See series: Devotions

In my childhood home, we had locks on the doors, bars on windows, a night watchman, two guard dogs, and a six-foot fence around our property. Even with all that security, thieves snuck in during the middle of the night, broke the kitchen window, and grabbed whatever was in the sink.

With the security we had then we were not able to prevent the break-in. Perhaps now, with the advances in security systems, we could. However, Jesus says that there’s one break-in that no security will ever prevent: his return.

Should that scare you? Not if you stay alert. Not if you keep watching for his return. When you wake up, when you lie down, when you go about your daily life, keep your eyes on Jesus. He came once when no one was watching to live, die, and rise again. He came to fulfill God’s law for you. He died to pay the price for your guilt. He rose again because he had fully paid for your sins.

Let his love for you cause you to repent and return to the Lord because no one knows when he will come again. It could be at any moment. So, keep watch for his coming. This doesn’t mean that you should stop living your life here and now. It does mean that whether our hands are busy with work or play, our hearts are yearning for heaven.

Thieves don’t make appointments. Neither does Jesus. He came once in grace to save. He’s coming again in glory to judge. So, keep watch, keep in the Word, and keep working while it is day.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am eager for your arrival. Keep me aware for your coming. 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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Welcome Him – December 5, 2019

[Jesus said] “About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”
Matthew 24:36-41

Welcome Him


Daily Devotion – December 5, 2019

Devotion based on Matthew 24:36-41

See series: Devotions

Near the end of the first Iraq War, Air Force pilot Robby Robbins received permission to fly home. He flew across the Atlantic, landed on United States soil, and drove all night to his Pennsylvania home. His arrival was supposed to be a surprise. But when he pulled into his driveway just after sunrise, Robbins saw a large banner hanging across the garage. The sign read, “Welcome Home, Dad!”

Robbins walked into the house. His children, half-ready for school, greeted him with squeals. His wife came running down the hall—hair done, make-up on, wearing a fresh yellow dress.

“How did you know?” Robbins asked.

“I didn’t. We kept listening to the news. When we saw that the war was almost over, we knew you’d be home soon. We knew you would want to surprise us, so we were ready every day.”

When Jesus returns, he won’t be crossing the sea or driving across the country. Swiftly and suddenly, he will sweep aside the heavens and snatch up his family to reunite with them in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever.

Jesus is coming! We don’t know when that will be, but we want to be prepared every day. Like Noah, we trust the good news of God’s rescue plan. As we rely on the perfection of Jesus, repent of our sins, and rejoice in his forgiveness, we will be ready to welcome him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I don’t know when you will come but comfort me with the knowledge that you will take me to heaven to be with you 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Wake Up – December 4, 2019

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Romans 13:11-14

Wake Up


Daily Devotion – December 4, 2019

Devotion based on Romans 13:11-14

See series: Devotions

How many hours of sleep do you get in a day? Do you get the recommended eight? Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ and author of this letter to the Christians in Rome, contended that we may sleep more than we realize.

He was referring to spiritual sleep. Like a leaf in a river, it is easy to be carried along wherever life takes us, to go through the motions of our daily routine, jumping from activity to activity. We are living but we aren’t really awake. We are not aware of who we are or what our purpose is. When this happens, we are not living our faith intentionally. We are just going through the motions.

Paul encourages us to wake up, to rejoice that Jesus has rescued us from the sins that separated us from him. He encourages us to dress ourselves in the armor of light, ready to reflect the love of Jesus and to serve our neighbor’s good.

Do this today. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow may be too late because Jesus has promised he will return to judge the living and the dead. So, let’s not be spiritually asleep when he does. Rather, let’s be wide awake and ready!

Prayer:
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus, I want to walk as a child of the light. 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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Be Prepared – December 3, 2019

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. . . . Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you.”
Genesis 6 and 7 (selected verses)

Be Prepared


Daily Devotion – December 3, 2019

Devotion based on Genesis 6 and 7 (selected verses)

See series: Devotions

It is two minutes to midnight.

According to a group of scientists, global catastrophe is two minutes away. Because of this, people are preparing themselves and their loved ones for the end of the world as we know it. They build bunkers. They stockpile food and munitions. When asked why one survivalist says: “You can’t always rely on the government or society to help you.”

According to the Bible, in Noah’s day, a world-wide flood was 120 years away. God named corruption, violence, and wickedness as the reasons why he was putting an end to all people. Because of this, Noah prepared himself and his family for the end of the world as they knew it. He built a boat to God’s specifications that carried his family and all kinds of animals above the waters for an entire year. Although Noah warned people of what was to come, they refused to heed his warning and were shocked when the flood swept them away.

Jesus compared the day this world will end to the day the great flood arrived. According to Jesus, no one knows when the end will come.

Are you prepared?. No bunker or boat will save you. But you can rely on God’s covenant promise. Whoever believes and is baptized in Jesus’ name will be saved. He died for our wickedness and was raised back to life to prove he had made us right with God. Rest in the ark of Jesus. He will save you from the destruction of that day and deliver you to an eternal home in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, rescue me for I rest 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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Peace that Prevails – December 2, 2019

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. . . . He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.”
Isaiah 2:3-5

Peace that Prevails


Daily Devotion – December 2, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 2:3-5

See series: Devotions

In 2008, Mexico City native Pedro Reyes melted down 1,527 weapons to make the same number of shovels to be used for planting trees in the community. The guns Reyes used represent a fraction of the weapons Mexican authorities seize every day. He called his project, “Palas por Pistolas,” or “Pistols to Shovels.”

Twenty-seven hundred years ago, the prophet Isaiah foresaw the day when nations “will beat their swords into plowshares.” Sadly, in spite of efforts such as “Pistols to shovels,” this day has not yet come. We still have no peace and little patience with one another. Despite our best efforts and intentions, we just can’t manufacture the peace we dream of. Sin in the world and our hearts make peace impossible for us.

But not for God. He set up a peace that prevails when he climbed Mount Calvary to hang on a cross. Jesus endured the injustice of people so he could justify people before God. All who trust in him have forgiveness for all their sins, peace with God, and the promise of an eternal end to all their earthly suffering.

When Jesus comes again, he will set right, once and forever, all that is broken. Everyone who believes in him will see this peace realized. He will remove all sin and hatred from our hearts and clothe us in his glorious goodness.

Do you want this lasting peace? Do you want a peace that quiets every guilty conscience? Then climb Mount Calvary by faith and find refuge under the cross. Do you want a peace that no diagnosis, disaster, or death can dissolve? Then walk in the light of the Lord, and he will direct your eyes to the day when he will craft the weapons of death into instruments of life.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I am anxious about anything, guard my heart and mind with your peace in every way. 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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