Jesus is Our Humble Servant – January 18, 2019

The LORD says, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6

Jesus is Our Humble Servant


Daily Devotion – January 18, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 49:6

See series: Devotions

Would you enjoy work as a servant? Most of us would choose a job in which we have some authority and privilege rather than submission and humble service.

What did Jesus choose? What did his Father choose for him? It was submission and humble service for Jesus instead of authority and privilege. He willingly took up the station designated in Isaiah’s prophecy: “the Servant of the Lord.”

Isaiah chapter 49 marks a new emphasis in that book of prophecy. Whereas earlier chapters focused on God’s deliverance of Israel from Babylonian captivity, this part focuses on the spiritual deliverance of God’s people through the Servant of the Lord.

Here we find the Servant of the Lord, fully equipped and competent to deliver Israel. Jesus kept this word of prophecy in his humble service to free us from the guilt of sin and curse of eternal death. He explained, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as the ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

He did this not just for the people of Israel (“too small a thing”) but also for you and me, for the entire world. He served in the lowliest way, bearing the burden of all sinners on his cross to restore us to life with God forever.

Praise to you, Savior Jesus, for coming to be our humble servant and bringing us the light of salvation!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, make me aware each day of the humble service you offered me to rescue me from my sin. Fill me with the light 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Your After Picture – January 17, 2019

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.… For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
Isaiah 61:10, 62:1-2

Your After Picture


Daily Devotion – January 17, 2019

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:10, 62:1-2

See series: Devotions

Makeovers are remarkable. You have seen the “before” and “after” pictures on TV. You’ve seen the man with the 70’s hippy look transformed into the GQ magazine look or the woman with the no makeup look transformed into the Glamour magazine look. You are that person, spiritually speaking.

You can see your “before” picture in the mirror of God’s law, which demands you to be flawless. It’s not a pretty look. Your clothes are filthy from the dirt in your life, stained from enjoying life too much, and worn out from all the begging you’ve done on your knees. You’re a mess, an offense to yourself and even more to your God. You know it, and you are helpless to change it. Try as you might, God declares, “Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me””(Jeremiah 2:22).

But then there’s your “after” picture. In that picture there is another person beside you. The other person is your substitute. Christ came to exchange clothes with you—his perfection for your imperfection, your guilt for his forgiveness, your damnation for his salvation. This is what he did on the cross, and because he did, there is nothing about you that is less than perfect in God’s eyes. Using the imagery of Isaiah, you are a picture-perfect bridegroom and bride.

Your joy is to let others know what God in Christ has done for you. The Lord himself wants this known. He wants everyone to know the garment exchange he has made. He wants them to know that Christ’s righteousness covers their unrighteousness. He wants to transform their lives. And he will. By grace he has transformed yours.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, I rejoice that you have clothed me with your righteousness. I pray that others enjoy these same clothes. 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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BULLETIN- THE 2nd SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY JANUARY 20, 2019

EMMANUEL & ST. JOHN’S

Ev. Lutheran Churches

Mecan & Montello, WI

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

C:\Users\secretary.STJOHN\Downloads\couple_13279ac.jpg

THE 2nd SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY

JANUARY 20, 2019

WELCOME TO OUR CHURCH! 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. Restrooms and nursery area are located 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. May God bless our worship together!

A PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP Heavenly Father, you gave your one and only Son to be the Light of the World. Grant that your people, enlightened through your Word, shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory. May our Epiphany Lord be known, worshiped, and believed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and rules as our Triune God. Bless our worship today. Amen.

GOD’S WORD FOR TODAY Jesus is Our Miraculous Savior In today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus performs a miracle at the wedding at Cana: He turns over 120 gallons of water into wine. Jesus doesn’t touch the water. It’s no trick. It’s a real miracle. He does it because the Father now wants him to go “public” and reveal his glory. As a result, his disciples trust in him as the Son of God. In our Old Testament and Epistle lessons, Jesus performs more miracles…as a bridegoom rejoicing over his bride–the church, and as he, the Victorious Lamb, adorns her with a wedding gown and gives her at place of honor at the wedding banquet in heaven.

