Stand in the Son – May 14, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. . . . I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:1,6

Stand in the Son


Daily Devotion – May 14, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:1,6

See series: Devotions

A patient walks into the doctor’s office. The doctor says, “You are deathly ill. The good news is you can get well. You just need to spend some time in the sun.”

The patient replies, “Is this a joke? I’m fine. I feel a little off, but I can take care of it with diet and exercise. You could always just give me a prescription. If it is really bad, you could always perform surgery.”

“No,” the doctor responds, “I’ve studied this illness extensively, and I specialize in treating it. I’ve successfully cured hundreds of people. There is only one way to take care of it: If you don’t want to suffer a horrible end, then stand in the sun.”

The patient stands up abruptly, and as he walks out of the room, he says gruffly, “That may be your truth, but it’s not mine. I’m going to find my own way to save my life.”

It would be tragic, wouldn’t it, for someone to lose his life simply because he didn’t like the cure his doctor provided? It is even more tragic when someone loses eternal life in heaven simply because they don’t like the cure for sin that God has provided.

We all need a cure for sin. You see, we are all sinful by nature. It is a spiritual disease we ignore at our peril. And we can’t prescribe our own cure. We can’t cut out the problem.

We need the Son—not the sun in the sky but God’s Son who hung on a cross to pay the price for our sins, the Son who rose from the grave to prove that he had cured even death itself. We need Jesus. Jesus is the only cure for sin and death.

Are you troubled by your sin? Are you troubled by the thought of your death?

Stand in the Son. You won’t regret it.

Prayer:
Jesus, you are the way, the truth, and the life. I trust in you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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I Will be Back – May 13, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. . . . If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:1,3

I Will be Back


Daily Devotion – May 13, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:1,3

See series: Devotions

“Why are you leaving? Don’t you love us? We need you! How will we go on without you?”

Father was about to board a plane. He was going across the ocean to a distant and unfamiliar land. But it was a better place than the one they lived in now. He was going there to find steady employment, build a home, and set up a good life for his family. He would be gone for a long time. But he assured his wife and children, “When everything is ready, I will come and get you. Then we will be together always.” The promise of a better life lived together sustained the family during the difficult days while father was away.

The same is true for followers of Jesus. He has ascended to heaven, where he is preparing a far better life for us. When we face difficult days in this world—when a loved one dies, a relationship ends, a job is lost, or a virus spreads across the globe.

During those difficult days, remember the promise Jesus gave the night before his death. He said that our hearts do not need to be troubled because he is preparing a place for us, and he will come back one day to take us there.

And we will be with the Lord forever!

Prayer:
Come, Lord Jesus! I look forward to a better life lived together with you and all of your people. 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 Place for You – May 12, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. . . . My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
John 14:1,2

A Place for You


Daily Devotion – May 12, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:1,2

See series: Devotions

“A man’s home is his castle, and each man’s home is his safest refuge.” That may sound like an endorsement for current “Safer at Home” rules. However, English judge and politician, Sir Edward Coke, penned that law in the 1600s. According to that law, no one may enter another’s home without an invitation.

Perhaps, after weeks of self-isolation, your home feels more like a prison than a palace. Perhaps you are living alone and long for fellowship with friends and family. Perhaps you are living with your family but have discovered that being together for so long can strain relationships as nerves fray and patience runs out. As comfortable and comforting as home can be, earthly homes are not perfect places.

But such a perfect place does exist. It is a heavenly home being prepared by Jesus himself. But you cannot just walk in. And he cannot just let you in. Because it is a perfect place, anything imperfect cannot enter. And, sadly, every one of us is imperfect. Thankfully, Jesus paid for our imperfection by going to the cross. He promises to cover his followers in his own perfection so that we are able to enter the perfect heavenly home he is preparing for us.

