Scams for Your Soul – August 8, 2019

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
Ephesians 4:14

Scams for Your Soul


Daily Devotion – August 8, 2019

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:14

See series: Devotions

The next time you’re in a bookstore, take a quick look through the crime section. You might come across a book entitled, How to Become a Professional Con Artist. The book is written by a retired police officer who spent his career pursuing individuals who deceived people for a living. In his book, the author describes some of the classic scams used by con artists, and why those scams work so well. The book arms you with a good understanding of what is legitimate and what is a fraud. That kind of understanding is necessary so that you are not so vulnerable to every scam out there.

The Apostle Paul makes the same point about any Christian living in this sinful world. There are all kinds of spiritual scams vying for our souls. These scams can come from the world itself, from the devil, or even from our own sinful heads. The difference with these scams is that while other scams are simply out for our money or valuables, scams for our souls are far worse. After all, scams for our souls can be permanent and deadly.

Of all the spiritual scams, perhaps the most dangerous one is this: The notion that even if it’s been years since you’ve studied God’s Word in any serious way, that you’re just too strong of a Christian ever to be deceived.

If that’s what you think, then the Lord warns you that you are being deceived by a very old and dangerous scam.

The solution? The solution is Jesus. Come to him in repentance. Be refreshed in his forgiveness purchased at Calvary’s cross. And then arm yourself in his Word with a renewed sense of seriousness and purpose. For when you do, you will give all the spiritual scam artists in the world a very bad day.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in this world of confusion and lies, you are the Way and the Truth. Empower me by your Spirit to arm myself in your Word. 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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Go and Do Likewise – August 7, 2019

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:37

Go and Do Likewise


Daily Devotion – August 7, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:37

See series: Devotions

A pastor once said in a sermon, “The church is not supposed to be a museum of saints, where we show off. Nor is it a courtroom where we judge the world. The church is a hospital for sinners.” This is because, spiritually speaking, we are like the battered man in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. Our sins have wounded us. We have been stripped naked of our righteousness. We are completely helpless and exposed. Jesus is like the good Samaritan. He comes to bind up our wounds. He comes to clothe us with his love and forgiveness. He pays for our room in his eternal kingdom.

But that is not all Jesus was teaching with his parable. At the end of the Good Samaritan, he told those who were listening, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). In other words, although only Jesus has truly lived like the good Samaritan, he calls us to follow his example. He wants us to be good Samaritans in our lives as well. He wants us to live lives of love in action.

We might think about it this way: We go to the hospital when we are sick, but hopefully, we don’t stay sick. We get better. The same is true with our lives of faith. We go to Jesus with our brokenness and sin, and we leave his presence better than we were before.

Therefore, let Jesus bind up your wounds with his love, then “go and do likewise.”

Prayer:
Jesus, lead me to be like you. Lead me to sacrificially love whoever you put in my path. 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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Who is My Neighbor – August 6, 2019

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:29

Who is My Neighbor


Daily Devotion – August 6, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:29

See series: Devotions

People don’t want to believe they need to be rescued by God. In fact, they will go to great lengths to prove they are good enough for God.

This was the case for a certain religious expert in Jesus’ day. Luke tells us that the man, “… wanted to justify himself.” He wanted to prove that he really wasn’t that bad, that he deserved to be in a right relationship with God. So he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)

In other words, he thought he had lived a good enough life. But just to be sure, he asked Jesus to specify who his neighbor was. So, Jesus launched into the story of the Good Samaritan. The story is about a Jewish man who fell into the hands of robbers while traveling. He was beaten and left nearly dead. Two Jewish men walked by without stopping to help. But a Samaritan man stopped and saved him.

Jesus concluded the story by asking: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (Luke 10:36)

Jesus knew the Jewish man who had come to question him would not have had anything to do with a Samaritan. Jewish people in Jesus’ day despised people from Samaria. Jesus wanted the man to understand that he had not kept God’s laws as well as he thought. Jesus knew that only then would he know that he needed Jesus to save him from his sins.

We need the same reminder. When we get on our spiritual high horse and think that we are good enough for God, we need the Bible to remind us of our sins so that we look to Jesus forgiveness. Thankfully, when we do, he assures us that his perfect life and innocent death earned forgiveness for us.

And, when we wonder how we could ever thank him for such a gift, he tells us to thank him by loving our neighbor—being concerned about and caring for those around us. Look around today. Whom has God brought into your life? That’s your neighbor. Love and serve them. When you do you will be saying, “Thank you, Jesus!”

Prayer:
Lord, help me to love those you bring into my life today. 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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Come to Jesus in Humility – August 5, 2019

“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 10:25

Come to Jesus in Humility


Daily Devotion – August 5, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:25

See series: Devotions

I heard a pastor once say, “Let me tell you the bad news. You are worse than you thought. But now let me tell you the good news. You are more loved than you could possibly imagine.” I don’t like to hear bad news. I would like to think I’m a spiritual all-star. But until I believe that bad news, I will never learn to truly appreciate the good news of Jesus.