ORDER OF SERVICE–LITURGY

Emmanuel 8am & St. John’s “Service of the Word”, hymnal page 38

PASTOR’S GREETING

ST. JOHN’S SCHOOL, LITTLE LAMBS & CHOIR SING (in place of opening hymn, accompanied by youth hand chimes) “The Lord Is My Light & My Salvation”

(Please stand)

LITURGY (hymnal page 38, pastor and congregation sing responsively)

(Please be seated for the day’s Bible readings)

THEME: Jesus Is The Heavenly Bridegroom

OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah 62:1-5 (today’s sermon text)

The heavenly Bridegroom crowns his church with splendor

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

PSALM 133-134 (hymnal page 115, cantor sings first line, congregation sings second line, all sing refrains & Gloria)

EPISTLE: Revelation 19:5-9

Blessed are those invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb

Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!”

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

SEASONAL RESPONSE (read by pastor)

(Please stand)

GOSPEL: John 2:1-11

The heavenly Bridegroom reveals his glory at the wedding in Cana

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

(Please be seated)

CHILDREN’S SERMON

SERMON HYMN 82 “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise”

(Please stand)

APOSTLES’ CREED (hymnal page 41, all read)

(Please be seated)

SERMON Isaiah 62:1-5

“The Lord’s Church Shines Forth”

  1. In the righteousness of Christ
  2. As the bride of Christ

HYMN 91:1-3 “The Star Proclaims the King Is Here”

(printed in the hymnal, all sing)

OFFERING, GREETINGS & FRIENDSHIP REGISTERS

OFFERING PRAYER

(Please stand)

EPIPHANY SEASON PRAYER (read by pastor)

INTERCESSORY PRAYERS

– For those hospitalized, ill, shut-in and facing trials: George Alexander, George Chapman, Gene & Sharon Crook, Harley & Liola Crown & son Terry, Agnes Dassow, Reinold Eckelberg, Elaine Emond (Mark’s mother), Earl Ewert, Mike Farrell, Kellen Grucza (Judy Fandrey’s daughter), Dawn Hirn (Linda Krause’s niece), Bob Klapper (Sandy’s husband), Arden “Bill” Klimke, Linda Krause, Pete Laun, Lilly Mann, LuAnn Reber, Frankie Russell, Mark & Peggy Russell (Elsa’s son & daughter in-law), Al & Darlene Schmidt (Dawn Marcelain & Candace Sonnenberg’s parents), Dennis Schwanke (Mary Isberner’s friend), Amanda Stalker, Dennis & Ramona Wacholtz, Donny Weber (Betty’s son), Paul Weldon, Millie Wildt (John’s wife) – (added this week: )

– For our government

(Please stand)

THE LORD’S PRAYER (hymnal page 43a)

(Please be seated)

CLOSING HYMN 91:4-5 “The Star Proclaims the King Is Here” (printed in the hymnal, all sing)

(Please stand)

CLOSING PRAYER & BLESSING (hymnal page 43b)

(Note: As you leave today’s service please give your completed Friendship Register sheet to an usher or pastor)

Announcements

Theme for Next Sunday January 27, 2019

Epiphany 3:  “Jesus is the Promised Deliverer”

Activities for the week of January 20 – January 26

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

11:15 A.M.

St. John’s Teacher Call meeting

Mon.

6:30 P.M.

Choir at St. John’s

7:30 P.M.

Adult Bible Study at St. John’s

Tues.

6:30 P.M.

Men’s Bible Study 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

6:30 P.M.

St. John’s Worship

Thurs.

8:00 A.M.

St. John’s School Teen Confirmation

10:00 A.M.

Montello Care Center Devotion with communion

6:00 P.M.

Griefshare (1st of 13 weeks) begins in St. John’s lower level

Fri.

Sat.

Schedule for Next Sunday: January 27, 2019

Epiphany 3:  “Jesus is the Promised Deliverer”

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

9:00 A.M.

Emmanuel Council meeting

10:00 A.M.

St. John’s Worship with communion

11:15 A.M.

St. John’s Elders & Shepherds lunch & meeting

11:30 A.M.

WLA Let’s Celebrate

2019 OFFERING ENVELOPES are ready for pick up in the link way at St. John’s. If you did not receive a box and would like to, please let Ciara know at the office (297-2866) or there is a sign up in the link way.

2018 OFFERING STATEMENT SIGN UP is now available in the link way. Please pick your statement up in the link way as well.

ART FOR DINNER SILENT AUCTION IN LINK WAY

Come check out some silent auction items that will be at Art for Dinner! They are currently located in the link way at St. John’s and will be there until Feb. 1.