Discontent, disease, and disagreements are not going to be part of that home. Jesus has made sure of it.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to earth that I may have a place 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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Do Not be Troubled – May 11, 2020

[Jesus said] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”
John 14:1

Do Not be Troubled


Daily Devotion – May 11, 2020

Devotion based on John 14:1

See series: Devotions

What’s troubling you?

It is hard not to be troubled about something these days. We have had to cancel plans. We have postponed or altered significant life events. We have lost jobs. We have watched friends or family contract and succumb to COVID19. And there’s nothing we can do to change the situation. We aren’t in control. This tiny virus has affected every aspect of our every-day lives. No doubt, it is bound to affect our future way of life too.

It’s troubling.

But then Jesus speaks over our anxiety and distress: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” There is great comfort in believing in the God who created the world. It means that he is more powerful than any pandemic. There is blessed assurance in believing in the God who so loves the world. It means that he gave us his Son to rescue us from all our troubles.

Don’t be troubled.

Jesus came to calm our troubled hearts. He took away the troubles of experienced fishermen by quieting a raging storm. He took away wedding troubles by changing water into wine. He took away hunger troubles by feeding thousands on a few loaves and fish. In fact, he took away every trouble that sin and death caused by overcoming them on the cross. He suffered the judgment we earned for our sins. And he silenced death by rising from the grave.

What do you want to do when trouble comes your way?

Do not let your heart be troubled by guilt. Believe in God who forgives you for Jesus’ sake. Do not let your hearts be troubled by death. Believe in God who gives eternal life to all who believe in his Son. Do not let your heart be troubled by anything else. Believe in God who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Jesus, you know my troubles. As you took care of the world’s troubles on the cross, I believe that you are taking care of my troubles now. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Peace be With You – May 10, 2020

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:19

Peace be With You


Daily Devotion – May 10, 2020

Devotion based on John 20:19

See series: Devotions

So, what makes you nervous? What brings fear to your heart or anxiety? I would think that the possibility that your life could be in danger would make you afraid. Of course, guilt is powerful, too. A guilty conscience can cause lots of anxiety, lots of nervousness.

On Easter Sunday evening, Jesus’ followers had both issues. First, they thought their lives might have been on the line. After all, the Jewish religious leaders had put Jesus to death—how hard would it be for them to get the disciples? Additionally, they were struggling with guilt. For whatever reason, they hadn’t quite gotten it, hadn’t paid attention when Jesus told them he’d rise from the dead. Then, they got several reports that he HAD risen. If he really had, how would he deal with them? In anger and judgment?

Here is what the Bible says happened: “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19,20).

In the place of fear, there was now forgiveness. Why? Because of the reality that Jesus had really died, Jesus had really risen. The sight of Jesus’ nail-scarred (but risen!) hands drove fear out of their hearts!

So picture Jesus: He’s standing in front of you, smiling, hands outstretched. You can see the nail scars on his hands. He says to you, “Peace be with you.” There in his word of peace, in his nail-scarred, risen hands—is the antidote to fear, all fear. For there, in the hands and words of Jesus—there is forgiveness.

Prayer:
Ah Jesus, my risen Savior, often I’m nervous and afraid. Forgive me! Focus my attention on your nail-scarred, risen hands, that I might see clearly that my sins are forgiven, and that I’m at peace with 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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Pray Boldly – May 9, 2020

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

Pray Boldly


Daily Devotion – May 9, 2020

Devotion based on James 5:16

See series: Devotions

I remember counseling a 16-year-old boy about a problem he was having. I asked if he had prayed about it, and he nonchalantly answered, “I haven’t prayed in three years.” When I asked him why, he replied, “Because God is going to do what he’s going to do whether I pray or not.”

He had a point. God says in Isaiah 46:10, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” So why bother to pray?

Because God promises that our prayers make a difference. James 5:16 tells us: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” The Bible tells us about times when prayer had a direct impact on things. For example, God told a man named Hezekiah that it was time for him to die. Hezekiah prayed for God to spare his life and God healed him and gave him 15 more years to live (2 Kings:20).