That’s why Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. Many of us have probably heard of this story. It’s about a man who helped someone who was robbed and beaten. But I bet most of us don’t remember why Jesus told this story in the first place.

It all started when a religious expert came up to Jesus. This expert wanted to test Jesus. He didn’t come to Jesus with pure motives. He wanted to embarrass Jesus and prove his superiority.

The man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25) If the man really wanted the answer to that question, Jesus would have given it. But he didn’t. The expert had ulterior motives.

So Jesus humbled him, getting him to recite what God demands before we enter into his holy presence. Namely, we are to love God perfectly and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Then Jesus responded, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28).

Jesus was saying, “Sure, go for it. If you can pull this off, you will have eternal life. Love the Lord your God with everything you have all the time, and love everybody around you.”

Instead of Jesus being put to the test, Jesus put the man’s conscience to the test. Jesus was challenging him to see how far short of God’s standard he had fallen.

We need to hear the same message. We need to be aware of our shortcomings and sins. Then we will come to Jesus in humility and receive his message of love and grace.

Prayer:
Lord God, forgive me for my arrogance. Show me your love in Jesus Christ. 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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Living in the Light – August 4, 2019

(The Father) has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:12-14

Living in the Light


Daily Devotion – August 4, 2019

Devotion based on Colossians 1:12-14

See series: Devotions

Five-year-old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go in alone. “It’s dark in there and I’m scared.” She asked again, and he persisted. Finally she said, “It’s OK—Jesus will be in there with you.” Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said: “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?” (Charles Allen, Victory in the Valleys)

Many people, like Johnny, are afraid of the dark. It is frightening not to know what’s out there waiting for you, what might jump out to grab you.

Those who do not know Jesus spend their lives in spiritual darkness. They don’t know what tragedy might jump out to grab them on any given day. They don’t know what is waiting for them when they face death one day. All of us were born this way. We did not know who God is or how we might know him.

Since we cannot find God, he finds us. He reaches out to us in the darkness and pulls us into the light of Jesus Christ. Seeing Jesus means seeing God. In Jesus, we see that God loves us and forgives us. We no longer need to be afraid of what is waiting for us when we face death. We have eternal life. We no longer need to fear what will happen in this life. We have an all-powerful Lord who loves us. How good it is to live in the light!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for rescuing me from the darkness of sin and unbelief. Bathe me in the light of your truth until I see you face to face. 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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Life is About the Cross – August 3, 2019

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 6:14

Life is About the Cross


Daily Devotion – August 3, 2019

Devotion based on Galatians 6:14

See series: Devotions

Most of you have probably never heard of a man by the name of Christian Hosoi. In the world of competitive skateboarding, however, Christian Hosoi is a legend. Already in his early teens, he was doing things with a skateboard no one else could do. With early success came fame. With fame came commercial endorsements. With commercial endorsements came lots of money. And when all of this mingled with a reckless, pleasure-seeking lifestyle, Christian Hosoi found himself in the middle of his own self-made universe. Life was about him. It was that simple.

Then his universe collapsed. His finances took a serious downturn. Substance abuse consumed him. Finally, authorities arrested him at an airport for transporting drugs. He received a sentence of 10 years in prison.

Behind bars, one day he had an opportunity to talk to a close friend by phone. Her advice was simple. “Find a Bible,” she said. “Find a Bible and read it.” He did. At first, it was slow going, but then he read about King David’s downfall and God’s forgiveness. That kept him reading. And he kept right on reading until the Word of God brought him to the foot of the cross, the message of what God had done for him through the life and death of Jesus Christ. For the first time in his life, life was not about him. Instead, his life was about something far better.

You and I don’t need to face prison time in order to acknowledge that, very often, our lives have revolved around us. The devil wants us to think that way. The sinful culture around us and our own sinful nature wants us to think that way.

The Apostle Paul had once thought that way too. But the Lord Jesus intervened, and Paul’s life began to be about something far better. “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paul says. Forgiven through faith in Jesus, you and I can echo his words.

Prayer:
Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for all the times I have allowed my life to be about me. Move me by your Spirit to embrace the reality that my life is about the cross. My life is about you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Given Strength – August 2, 2019

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, . . . I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12,13

God Given Strength


Daily Devotion – August 2, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 4:12,13

See series: Devotions

God wants us to always be content. But even after we learn the secret of being content, few of us live it. It is so easy to think that we will finally be happy when we get this or finally earn enough for that.

Discontent flows from envy, jealousy, worry, and fear. But when we remember the secret of being content those things disappear. God gives us everything we need, right now.

Paul believed that. That made him content at his richest and his poorest. But Paul did not reach such contentment on his own. Paul confessed, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Paul could cope with any and every situation only because Jesus gave him such strength.