Art for Dinner will be held Saturday, February 2nd, at 5:00p.m. in the Montello High School community room.

This is our 4th Annual Fundraiser to help improve our school. This year the money raised will go to our Athletic Fund (funds will cover things such as new uniforms, tournament fees, updated equipment, etc.)

We need your help! Please consider purchasing a ticket


($25 ea.) and enjoying the evening or consider making a donation. We are also looking for donations of items for our basket raffle. If you would be able to donate a basket already made up, any type of items, or services, gift cards, or products! If you know of any businesses that would be willing to donate, please ask them as well. Please have all donations turned into the office by Wednesday, January 30th. If you would like to work on projects at home or in the classroom, please feel free to do so and we would love to include them in our silent auction fundraiser. Any other family (Grandmas, Dads, Uncles, Cousins) art projects are welcome as well. God has blessed many of us with lots of different talents! We are very excited to be having this fundraiser and with your help, we are hoping that it will be a great success! Please help spread the word to anyone you think would like to support our school!

Any questions, please contact:

Megan Jaster- 608-369-3456 mj.jastersag@outlook.com or

Ciara Neuhauser 608-369-0901 ciaraneuhauser24@gmail.com

What Drives You? That is one of the questions we will be thinking about this coming week at the Men’s Bible Study on Tuesday at 6:30pm. We will be asking the man called Saul, who is also the Apostle Paul, the same question. In January/February we will be looking to grow as we consider: “You Can Call Me Saul-You Can Call Me Paul-Just Call Me Saved By Grace,” as we see him in the book of Acts.

CHRISTIAN ONE-LINERS (from a WELS member): “Don’t put a question mark where God put a period.”

C:\Users\secretary\Downloads\Choose Life church bulletin copy January 22 (1).jpgTHE 6TH ANNUAL IRONMEN OF GOD MEN’S CONFERENCE will be held Saturday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Ixonia.  Come and hear God’s word aimed straight at men!  Speakers and registration info at www.ironmenofgodwi.org.

Usher Schedule

January 20

E

SJ

Don Stelter, Jim Stuempges, DuWayne Sommerfeld

Jack Yates; Chief, Robin Smith, Del Henke, Joe Zauner, Gordon Krause

January 27

E

SJ

Brian Ninnemann, Noah Buchholz, Gary Wagner

Don Smith; Chief, Richard Freitag, Gerhardt Voigt, Mitch Simon, Karl Whitrock

February 3

E

SJ

Darrel Buchholz, Bruce Stelter, Brian Ninnemann, comm. assist. Lucas Stelter

Kenon Smith; Chief, Matt Borzick, Glen Bubolz, Al Rosenthal, Christopher Smith

February 10

E

SJ

DuWayne Sommerfeld, Paul Wuerch, Paul Dahlke

Cal Kapp; Chief, Calvin Wojtalewicz, Zeb Zuehls, Mark Emond, Kevin Kaul

February 17

E

SJ

Wayne Stelter, Glenn Buchholz, Joe Heller

James Wachholz; Chief, Scott Ritz, Ken Borzick, Ben Emond, Thomas Wojtalewicz

February 24

E

SJ

Lucas Stelter, Warren Buchholz, DuWayne Sommerfeld

Dennis Wacholtz; Chief, James Henke, Paul Van Treeck, Martin Schmanke, Lee Ollendorf

St. John’s Greeters Schedule

January 20

Karl Whitrock & Elsa Russell

January 27

Jim & Diane Eisermann

February 3

Harold & Judy Fandrey

February 10

Kenon & Mary Smith

February 17

Al & Carolyn Rosenthal

February 24

Dixie Wagner & Bernice Wegner

Attendance

Emmanuel

St. John’s

1-13 1-16

124

St. John’s Altar Committee:

January 2019

Elaine Kelm

&

Carolyn Rosenthal

Welcome To Our Visitors!