But wait. That just doesn’t make sense. How can the God who plans and controls the future tell us that our prayers affect what he does and what happens? I have no clue. But that’s ok. All I need to know is that I can trust God. And if he tells me that my prayers make a difference, then I know they make a difference.

So, pray boldly, even if you can’t fully understand how your prayers synch with God’s sovereign will. Pray boldly, not because you fully understand how prayer works, but because you are fully convinced in Jesus Christ that God loves you.

Prayer:
Lord, I am amazed that you give me the privilege to pray and promise that my prayers make a difference. Help me to be confident that you will hear and answer when I 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, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Not a Stranger – May 8, 2020

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:27

Not a Stranger


Daily Devotion – May 8, 2020

Devotion based on Luke 24:27

See series: Devotions

Here’s a vivid picture. It goes like this. The Old Testament Scriptures—the books of the Bible written centuries before Jesus’ birth—give hundreds of prophecies regarding the promised Savior from sin. Jesus fulfilled all of them. Someone who did the math says that the chance of one person fulfilling just 8 of those prophecies by sheer coincidence is the equivalent to the following scene. Imagine the state of Texas covered in two feet of silver dollars, with one silver dollar marked. Blindfold one person. Tell that person to wade through all those silver dollars and to pick up the marked silver dollar on the very first try.

You get the point. When we let the Scriptures speak for themselves, the Scriptures shout, loudly, that Jesus is the promised Messiah; that Jesus is the One; that Jesus is the One who came to live a holy life as our substitute and paid for our sins in full at the cross.

Which brings us to an episode that Luke records in Chapter 24. When you have the chance, read the entire chapter. Luke describes what is happening. It is Easter Sunday. Two of Jesus’ disciples are walking from Jerusalem to a neighboring village. They are sad, confused, and their minds are a blur. They both thought that Jesus was the promised Christ, but now they don’t know what to think. All they know for sure is that Jesus was dead—dead and buried. But now there are claims swirling around about Jesus’ tomb being empty, about angels announcing that he’s alive.

As they walk along, discussing all this, a man begins walking with them. He asks what they’re talking about, and they immediately pour their hearts out about Jesus. In reply, the man cites passages from the Old Testament Scriptures. He does this to show them that Jesus has fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies. He does this to convince them that Jesus is the One. Shortly thereafter, they realize that their new traveling companion is Jesus himself!

It’s all there in the Scriptures. Let them speak. Let them shout!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to me. Let them speak. Let them shout. 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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Stranger – May 7, 2020

Live your lives as strangers here.
1 Peter 1:17

Stranger


Daily Devotion – May 7, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:17

See series: Devotions

There’s an old theme that runs through a lot of storytelling. The theme is that of the stranger who enters people’s lives, touches their lives, and then moves on. Think of the classic western, Shane, where Shane enters the lives of a farming family, defeats the bad guys on the family’s behalf, and then rides away. Think of the old TV series, The Fugitive, where Dr. Richard Kimble, a wrongly-accused but innocent man, comes across someone in need, helps that person, then departs. You can even see science fiction with this theme. Think of that the next time you watch ET: The Extraterrestrial.

It should probably come as no surprise to us that a lot of ageless themes like this are ageless because they echo themes from the greatest story of all—a story that happens to be true. Jesus Christ came into our world and lived among us. As he did, however, he did not get caught up in the temporary distractions of this world. Instead, he kept his eyes fixed on why he was here. He was here to rescue us from the curse of our sin, then go home to prepare a place for us. This he did when he lived a life of perfect love on our behalf. When he suffered and died for our every sin. When he rose from death, and his visible presence ascended into heaven.

