The Stone was Moved – April 2, 2018

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb, and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
Mark 16:2,3

The Stone was Moved


Daily Devotion – April 2, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 16:2,3

See series: Devotions

Early in the morning, the women made their way to the tomb. They had watched as the lifeless body of Jesus was placed there. They were troubled because the preparations for his burial were rushed. What troubled them even more was the stone rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb. It was very large, heavy, and designed to keep people out. Imagine their surprise when they arrived at the tomb and found the stone was moved.

As I celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, I can identify with the women. It is easy to be troubled and upset by many things in my life. Distractions seem more common. Obstacles seem to multiply. Challenges seem to be insurmountable. Yet, instead of focusing on the promise of my Savior, I turn my attention to the stone in front of the tomb. My greatest concern becomes, how do I get past the “stone” in my life.

The answer is found at the tomb. The stone is moved! The grave is empty! My Savior lives!

Because Jesus lives, I can find joy in every promise he gives. There is joy in knowing the guilt of my sin is removed. There is joy in knowing death and the devil have been defeated. There is joy in knowing my Savior lives to guide and direct my life. There is even joy in knowing heaven is prepared for me.

These blessings need to become my chief focus and my source of confidence. Then I will no longer be distracted by the empty lifestyle of this world. I will no longer be deceived by the devil’s deadly lies. I will no longer be preoccupied with the fears, problems, and confusion of this life.

I know Jesus lives! I know the stone is moved!

Prayer:
O gracious and living Savior, too often I allow the burdens of this world to distract me. Strengthen my faith. Open my eyes to see your faithful promises. Fill me with joy at your open and empty tomb. 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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Do Not be Afraid – April 1, 2018

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Matthew 28:8

Do Not be Afraid


Daily Devotion – April 1, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 28:8

See series: Devotions

“What will Jesus think?!” Is that the thought that was going through the heads of the women? After all, they had brought burial spices! They were planning to bury him, even though he had said to them that he was going to rise from the dead. And, by the way, he had said it enough times and publicly so that even his enemies knew about his promised resurrection! And what had the women done?

They’d failed (refused?) to listen! Can we understand why they hurried away “afraid”? I can understand because I’ve failed to listen too! I’ve failed (refused?) to listen to what my Savior says to me about … life, about death, about forgiveness, about salvation, about how to treat my spouse, kids, parents, neighbors, etc., etc. I can empathize with these women! My sins have brought fear to me too!

So it’s really important for us to see how Jesus treated his fear-filled followers: Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (Matthew 28:9-10). Wow! Such love! Such assurance! No words of condemnation. Not even a teasing, “Hey what were you planning to do with those spices?”

No. Instead, it’s wonderful good news! “Do not be afraid!” Why do they not need to be afraid? Why do they not EVER need to be afraid? Because they have a Savior who had risen from the dead! They have a Savior who has won forgiveness for them!

Indeed, they never needed to be afraid again because they have a Savior who loves them dearly! THAT’S how Jesus felt about them.

And that’s how he feels about you too.

Prayer:
Risen Savior! Drive my fears away, by assuring me that you, the risen Savior, love me dearly! In your name I pray. 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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Jonah’s Prayer – March 31, 2018

Jonah said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”
Jonah 2:2-9

Jonah’s Prayer


Daily Devotion – March 31, 2018

Devotion based on Jonah 2:2-9

See series: Devotions

It seems impossible for someone to survive for hours and even days inside a great fish. But it’s true, for that is what the Bible says happened to Jonah. Our Bible reading for today is a summary of Jonah’s prayer from inside the fish. With a miracle of God Jonah survived, and by a command of God the fish vomited him onto dry land.

It seems impossible for someone to lie dead in the grave for hours and even days, and then come out alive again forever. But it’s true, for that is what the Bible says happened to Jesus. Jesus even predicted that he would be in the heart of the earth just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish (Matthew 12:40). When Jesus suffered hell for us on the cross, banished from the sight of God the Father, he could have easily prayed this prayer of Jonah.

With a miracle of God, Jesus rose from the dead. And as Christians face their own deaths, they can pray this prayer of Jonah. We call for help and Jesus listens to our cry. He brings our life back from the pit. Because Jesus lives, we will live. We do not cling to worthless idols. Instead, we bask in the grace of God, his undeserved love for us in Christ Jesus.

Even when Christians do not think they are near death, they sing songs of thanksgiving and make their lives a living sacrifice for the Lord God who saves them.

Prayer:
With a song of thanksgiving, I will sacrifice to you, O LORD, because salvation comes from 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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Rescued from Evil – March 30, 2018

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Timothy 4:18

Rescued from Evil


Daily Devotion – March 30, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 4:18

See series: Devotions

The apostle Paul was in prison again. This time it would be his last. Arrested, tried, and convicted before the tribunal of Nero, he had been condemned to death. Paul didn’t despair; however, because his confidence rested in the grace and power of God to rescue him.

Jesus predicted that believers would be harassed and helpless in this sinful world. They would be persecuted by those who misuse power and assaulted by lies and deceptions. The devil will use people and ideas for his purposes. He will ally himself with all kinds of evil and employ it to turn people away from Jesus to forfeit the gift of heaven!

But the devil with his evil work has been defeated by Jesus. Speaking about his death on the cross, the Savior declared: “Now the prince of this world will be driven out” (John 12:31). Jesus crushed the devil’s power when he paid for the guilt of the sins of world by his innocent death. Though the devil still strives to accomplish his evil purposes, trusting in Jesus we are assured that our Lord will rescue us from every one of those evil attacks.

And finally, Jesus will bring us to his heavenly kingdom where no evil can ever harm us again! We will be permanently and perfectly rescued from the devil and his evil work.