Please Sign Our Guest Register

Visit our website link at: www.stjohnsmontello.org

Like & find us on Facebook

Pastor Peter Zietlow Office (608) 297-2321

Cell & Text (608) 408-7830, E-mail: zietlowpl6@hotmail.com

Teacher Karin Stellick (920) 342-3689

Teacher Sara Borck (858) 731-7919

Teacher Rachel Naumann (847) 913-2135

Teacher Cassie Doering (920) 723-8986

Parish/School Secretary Ciara Neuhauser (608) 297-2866

Altar Ladies Elaine Kelm (920) 344-0025 &

Carolyn Rosenthal 589-5036

Mail to: 313 E Montello St, Montello, WI 53949

OR scsecretary@stjohnsmontello.org

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God’s Choice – January 16, 2019

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” … Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?” Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed stands here before the LORD.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.
1 Samuel 16:1,4-13

God’s Choice


Daily Devotion – January 16, 2019

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 16:1,4-13

See series: Devotions

God doesn’t choose people the way that we do. In today’s reading, Israel needed a new king anointed from the family of Jesse, and it was Samuel’s job to anoint him. Samuel was sure it was going to be one of Jesse’s most kingly-looking sons. Son after son was brought before Samuel. Each one looked like a possible candidate, but the LORD rejected them all. Did Jesse have another son? He did. Little David, the youngest boy, was out tending the sheep. When they brought him in, the LORD made it clear to Samuel: David was the one.

A thousand years later, David’s descendant Jesus was born. And just like David, Jesus wasn’t anything like the kind of king people were looking for. Many rejected Jesus immediately because of his lowly status. Others followed him for a little while, until they found out what he was about. He wasn’t here to defeat their political enemies. He was here to suffer and die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. None of us would ever have picked a king like this. But God did. At Jesus’ baptism, God made his choice known to all the world: “This is my Son whom I love.” (See Luke 3:21,22.)

Jesus is the reason God chooses sinners like you and me. He doesn’t choose us because of anything good in us. We know how far we often fall from our own standards, much less his. God chooses sinners purely out of love and mercy.

As David was anointed king, as Jesus was anointed Savior, so also, we sinners are anointed to be God’s children. In Baptism, God takes what he did for the whole world at the cross of Jesus, and he makes it personal. He singles you out. He comes to you with his forgiveness, not just forgiveness for the sinfulness you were born with, but forgiveness for all sins, even the ones you haven’t committed yet. Are you baptized? Then you don’t have to wait for a day of forgiveness to come. That day has already come. Your sins were forgiven at your baptism, through faith in Jesus, your Savior.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, whenever I wonder how someone like God could love someone like me, help me to remember the grace and mercy there is to be found in God’s gift of Baptism. Amen

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Most Important Question – January 15, 2019

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.
Acts 16:25-34

A Most Important Question


Daily Devotion – January 15, 2019

Devotion based on Acts 16:25-34

See series: Devotions

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” This is the most important question in the world. It cuts to the heart of the most important issue of life—the matter of eternal life.

At the critical moment of life and death, there was only one correct answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” Human philosophies could not answer the jailer’s question, so Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.”

At the heart of the “word of the Lord” is the message that through faith in Jesus who lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death on our behalf, we are saved from sin—from the effects of sin (guilt and shame) and from the final result of sin (punishment in hell). Paul and Silas do not tell the jailer to “do” anything. He is to believe what Jesus has already done for him. There is no other way to be saved.

The jailer is in one moment a desperate, guilty, enemy of Christ and in the next a forgiven, loving servant to Christ. This is the power of Christ and his salvation. If you know it, share it. If you do not, keep coming back to hear “the word of the Lord.” It is for you and your household.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for your Word which is the Word of salvation. Thank you for giving us life in a world of death. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Voice in the Desert – January 14, 2019

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:4-11

The Voice in the Desert


Daily Devotion – January 14, 2019

Devotion based on Mark 1:4-11

See series: Devotions

You hear one voice in the desert. You hear another voice from heaven.

It’s the first voice you might not listen to. Who would listen to a guy who preaches in camel’s hair and eats locusts? Who would listen to a guy that calls you a snake and a sinner? (See Matthew 3:7-10.) Your initial thought, as you listen to this voice, is to scoff and argue. But the more you listen, you end up crying for mercy instead. The voice in the desert speaks the damning truth. It cuts you to the core. You recognize the poison in your heart—poison that blasphemes, hates, lusts, and envies—and you are brought to your knees to confess that you deserve eternal punishment for your sins.

But the voice in the desert points to more than your sin. The voice in the desert points to the One so powerful, that no sinner is worthy to untie his sandals, and yet so powerful that he overwhelms and overcomes sinful hearts with his Spirit of grace. He points to the One who is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

Now you couldn’t be more ready to listen to the voice from heaven. As water runs down Jesus’ face, the Father’s voice from heaven declares his approval and confidence in his Son, because he purposely and willingly gives him as the sacrifice for your sin. His life for yours! His death instead of yours! Even the Holy Spirit descends with approval. And yes, you hear the voice from heaven correctly, it pleases God to do this for you. Through faith you will not perish but have eternal life.