Jesus gives you this same strength. Because in Jesus, you have everything you need. Remember, Jesus lived, died, and rose for you. You are forgiven. That is the one thing truly needed and you have it.

As awesome as your earthly blessings may be, they are just that, earthly—good only for today and your time here on earth. But when you die the only blessing that will matter is forgiveness in Christ. That blessing is the difference between heaven and hell. That blessing goes with you beyond the grave into eternity.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for forgiveness, and thank you for everything else. Please give me the strength to always be content. 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 Secret of Being Content – August 1, 2019

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. . . . My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:12,19

The Secret of Being Content


Daily Devotion – August 1, 2019

Devotion based on Philippians 4:12,19

See series: Devotions

This verse is surprising when you realize where the apostle Paul was when he wrote it. Paul was in prison in Rome waiting for his trial. He was “in chains for Christ” (Philippians 1:13) because his crime was telling people about Christ. Execution was a possibility, and all he had done was tell people about Jesus.

So how could Paul be content? His life was so unfair. He didn’t have a home. He couldn’t do his mission work. He didn’t have enough to be content!

But contentment is not getting what you want. Contentment is wanting what you’ve got.

This is why Paul wrote what he did: “I have learned the secret of being content.” He had to be taught to be okay with what he had because it is not something that comes naturally. God had to teach him.

Once he learned the secret, Paul could be content in any and every situation. Whether sitting down to feast or eating prison rations. Whether sleeping in a bed or shackled to a guard. Paul’s contentment was completely independent of what he had or where he was.

So what is the secret of being content? What do we need to learn to be content in any and every situation? Here is Paul’s answer: “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

The secret of being content is believing that God is the Provider. God will give you exactly what you need. God will provide plenty when you need it. He will let you be in need when you need it. God will always provide exactly what you need at exactly the right time.

You can be sure of this because God has already provided what you needed most. He provided his Son, Jesus, who paid the price for your sins so that you now stand before God forgiven. Knowing that you are a forgiven child of God means you can be content, whatever your situation.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for meeting all of my needs. Help me to be content. 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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Watch Satan Fall – July 31, 2019

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. . . . However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17,18,20

Watch Satan Fall


Daily Devotion – July 31, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:17,18,20

See series: Devotions

How’s that for a thrill? Satan falls from the heights of power back to the abyss, as suddenly as lightning cracks from heaven to earth. Why? Because Jesus sent seventy-two workers into his harvest field to preach the good news of God’s forgiveness, and it renders Satan powerless.

The word Satan means accuser. Satan earned his name by accusing you of your sins before God. His power is destroyed because he has nothing to accuse you of. Jesus lived, died, and rose for you; therefore your sins are gone. The gospel tells you so.

And whenever people believe the gospel, the devil falls. Watch it. Every time a pastor’s hand dips into the font and pours a cleansing baptismal flood over someone, Satan falls like lightning. Every time you tell someone, “I forgive you, and God forgives you too,” Satan falls like lightning. Whenever you receive forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper, Satan falls like lightning. When you offer your money, your time, and your prayers to support God’s kingdom, Satan falls like lightning.

But as awesome as it is to know that Satan is falling, Jesus reminds you of what you should really be happy about: “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” That is cause for joy. The name of every believer in Jesus is written in heaven.

This is why the Father sent his Son into the world, and this is why the Son sends workers into his harvest field: to tell more and more people this good news.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for removing my sins and writing my name 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Confident Because of Peace – July 30, 2019

[Jesus said] “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.”
Luke 10:3-7

Confident Because of Peace


Daily Devotion – July 30, 2019

Devotion based on Luke 10:3-7

See series: Devotions

Imagine going on a long trip with no wallet, luggage, or supplies of any kind. People would call you crazy to travel so unprepared.

Likewise, it seems foolish for Jesus to send seventy-two disciples ahead of him with no earthly provisions. Jesus even warned them of the difficulty when he said that they would be like lambs among wolves.

But he also promised that their needs will be met. When they arrived at a town, they could trust that God would provide for them. People would respond to their message by welcoming them with a place to stay and something to eat and drink. In other words, the disciples could be content because all their physical needs would be met as they went about their work in the Lord’s harvest field.

Do you see how their actions reflect on Jesus? Their contentment showed how great their Savior is because he is the One who made them content. Their lack of concern about earthly things—even the most basic needs of food and shelter—showed that they had a message more important than food and drink.

Their message was peace – the same message Jesus shares with you this day. All is right between you and God. In Jesus, you have the unconditional pardon of everything that you’ve ever done wrong. You are forgiven. When you stand before God, he sees you as absolutely perfect. You have freedom from the condemnation that you deserve. And in its place, you get a free pass to eternal life.

That is how you can be content. You have peace. Your eternity is guaranteed. And your present is provided for. You can have confidence as you go about your work in the Lord’s harvest field.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, make me confident that I have your peace now and forever. Amen.

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