God is Just -February 22, 2018

[Our God] is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Deuteronomy 32:4

God is Just


Daily Devotion – February 22, 2018

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 32:4

See series: Devotions

A characteristic of God that he revealed about himself in the Bible is that he is just. But instead of embracing the fact that God is just, we often paint an imbalanced picture of God. We read and know that God is love. God loves the whole world. God loves each of us. We tend to focus so much on the fact that God is love that we sometimes forget or ignore the truth that God is also holy and just.

It is much more comfortable for us to try to put God on trial instead of being under scrutiny ourselves. How fair, holy, just, and loving are we? How would the people around us answer that? Should we ask God? Our verdict comes back. Our sin makes us guilty of being far less than perfect, loving, and just.

Since God is just, he needs to carry out his sentence for sin. Because God is love, he did not want the punishment of eternal death to fall on sinners—on you and me. And so, as the Bible teaches, God sent his Son to be the complete sacrifice for sin “to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). God is just. He carried out the sentence of death for sin, but the one who bore the suffering and death was Jesus. Jesus died for the sins of each and every person. Because of Jesus’ innocent sufferings and death, God is just by not charging us with the guilt of sin. God is the justifier. Through Jesus he declares us not guilty.
God is just. We hate that fact when we see our sins and know what we deserve. But we love God’s justice when we see Jesus’ cross and empty tomb. God is just. In Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer:
Dear God, you are holy and just in who you are and all you do. Thank you for punishing Jesus in my place and giving me forgiveness and peace through him. Grow my faith so that your love and holiness increase in my heart and life. Amen.

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Prove That You Love Me – February 21, 2018

“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering…” “…Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”…He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. …“On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22 (selected portions)

Prove That You Love Me


Daily Devotion – February 21, 2018

Devotion based on Genesis 22 (selected portions)

See series: Devotions

“Prove that you love me!” That challenge was given to a man named Abraham by God himself in an episode recorded in Genesis chapter 22. Does it surprise you, maybe even disgust or anger you, that God would choose such a test to measure Abraham’s love and devotion? It sure seems like an unfair, even immoral choice he was left to make. “Who is more important to you, Abraham? Your God or your son?” It is amazing to see how Abraham passed the test. He had every intention of sacrificing his own son! Proving that his allegiance to the Lord was foremost and genuine.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength! It doesn’t take a long, hard look at our lives and our choices to see that we have failed that test—and in ways much less difficult than what was presented to Abraham. How often is the thought of God and his desires absent from our life choices? Personal pleasures and pursuits rule the day and the choices made in it. Far from proving our unfailing love to God in the way we live, do we instead find ourselves shouting back at him in defensive accusation: “Oh yeah, God? Why should I pay attention to you or live for you? Why don’t you prove your love to me?!”

As an answer from God to those questions, this ancient story has a deeper meaning and fulfillment. To Isaac’s question about the sacrifice they were going to offer, Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” As Abraham proved his deep love for the Lord with his willingness to sacrifice his son, God did provide an animal for Abraham to sacrifice as a substitute for his son. This foreshadowed the great event in the future when God the Father would provide and accept the sacrifice of his beloved Son—the Lamb of God as a substitute for the world of sinners.

Does God love you? One of the most well-known passages of the Bible says that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son! For those who haven’t kept even the first and most basic command of God—to love him first and best—God sent his Son to enter their world as the suitable, substitute sacrifice. God did not withhold from us his dearest treasure, but offered him up as a payment for human sin. Instead of banishing us from his sight because of our sin, he provided needed forgiveness and acceptance through the willingness of Jesus to suffer in our place. Jesus went to a mount called Calvary to give his life in place of ours. We can truly say that on the mountain of the Lord, God’s love has been provided to us. See there the ultimate proof that God loves you. And then be amazed at how he works in you a genuine love for him who loved you first!

Prayer:
Lord God, heavenly Father, I have often failed the test of showing love and devotion to you. Forgive me for the sake of Jesus, your dear Son, whom you sent into my world to be my Savior. Help me to see in him your unfailing love and forgiveness. Help me to respond with a life of love to you, because you have loved me first and best. 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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God is for Us – February 20, 2018

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39

God is for Us


Daily Devotion – February 20, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 8:31-39

See series: Devotions

You and I may not have to worry about persecution, nakedness, and swords, but all of us are familiar with trouble and hardship. Rejoice that God’s promises spoken through the apostle Paul still stand: God is for us and nothing will be able to separate us from him.

