All The Light We Need – May 26, 2019

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
Revelation 21:23

All The Light We Need


Daily Devotion – May 26, 2019

Devotion based on Revelation 21:23

See series: Devotions

If you ever want to experience darkness, get in your car some cloudy night and put an hour or two between yourself and the nearest town, pull off on some side road, stop your car and turn off your lights. Without street lights, traffic lights, billboard lights, or lights from apartments and homes, the darkness is truly dark.

That’s the nighttime darkness the Apostle John knew when the Lord allowed him to see a revelation of heaven. It was a beautiful city without sun or moon, and yet those who lived there had all the light they needed. The light came from the Lamb of God, Christ himself.

Thanks to Mr. Edison you and I have all kinds of ways to pierce the darkness of night. When it comes to the darkness of sin, however, well that’s another matter. Out of the darkness of our sin comes the darkness of fear, despair, bitterness, failure, guilt, grief, and death.

If we look within ourselves to pierce such darkness, more darkness is all we’ll find.

That’s why the only answer is Jesus, the one who conquered the darkness of our sin through the cross and the empty tomb.

Therefore, you and I don’t have to be afraid anymore. We have Jesus. And Jesus is all the light we need.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, in this world of darkness, you are my light. Empower me by your Gospel to bask in your light always. 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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Limitless Love – May 25, 2019

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34

Limitless Love


Daily Devotion – May 25, 2019

Devotion based on John 13:34

See series: Devotions

The thing about love is that it almost always has limits.

You might really love someone or something, but there is probably a limit to that love. You may love a certain food, but you will only pay so much for it. Perhaps you love a certain sports team, but after so many losing seasons you may just give up. Even in a marriage, one of the more infinite loves, we say our vows with, “Till death do us part.”

Even though almost every love we know has its bounds, we still crave truly limitless and unconditional love—a love without any end.

God filled our desire for limitless love by sending Jesus to win eternal life for us. God didn’t set a limit or an end to his love. With his limitless love Jesus came to live and die for us to take away our sins and to win for us a place before God forever. This love will never end.

In response to his love for us, God commands us to love one another as he has loved us.

How can we do that? We can do the kinds of things that will make sure even death will not limit our love. If you want to love your spouse, pray for and encourage their faith. If you want to love your children, make sure that they grow up in a place where their faith can be nurtured. If you want to love your neighbors, do the kinds of things that allow you to share with them the hope you have in Jesus. Helping those you love to be in the Word of Christ and to follow his commands is one of the greatest expressions of love, because it is the only thing that is truly limitless.

God loved you in the ultimate way by winning eternity for you. Go and love others by sharing that message with them.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for loving me so much that you sent Jesus. Help me to love with the limitless love you have shown to me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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House Colors – May 24, 2019

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35

House Colors


Daily Devotion – May 24, 2019

Devotion based on John 13:35

See series: Devotions

Olympic athletes wear the colors of their country. Ships fly the colors of their country. Traditionally, houses of nobility each had their own house colors. Harry Potter readers and viewers will remember the four houses at Hogwarts School—each with its own unique set of colors.

Jesus tells us to fly our house colors. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

When we show Christ-like love for each other, the people around us can see our house colors as clearly as a flag fluttering in the wind. They can see that we belong to the household of faith. They can see that we belong to Jesus.

The goal is not simply to identify ourselves to the world around us. The goal is to invite others from the world around us to wonder. What motivates this kind of selfless love? Where does it come from? Why is it so strong? Why do these believers love so freely, without compulsion or legalistic enforcement? What makes these people so kind?

On the flip side, when believers don’t demonstrate Christ-like love, it can be damaging. People get a bad impression of what believers are like and what belonging to Jesus is like. Lord, forgive your people for not flying your colors more boldly and truly.

Just think of Jesus. Think of what it means to belong to him. Forgiveness through his cross. Eternal hope through his promises. Victory over death, through his victory over death. What a joy and a blessing to belong to Jesus and his family of faith. Wear his colors. Fly his flag. Show his love.

When others see our love for each other, they will also see Jesus and his love. Christians, fly your house colors!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, what a tremendous joy and gift to belong to you! Thank you for your selfless love. Help me also to fly those colors in my life, that others may see you through me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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While He Is Away – May 23, 2019

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:33,34

While He Is Away


Daily Devotion – May 23, 2019

Devotion based on John 13:33,34

See series: Devotions

“There is a list of chores on the refrigerator,” says mom to the kids as she rushes out of the house on the way to work. “I expect them to be finished when I get home.” Although she is not with her children that day, her instructions are.

Jesus knew he was going away. He was soon going to return to his rightful place at his Father’s side in heaven. He wanted his disciples to know what he wanted them to be doing while he was away. He wanted them to love one another.

It would not be easy. Jesus’ disciples were sinful men—men filled with selfishness and pride, both of which are the enemies of love.