And now here we are, fully forgiven through faith in Jesus. Knowing that, through faith in Christ, heaven is our home. With all this in mind, the apostle Peter tells us, “Live your lives as strangers here.” When we live our lives as strangers in this tired, old world, we remember that everything here is temporary and is passing away. When we live our lives as strangers here, we are then free to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord. And when we live our lives as strangers here, we know that the best is yet to come.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, here I am only passing through. Help me to remember this. 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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Easter Consequences – May 6, 2020

“‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”
Acts 24:21

Easter Consequences


Daily Devotion – May 6, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 24:21

See series: Devotions

You are standing on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in a park containing the ruins of the ancient city of Caesarea. Even now the ruins are beautiful. But go back 2,000 years and look again. What you see around you is breathtaking. You see a bustling seaport with a superb artificial harbor. Individuals of every background are going to and fro. Vendors are everywhere. For entertainment, there are athletic contests, gladiator competitions, theater performances. And there are lots of people. Caesarea’s population at this time is an impressive 125,000.

It’s also a seat of government for the Roman Empire. Walk over to the hall where the Roman governor is hearing a case. Standing before him is a man who has endured some difficult days. The man’s name is Paul. Paul has been proclaiming the Good News of Jesus back in Jerusalem. But Jerusalem’s religious leaders so detest Paul and his message that they have him arrested. And now here Paul stands, before the Roman governor in Caesarea.

Paul’s accusers have just gotten done talking. They have cobbled together all kinds of accusations against Paul, trying to paint Paul in the worst possible light. But now it’s Paul’s turn. As he speaks before the governor, Paul walks through the accusations against him, neutralizing them one-by-one. But then he touches on the real reason he is in Caesarea today. In so many words, he acknowledges that he is on trial in Caesarea because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.

2,000 years later, the great Caesarea lies in ruins. But some things remain the same. Christians still encounter pushback for what they proclaim. The Good News of Jesus is still a target, not just from a fallen world, but also from the devil and our own, old, fallen, sinful selves. And that’s all right. It’s all right because, through faith in Jesus, forgiveness is ours. Through faith in Jesus, heaven is ours. Through faith in Jesus, our lives now pulsate with meaning, purpose, joy. And this is so because Jesus has risen from the dead.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as I encounter consequences to your resurrection, move me to meet them with courage and joy. 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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Far Away – May 5, 2020

The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.
Acts 2:39

Far Away


Daily Devotion – May 5, 2020

Devotion based on Acts 2:39

See series: Devotions

In 1978, a research helicopter was flying low over a remote forest in Siberia. As the pilot made his observations, he saw something he never expected to see. He saw a human settlement. And that’s how the outside world first learned of the Lykov family.

In the 1930s, Karp Lykov and his very young family traveled deep, deep into the Siberian Wilderness to escape the persecution of Joseph Stalin. They were still there in 1978. The Lykov family was so distant from civilization that the family knew nothing about television, the moon landing, or even about World War II.

None of us have ever experienced such physical separation for such a long period of time. Most of us, however, have felt distance of a different kind. Many factors can cause this different kind of felt distance. Perhaps I’ve said some things I never should have said. Perhaps I’ve left undone some things I should have done. Perhaps, for reasons unknown, others have kept me at arms’ length. Perhaps it’s a combination of all these factors and more. Whatever the cause, most of us know what it’s like to feel far away from others. Even more so, most of us know what it’s like to feel far away from God.

This is where Jesus enters the picture. So great is his love for you and me that the Son of God came here to walk among us. In fact, he became one of us. On our behalf, he demonstrated perfect faithfulness in every relationship. Then he carried our sins of unfaithfulness to the cross, where, in our place, he experienced the greatest isolation ever felt in all eternity. And after his death, to assure us that he is here and we are not alone, Jesus rose. Now, through faith in him, we possess his full forgiveness. And he is by our side.

By the way, in the Lykov home there was a well-read Bible. In Jesus’ eyes, they were not far away at all.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, at those times when I feel far away from you, remind me through your word that I’m not. 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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