Have you considered what that means?

Sometimes we cringe and cower in the presence of God. Past sins haunt us and guilty feelings remain. The devil accuses and suddenly we feel like we’re far away from God and second-class citizens in his kingdom, if we’re citizens at all. What does Jesus want us to remember at a time like that? God is for us!

Sometimes the headlines are horrifying. Our loved ones hurt. We wrestle with troubles and tragedies. We feel like God has abandoned us to suffer alone in a sin-broken world. What does Jesus want us to remember at a time like that? Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ!

So, what keeps you up at night? In Christ, you have nothing to fear. Jesus assures you of that here in Romans chapter 8 and throughout all of Scripture. His blood shed on the cross has washed away your sin. His resurrection assures you that your salvation is complete. The Lord has found you, rescued you from sin and death, and will keep you safe, now and forever.

Christ Jesus is absolutely committed to his people and he promises to keep you safe. Let that glorious fact transform your life. Let go of all that scares you. Let nothing keep you up at night. Rest easy in the promises of your Savior.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in sending Jesus to be my Savior, you have demonstrated your love for me. Help me to find hope and strength in 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Tempted, Yet Triumphant – February 19, 2018

At once the Spirit sent [Jesus] out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Mark 1:12-13

Tempted, Yet Triumphant


Daily Devotion – February 19, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 1:12-13

See series: Devotions

No one truly understands the torrent of temptations I face in daily life like Jesus does. Countless times the devil coaxes me with his sweet-sounding, sly lies. And after falling for his diabolical deception, I am met with a cascade of his accusations concerning my own guilt and shame. The devil is a real enemy not to be underestimated. His mission is to undermine my faith in God.

Jesus not only understands the power of the evil one; he overcame him! Alone in the barren desert with wild animals surrounding him, Jesus encountered our arch enemy. For forty days he faced the fierce enticements of the evil one. In every vicious attack, Jesus stood victorious. Christ Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Whenever I am tempted, my help and strength will never be found in the deceptive lies of the prince of darkness. Lasting help is graciously given by the Prince of peace who shines with the light of the gospel’s eternal truth, exposing the devilish lies for what they are. His Word of Truth brings the Savior’s healing and forgiveness for the fallen sinner. His love compels me to repent of my sin and to fix my eyes on Jesus who paid the entire debt of my guilt as he crushed the devil through his victory on the cross and from the grave.

It is not a matter of if  temptation will come my way. It is only a matter of when. And when the tide of temptation seeks to overwhelm me, I rest in the safe harbor of heavenly grace. For Jesus assures me with his presence and his powerful promise, that he will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). Finally, when my last hour comes, the Lord will deliver me from all evil and graciously take me from this world to himself in the refuge of heaven.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, the reason you appeared on earth was to destroy the devil’s work. When I fall into temptation, move me to sorrow over my sin and befriend me with your abiding love and forgiveness. Your word is my strength against every evil attack. I thank you that you were victorious for me! Amen.

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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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Safe – February 18, 2018

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 4:1

Safe


Daily Devotion – February 18, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 4:1

See series: Devotions

Every time I pray the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), I find great comfort in the words, “And lead us not into temptation.” I need this reassurance because there are many things which seek to draw me away from the Lord. The world always beckons with its pleasures. The devil always offers illusions and distractions. My flesh is always attentive to their appealing call. My only refuge is knowing the Lord will keep me safe in every time of temptation, and that refuge is found in my Savior Jesus Christ.

At the beginning of his ministry God the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness of Judea. The sole purpose was to engage in spiritual combat with the devil. Forty days and forty nights Jesus endured the devil’s twisted truths, his easy solutions, and his deceptive offers. Through the power of God’s Word, Jesus was victorious and did not sin.

I am the beneficiary of this hard-fought battle. Because Jesus overcame every temptation, he gives me the ability to resist the devil’s destructive advances. He also gives me the wisdom to identify Satan’s deadly deceptions. He even gives me the strength to faithfully endure every cunning attack.

I can find great comfort in knowing Jesus will keep me safe. I find equal comfort in knowing when I fail to resist temptation, Jesus stands ready to rescue me. He forgives my failure to remain faithful and removes the burden of my guilt. He encourages me with his reassuring promises to retake my stand on God’s Word. He even renews me with his victory to prepare me for the next battle.