It is still not easy. Jesus’ disciples, including you and me, are still filled with selfishness and pride. Our selfishness screams at us to serve our own needs rather than others. Our pride proclaims that we are better than those around us and so they don’t deserve our love.

But then we look at Jesus. We see him hanging on a cross our sins deserve. We see him serving those who didn’t deserve a lick of his love. And, witnessing what he has done to save us from our sins and serving us in spite of those sins, we are transformed. We are empowered to serve selflessly—even those who do not deserve it. And, suddenly, we find ourselves carrying out his command, doing what he wants us to be doing while he is away—loving one another.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your selfless sacrifice and service. May they be my motivation to carry out your command. Let me love those you bring into my life this day. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Not So New Assignment – May 22, 2019

“A new command I give you: Love one another.”
John 13:34

A Not So New Assignment


Daily Devotion – May 22, 2019

Devotion based on John 13:34

See series: Devotions

Back in the old days, there was a TV show called Mission Impossible. Each episode would introduce a new assignment given to the main character on a recording. It was top secret. The recording would self-destruct after revealing the assignment. If anything went sideways, the shadowy figures who had given the assignment would disavow any knowledge of it.

The night before his death, Jesus gave his disciples a new assignment. Unlike those on Mission Impossible, this assignment isn’t a secret. It is his assignment for all of his people of all time— “Love one another!”

“But,” you might be thinking: “That’s not new. God has always wanted his people to love others.” True. When Jesus said this command was new, he meant it was being renewed. It needed to be renewed because it had been so obscured by the religious establishment of his day. They had turned their relationship with God into a system of works—doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in order to make themselves right with God.

But we can never be right with God by trying to do the right thing or keep the commands of God. As sinners, we fall short. We stumble and fail.

Jesus came to renew, refresh, recreate, and restore our relationship with God. Jesus lived a human life, but new and improved—not sinful, but sinless; not imperfect, but perfect; not stumbling, failing, or falling, but succeeding perfectly in his life before God. Through faith in Jesus and what he has so perfectly done, we are restored to a right relationship with God. A new and improved relationship with God.

In this newly refurbished and restored relationship with God, we trust in him, not our own goodness. We look to serve him, not ourselves. Our goal is to love others, even at our own expense.

It is the same old command: love one another. But we take on this assignment as if it’s brand new. Because in Jesus, we are brand new.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for restoring my relationship with God by doing perfectly what I could not do. Continue to renew me, refresh me, restore me, that I may follow your new command in new life, with new strength. 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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House Rules – May 21, 2019

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34

House Rules


Daily Devotion – May 21, 2019

Devotion based on John 13:34

See series: Devotions

Every house needs house rules: a set of agreed upon rules for how people living in the house behave. For example, many families adopt the rule: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Jesus gives us the main house rule for living in his family of faith: “Love one another.” A simple rule. A good rule. It isn’t a complex set of instructions or a complicated flowchart to follow. It simply commands believers: love one another.

If only it were that simple. If only we could just hear Jesus say it, and then do it. If only our hearts and lives would simply be governed by love. If only we would lay ourselves down for each other. Unfortunately, we often love ourselves more than we love one another.

But thankfully, Jesus has broken the power of selfishness and self-centeredness. Jesus lovingly put thoughts of self aside and laid down his life for our benefit. Jesus took all our sin and guilt on himself and removed it forever when he went to the cross.

Imagine that! There is someone whose entire reason for living was to benefit you! To help you! To save you! There is someone that loves you and cares about you even more than you love or care about yourself!

With your sin and guilt taken care of, you are free to focus on loving others. You are free to love others as Jesus loves you. You are free to follow Jesus’ house rule: Love one another.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, set me free from my sinful self-love and self-centered attitudes. By your selfless love in your life and death, forgive me and help me to trust you for all my needs. Move me to focus on lovingly filling the needs of others. 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 House That Love Built – May 20, 2019

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34

The House That Love Built


Daily Devotion – May 20, 2019

Devotion based on John 13:34

See series: Devotions

When I was younger, I remember visiting McDonald’s and seeing a little plastic coin bin on the counter. It said, “The house that love built.” The coins would go to support the Ronald McDonald house. Love for those people, in the form of coins given, built a house for those young cancer patients and their families to stay in during treatments.

It’s not hard to love cancer patients and their families. Those are clearly people who need love, help, and support. But what about people who aren’t so lovable? What about us? We like to think of ourselves as pretty lovable. But truth be told, we do not love God as he commands. And, we do not love others as ourselves. Because of our sinful attitudes and actions, we are neither loving nor lovable.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We are the recipients of something better than coins. We get to live in the house that love built—not a physical building, but a spiritual home where we live by faith. When we were lost in sin, Jesus found us and brought us home. When we were in trouble with God, Jesus took our sins away and forgave us. When we were dead in sin, Jesus loved us, welcomed us into his family, and gave us a loving home.