Because of such love, out of the overflow of the heart, another voice speaks. It’s your voice. It echoes the voice from the desert and the voice from heaven. It shows sin and shares saving love with others. It points people to Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, may I never lose sight of my need for a Savior from sin, and may I never let go of the fact that Jesus came for me and saved me. In his 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Bad Day – January 13, 2019

Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

A Bad Day


Daily Devotion – January 13, 2019

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:22-23

See series: Devotions

“I just need this day to end!” Ever felt that way? Ever felt that way already by noon? When things are going poorly, that thought can be a very real one. When things seem to go from bad to worse as the day progresses, a desire for it to end might well be our sentiment. There is something about a new day, a fresh start that seems to put things in perspective and gives renewed energy.

The Old Testament writer of these words from a book called Lamentations was having more than a bad day. He had experienced a whole bunch of them. Enemies of the nation had entered it ruthlessly. They deported most of the people. Cities lay in ruins. The temple of God in Jerusalem had been destroyed. The annihilated nation was the laughingstock of her neighbors. A once proud and mighty country had been reduced to rubble. And the worst part? It was their own fault! Because the people of Judah had turned away from the Word and the will of the Lord, he had caused this to happen. He had done it that they might wake up and turn from their current path of spiritual destruction.

But then right in the middle of this book of mourning come words of comfort and hope. Words of refreshment and renewal to the broken down and despondent: The Lord hasn’t abandoned us! The Lord is full of love and compassion toward us! No matter how faithless we’ve been, the Lord remains faithful! As a new day and a fresh start are the grace and mercy of God, the unfailing promises of God, centered in the rising Sun of a Savior from sin, gave hope to Jeremiah (author of this short book) and any of his countrymen who would give ear and heart to this beautiful message.

There are many things that contribute to bad days. Too often at least some of them are our own fault. A harsh word to a family member causes a rift. A rude email to a co-worker makes a project bog down. A bit of laziness or procrastination puts us behind schedule. A night of partying leads to a day of misery. The list might go on. As we come to a realization that we are often to blame for our own difficulties, let’s remember these words of comfort and hope from Lamentations. The One promised to them has come to us as the baby born in Bethlehem. The One they awaited to deal with their sin is the Savior Jesus Christ who gave himself as a sacrifice for sin on Calvary’s cross. In his forgiveness each day is a new and fresh one. And if we happen to be dealing with something that’s not particularly our fault, remember the One who has risen from the dead and stands to fuel your spirit with his compassionate love and faithful companionship. With the Lord and his promises, every day is a new one!

Prayer:
Lord, although we don’t deserve it, you shower us with your love and mercy each day and each hour of the day. Help us to look to you and to lean on you and your compassionate faithfulness in Jesus at all times. In his name we pray. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Who is Jesus – January 12, 2019

On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
John 7:40-43

Who is Jesus


Daily Devotion – January 12, 2019

Devotion based on John 7:40-43

See series: Devotions

The crowds were divided. They could not come to any agreement regarding Jesus. Some thought he was the “Prophet” promised by God through Moses. Some thought he was the Christ, the one promised by God to set them free. Still others couldn’t accept anything about Jesus because he didn’t fit their understanding of the Scriptures. So, who is Jesus? It is a question for which I need an answer.

Today there are still many of the same beliefs and opinions about Jesus. Some people still believe he is a prophet, but only a prophet. Some still believe he was sent by God, but they stop short of believing he is God. There are even some who reject Jesus altogether because he does not conform to their ideas regarding the Savior they need. Unfortunately, all these opinions and beliefs end in conflict and confusion, and ultimately in eternal condemnation.

The only reliable answer comes from God’s Word and is accepted through faith worked by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word provides the clear truth regarding Jesus. Without hesitation or qualification it proclaims Jesus is true God and true Man born of Mary. It also proclaims Jesus is the Christ sent by God to suffer and die to pay the price for my freedom. It further proclaims Jesus is the victorious Savior who lives, rules, and protects me with his unsurpassed power and undeserved love. It is faith which trusts everything the Bible says. It is finally faith which leads me to confidently confess Jesus is everything the Bible says he is.