I know as long as I live in this world, the devil will always be there to tempt me. I also know I need to be ready to identify these temptations so I can resist them. What gives me courage and strength for the battle is knowing that Jesus is there to keep me safe.

Prayer:
O gracious and faithful Savior, you were strong and faithful in the face of every temptation. Give me the same strength and faith to resist the devil’s attacks. Refresh me when I grow weak. Forgive me when I fall. Keep me safely in your care. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 One for the Many – February 17, 2018

“…through the obedience of the one Man the many will be made righteous.”
Romans 5:19

The One for the Many


Daily Devotion – February 17, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 5:19

See series: Devotions

Al Capone is a household name in American history. Al Capone is the notorious mob leader who ruled the city of Chicago with an iron fist in the 1920’s.

But there’s another name we would do well to know. The name of this man is Frank Loesch. Here is his story. It was the height of Al Capone’s power. His violent reign over Chicago was so tough that local, state and federal authorities dared not to challenge him. Frank Loesch was an elderly man in his seventies. But Frank Loesch had had enough. So, he led an effort to find a way to bring down Al Capone.

The work took years—years of stress, years of death threats, years of constant danger to himself and his family. But finally, the day came. A court found Al Capone guilty of tax evasion. A judge sentenced him to prison. His bloody control was over. The 3 million citizens of Chicago were freed and no longer feared him, thanks to the determination of one brave man, a man by the name of Frank Loesch.

One man doing what had to be done to rescue the lives of many. It’s an extraordinary story. But even the story of Frank Loesch must fade in comparison to what Jesus Christ has done on our behalf.

You and I were under the rule of an iron fist. The iron fist was the curse of our own sin. Under that rule, our lives were fearful, empty, dark. But when Jesus came, he did what had to be done. On our behalf he served as our Champion. In our place he paid the price to set us free. The devil can claim us no more. The curse of our sin is gone. Instead we now possess forgiveness, and life, and light.

The One for the many. That’s Jesus. His victory is total. Because it is, we don’t have to be afraid anymore.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when the curse of sin ruled us with an iron fist, you came. You shattered sin’s grip and washed us clean. Keep us close to you. And thank you! Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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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God is Holy – February 16, 2018

“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.’”
Leviticus 19:2

God is Holy


Daily Devotion – February 16, 2018

Devotion based on Leviticus 19:2

See series: Devotions

God in heaven is absolutely perfect. He wants heaven to be a perfect place for us as well, so he says that nothing imperfect, unclean, or sinful will ever enter there. Because God wanted the people of Israel to enter there, he told them to be holy. He says the same thing to us today. Be holy, and we will earn heaven.

How holy? God wants us to be as holy as he is. That means no bad thoughts, no sinful words, no wrong deeds, from the beginning of life all the way through every day. He knew that people would try to water down that standard, so he gave the Ten Commandments to the entire assembly of Israel, and told them to obey those rules. He said that they should practice such obedience for the right reasons—loving God with all their power and loving their neighbor as themselves.

When the holy God looked down from heaven to see how the people of Israel were doing, he saw that no one was righteous, not even one. He sees the same thing when he looks at us today. Although he searched the whole world, he could not find and still cannot find a single holy person—except for Jesus.

Jesus lived an absolutely holy life. He never thought anything wrong, he never said anything wrong, and he never did anything wrong. He always did the right thing, even under difficult circumstances, and he always refrained from doing the wrong thing.

Jesus never sinned. He earned his way to heaven! But instead of taking the heaven that he deserved, Jesus took the hell that we deserve. The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God punished Jesus for our sin, and Jesus suffered hell, separation from God the Father, on the cross.

Through faith in Jesus, you have his perfect, holy life credited to your account, and you will receive heaven as a free gift when you die. Yes, there will be no more sin in heaven. Through Jesus, you will be holy, because the Lord your God is holy.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your amazing gift. 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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God is Everywhere – February 15, 2018

“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 23:23-24

God is Everywhere


Daily Devotion – February 15, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 23:23-24

See series: Devotions

I woke up in a youth hostel halfway around the world. Frankfurt, Germany was the farthest I had ever been from home. I had a few moments before the day of exploring the city started. I pulled out my little travel Bible from my backpack and determined that I’d read whatever happened to open. What opened? Jeremiah chapter 23.