Now, Jesus tells us, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Remembering Jesus’ sacrifice for you, sacrifice your own wishes and desires in order to love and serve those around you today. It will show the world that, thanks to Jesus, you live in the spiritual house that love built.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your rich, selfless love. You loved me when I was unlovable. You gave me a loving home, where I have forgiveness from you. Teach me to love as you have loved me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Victory – May 19, 2019

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell 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 21:3-5

The Victory


Daily Devotion – May 19, 2019

Devotion based on Revelation 21:3-5

See series: Devotions

Individuals with dark hearts set off explosions that kill, maim, and injure dozens of people. Flooding destroys farmland and cripples a local economy. A distracted driver loses control and runs down a young student. Sometimes it seems that everywhere we turn we find destruction and heartache in our world.

What a beautiful comfort it is to know that one day that will all change. One day our all-powerful and living Savior will make everything new.

Right now, sin, death, and the devil have a firm hold on this world. We see the effects of their devastating attacks all around us. The war is fierce, and at times it certainly seems as though evil is winning. In the end, however, Jesus is victorious.

In fact, the victory has already been won. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, Satan’s power to accuse and condemn us was destroyed. His accusations are empty because our sin has been removed by the blood of Jesus. When he rose from the grave, he destroyed the power of death.

In the end, the victory Jesus won will be fully experienced by all who believe in him. In heaven, all of the evils of this world will not even be a distant memory—they will be gone forever.

We can persevere through all the hardships of this world with our eyes focused on Jesus. He has won the victory for us, and one day, he will make everything new.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, lift my eyes from the pain of this world to see the victory you have won for me. Help me to look forward with eager anticipation to the glory of my heavenly home where everything will be made new. 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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God Knows Who You Are – May 18, 2019

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
John 10:27,28

God Knows Who You Are


Daily Devotion – May 18, 2019

Devotion based on John 10:27,28

See series: Devotions

If you have ever had to be picked up from an airport or train station, you know that weird feeling as you walk out of the terminal into the crowd of people who are all there waiting for someone. You quickly scan the room as you search for the person who knows you. You are counting on them being there and so, for a moment, you hope that they didn’t forget, got stuck in traffic, or just didn’t show up. And there is a feeling of relief and joy when you finally make eye contact with the one person in the crowd who knows you, who is there to pick you up, and take you where you need to go.

It is easy to look at the crowds of people who make up our life and wonder, does anyone know us? Sometimes it seems that even our own close friends don’t know us, and our own family doesn’t understand us.

The good news is that as we look through the crowds of this life, we see one person who does know us—Jesus Christ. He knows who we are, and he knows our fears. He knows our strengths, and he knows our sins. He knows our past, and he knows our future.

The really good news is that, even though he knows us, he still loves us. Jesus laid down his life for us that we may have eternal life. He died and lives again to show us the full extent of his love for us. He invites us to hear his voice and to follow him.

The best part is that he has a plan to pick you up and take you where you need to go. He promises that no one will snatch you out of his hand and you will have an eternal life that will never perish.

Jesus knows you and he will take you home.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for your Son Jesus who knows me, who saved me, and who gives me eternal life. Give me faith and confidence in Jesus and help me to hear his voice and to follow him. 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 Lamb is My Shepherd – May 17, 2019

“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
Revelation 7:17

The Lamb is My Shepherd


Daily Devotion – May 17, 2019

Devotion based on Revelation 7:17

See series: Devotions

The headlines on Easter Sunday were a harsh reminder of life in this sinful world.

Half a world away, in Sri Lanka, over 300 people died or were injured by bombs detonated by an extremist Islamic group. Moments before the blasts, the Sunday school children of Zion Church in Batticaloa all professed their undying faith in Jesus Christ.

On the same day, newspapers ran an article about the death of the Christian faith. According to a recent poll, church membership in the United States has hit an all-time low.

Do such stories surprise us? As the psalmist says, even the best of our days is struggle and sorrow. We have all our hearts broken or our dreams shattered. It’s a good reminder for us not to build our hopes on them.

Don’t dream about what your life on earth could be; and don’t despair of what it isn’t. Put your hope in the Lamb and focus on where he is leading you. Look at the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He went uncomplaining forth to death to open the way to eternal life. In view of the joy set before him, he endured the cross, disregarded its shame, and sat down on God’s throne.

From there, the Lamb shepherds us through death to life. He leads us to the living water of Word and sacrament and invites us to drink deeply. He connects us to his death and resurrection in baptism’s water so we too may live. He gives us forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper to assure us that we shall not perish but have eternal life.

This life will inevitably bring broken hearts and shattered dreams. But because the Lamb is your Shepherd, you can leave your water bottles and tissue boxes here on earth. He is leading you to a paradise were sin and all its problems are a thing of the past.

Prayer:
Christ be my Savior in calm as in strife; death cannot hold me, for he is the life. Nor darkness nor doubting nor sin and its stain can touch my salvation: with Jesus I reign. 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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