The world may be full of opinions and beliefs regarding Jesus, but there is only one truth. It is the truth which saves, and it is the truth to which I must cling: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and my only Savior.

Prayer:(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 358)
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear!
It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds, and drives away all fear.

O Jesus, Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, my Prophet, Priest, and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Sing a New Song – January 11, 2019

Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
Psalm 98:1

Sing a New Song


Daily Devotion – January 11, 2019

Devotion based on Psalm 98:1

See series: Devotions

Have you ever noticed how much music and singing is associated with the Christian religion? There are Christian radio stations that are singularly dedicated to playing songs dedicated to Jesus. Christian worship includes music played on various instruments and sung by trained vocalists. Many Christian churches encourage the people in the seats to join in singing hymns and psalms. Have you ever wondered why? I’ll bet you have, especially if singing’s not your thing.

Why do Christians sing? The words of Psalm 98 give us the answers. The first one is this: The Lord wants us to. But the reason for that is deeper than you might think. The Lord certainly loves music and takes delight in the beauty of melodies and harmonies that please the ear. Undoubtedly, he takes pleasure in beautiful music produced by trained musicians and practiced vocalists. But there is so much more! He is much more interested in the content of our songs than in the musical mastery or flawless performance.

He encourages his people to sing a “new song.” And then he tells us what that new song is. He doesn’t hand out a piece of music with notes and performance directions. He tells us that the new song he desires is one that declares the marvelous things he has done. He has worked salvation. He has carried out a saving act. He hasn’t done it for himself (as though he needs saving), but he has done it by himself because those who needed him to save them couldn’t do it by themselves.

God saves. Like a well-trained Navy Seal team sent on a rescue operation he invades enemy territory to deliver from captivity. Like a brave firefighter he enters a dangerous situation to rescue from the flames. Jesus Christ entered our world as a baby in Bethlehem. He grew from childhood to manhood, all the while perfectly carrying out his Father’s will. As a relatively young man he willingly went to a gruesome death. He did it all to save sinners who couldn’t save themselves. He came into our dark world to deliver us from death and eternal condemnation. When he rose from his tomb, he declared that death is defeated, and the devil rendered powerless. He came to seek and to save those who were lost, including you and me. And that’s worth singing about!

Whether you are a good singer or not; whether you can read notes and sing in a choir or whether you can’t carry a tune…the Lord wants to hear you singing a new song of thanks and praise to him as the one who has marvelously saved you!

Prayer:
Lord, you have provided us with the words of a new and marvelous song through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Help us to sing your praise with joy and thanksgiving all the days of our lives. 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 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Making Everything New – January 10, 2019

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:1-5

Making Everything New


Daily Devotion – January 10, 2019

Devotion based on Revelation 21:1-5

See series: Devotions

The Scriptures teach that our present world and all of God’s original creation will be destroyed at the end of time. God will, however, make a “new heaven and a new earth.” The apostle John was granted the vision of these things fulfilled, and he saw the “new Jerusalem” which is described as “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” At the end of time Jesus Christ will come in glorious procession attended by his angels to take his bride—the Church of all believers—to his heavenly home for an eternal wedding feast. The heavenly wedding feast of Christ and his church is when the “dwelling of God is with men.” The redeemed will see God. In his first epistle John wrote: “We shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The Church will no longer walk by faith, but by sight. And God’s covenant of grace will be established with them forever, for “they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

The description of bliss for God’s people in this new heaven and earth is comforting: “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” It is this glorious prospect that for centuries has sustained Christians in the midst of their earthly trials and sufferings. One day we will have the bliss of heaven where there will be no sin and no effects of sin. Nothing will dim the perfect bliss which God has planned and prepared for his faithful people.

Jesus himself gives us assurance that what John saw in his vision will indeed come to pass. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” All this will take place because Jesus is in charge of making it happen. He is the one who has all power in heaven and on earth is the one making all things new. Jesus’ words bring us much comfort and encouragement. No matter what the world situation looks like, no matter what types of persecution or hardship enter our lives, Jesus is in control and guiding everything for our good so that finally heaven and all its bliss will be ours. Jesus declares, “These words are trustworthy and true.” We can count on it…Jesus is “making everything new” …for us!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for the encouragement and comfort that finally everything will be new when you come and take me to be with you in heaven. Amen.

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