Verses 23 and 24 jumped out at me. God is EVERYWHERE. God was in Frankfurt. He was on the plane. He was in the United States. The Lord was where I was and everywhere I wasn’t. God is EVERYWHERE at the same time—always.

That can be a scary thought. God is with me when I dole out hate to the people God has called me to love. God is with me when lies tumble off my tongue instead of truth. God is with me when I hide shameful habits from friends and family. Since God is EVERYWHERE, God is witness to every sin of mine.

The Lord who is EVERYWHERE chose to be Immanuel, God with us—true God and true man. The one who is EVERYWHERE chose to be THERE.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, lived in lowly Nazareth, and was baptized in the Jordan River. He healed on hillsides, preached from boats, and taught at the Temple. Jesus chose to stand on trial, to be nailed to a cross just outside Jerusalem, and laid in a nearby tomb. Jesus rose and walked out of that tomb. He strolled and taught his way from Jerusalem to Emmaus with some struggling followers. Our risen Jesus enjoyed a fish breakfast on the beach with his friends, met with over 500 disciples in Galilee, and ascended to heaven. Jesus was there, in all those places, so that we could be forgiven and forever with him there in heaven.

Since we know why and how Jesus was “THERE,” we find great comfort in the fact that the Lord is EVERYWHERE. God is with you everywhere you go, and forgives you and gives you peace. The Lord, your Shepherd, promises to always be with you as he guides you, comforts you, and strengthens you.

No matter where you go, the Lord is there because God is EVERYWHERE.

Prayer:
Lord God, you are EVERYWHERE. Forgive me for every sin you see and know I commit. Give me joy, strength, and peace in your love, forgiveness, and constant presence. Thank you for being everywhere and always with me. Amen.

Prayer:
Lord, you are EVERYWHERE. Forgive me for every sin you see and know I commit. Give me joy, strength and peace in your love, forgiveness and constant presence. Thank you for being everywhere and always with me. Amen.

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

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God’s Work Goes On – February 14, 2018

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what can I do for you before I am taken from you.” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” Elisha replied. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not.” As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more.
2 Kings 2:9-12

God’s Work Goes On


Daily Devotion – February 14, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Kings 2:9-12

See series: Devotions

There were people who knew that it was almost time for Elijah to be taken to heaven. Elijah knew it. Elijah’s helper, Elisha, knew it. So did the young men at the schools of the prophets that Elijah and Elisha met during their last travels together. All of them were aware that soon the Lord would bring to a close the ministry of his prophet Elijah.

So, what did that mean for the work that Elijah had been doing? Elisha already knew that he was chosen to be Elijah’s successor. When Elijah’s ministry was complete, Elisha would become God’s prophet to the people of Israel. But would Elisha have what he needed to proclaim God’s Word to the people of Israel, who were not in any way less idolatrous and rebellious now than they were when Elijah began his ministry?

When it was almost time for him to be taken to heaven, Elijah asked Elisha if there was anything he could do for him before he was taken. Elisha very wisely replied, “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” In that culture, when a father died, his first-born son inherited two portions of his estate. Elisha was asking that he be recognized as Elijah’s heir. He was asking that the Lord would give him what he needed to step into Elijah’s role as God’s prophet. Elijah knew that he himself could not give Elisha what he asked for. But he was confident that God could and would give it, if Elisha saw Elijah taken to heaven.

Suddenly, what everyone was expecting happened. A chariot and horses of fire appeared and separated Elisha from Elijah. And Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha had seen Elijah taken to heaven. Would he also inherit two portions of Elijah’s spirit? Would he be recognized as Elijah’s heir?

Yes, he did. And yes, he was. The Lord fulfilled his promise and was with Elisha just as he had been with Elijah. Strengthened by God, Elisha stepped into Elijah’s role and continued the work of proclaiming God’s Word. God’s work went on.

God’s work continues today. Because he still wants all people to hear the good news of all that he has done for them in Jesus, the Lord continues to call people to proclaim that good news. In every generation, from Elijah all the way until today, the Lord has provided men and women whom he strengthened and equipped for the task of sharing his good news. And he has promised that he will continue to provide more good news proclaimers in every generation until he returns to take his people home. How grateful we are that God’s work goes on, generation after generation! And how thankful we are for those who God has used to bring his good news to us!

Prayer:
Lord God, I praise you that you always make sure that the work of proclaiming your good news goes on. Bless your good news proclaimers so that many more may come to believe 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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