Like Paul, we are certain that our Lord will faithfully fulfill his word, to rescue us from every evil attack, and bring us safely into his heavenly kingdom. Confident in his grace and power, we proclaim praises to our eternal King: “To him be glory forever and ever!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, fill my heart with the certainty of deliverance from every work of evil, and fill my heart with words of praise and glory to you, my Savior and King. 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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No Fear – March 29, 2018

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14-15

No Fear


Daily Devotion – March 29, 2018

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:14-15

See series: Devotions

They say that people fear public speaking more than they fear death. I think they asked people who weren’t facing death.

We fear death because we fear God. We fear we will have to answer for cheating, misusing God’s name, being selfish, neglecting others in their need, wanting revenge on those who hurt us—and the list goes on. God demands absolute perfection from us and we’re afraid of what he’ll do when we must face him.

The devil has used this fear to enslave us. He tempts us to sin, and when we do, he taunts us with what it will be like to stand before the holy God as unholy people. He reminds us God sends sinners to hell.

Jesus did not want us to fear our God or where we spend eternity. The Son of God became a human being—sharing our humanity. As a fully human person, Jesus lived in perfect obedience to God. When Jesus died on the cross, he wasn’t dying for his own sins; he had none. He was dying for all our sins. When his blood covered our sins, his blood also covered our reason to fear death.

Unless the end of the world comes first, all of us will die. Either way, we will face God. Yet when we face God, we have nothing to fear. God will not condemn us because Jesus shared our humanity to take away our sin. With no sin, the devil has no power over us. We are going to heaven because the Son of God became the Son of man to save us. Trusting in Jesus, fear of death is replaced with assurance of life with God forever.

Tonight, Christians around this world gather together to taste Jesus’ gift to us. They will eat bread and drink wine. Jesus promises that in this simple meal, he gives us forgiveness for all our sins. He gives us proof that he died to free us from our slavery to sin and death. If you are one of these Christians going to the Lord’s Supper tonight, think of the deep mystery you became a part of. You are receiving the body and blood of your God who gave his life for you. Here is the proof you never need to fear death.

Prayer:
Son of God, thank you for sharing our humanity so we would never have to fear death, our God, or our future. Amen.

The devotions in March on Thursday and Friday focus on the office of Jesus Christ: Prophet, Priest, and King.

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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Rejoice and Shout, Your King Comes to You – March 28, 2018

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah 9:9,10

Rejoice and Shout, Your King Comes to You


Daily Devotion – March 28, 2018

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9,10

See series: Devotions

This past year, some friends gave my family tickets to a local college football game. Our friends encouraged us to arrive early, because the moments before the game were electrifying. We were not disappointed! As the home team made its entrance onto the field, the college band played the school’s fight song as loud as they could. The scoreboard flashed, “Stand up and make some noise!” There was smoke. There were fireworks. Then the announcer yelled, “Here comes your championship football team…” and 70,000 people screamed with joy as the team ran onto the field. This was a memorable entrance!

The prophet Zechariah prepares hearts for Jesus’ memorable entrance on Palm Sunday. He exclaims, “Rejoice greatly! Shout!” This message builds up joy and excitement for the coming king. But the manner in which Jesus comes on Palm Sunday might seem like a major let-down. He comes, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey.

Imagine the reaction in a full stadium if one football player came out on a lowly donkey. The crowd might become restless. So also, we might wonder, “Where is Jesus’ pomp and circumstance? What kind of king rides on a lowly donkey? What kind of king seeks to proclaim and extend peace without a single weapon of war, and in such a lowly manner?”

Jesus does! His humble ride is fitting of his humble mission to bring us peace. Jesus humbly rode into Jerusalem on that Sunday, knowing that he would face death on that Friday. Jesus humbly rode on for the proud and pompous. Jesus humbly rode on for the disobedient and defiant. Jesus humbly rode on to face the punishment our sins deserved, so that he could win and proclaim the peace of God’s forgiveness.

So, rejoice greatly and shout! Your King came for you. And your King still comes to you through his Word to proclaim his peace and fill your heart with his joy.

Prayer:
King Jesus, let the peace which you won for me rule my heart and mind. Let it overflow in joy in my life as well. Amen.

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

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Who Is This? – March 27, 2018

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness! And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11

Who Is This?


Daily Devotion – March 27, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 2:5-11

See series: Devotions

Who is this who on Palm Sunday rides into Jerusalem on a donkey? He is our King, the almighty and glorious God of heaven and earth. Yet he made himself nothing, becoming fully human in the womb of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit, and placed in a manger for his first bed. He made himself nothing. He became the servant of sinners, in perfect love. He became the helper of the helpless, while suffering the problems and troubles of our unworthy world of sin and death. As the servant of mortals, he became obedient to our death, even the lowliest death of shame, execution, and condemnation on a cross!

Who is this? This is our Savior, victorious over sin, death and hell. He is our forgiveness. He is our righteousness. Therefore, God triumphantly raised him from the dead. Jesus gloriously ascended into heaven, where he sits in the exalted position of all power and glory at the right hand of God the Father. He wisely and perfectly governs all things for the benefit of all his believers, to bring them safely to the heaven he won for us. Day by day he rules in our hearts with his word of grace and forgiveness.

No matter how crude our circumstances, how terrible our troubles, or how pitiful our problems, he is our servant. He is our Savior. He is our King of kings and Lord of lords.

May our knees ever bow and our tongues ever confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for so greatly humbling yourself to rescue me from sin, death, and hell. Through your word, rule in my heart as my glorious King, that from my lips I may always praise you as my Savior and confess you as my Lord. 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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Humble and Bold – March 26, 2018

When [the disciples] brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Mark 11:7-10

Humble and Bold


Daily Devotion – March 26, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 11:7-10

See series: Devotions

Jesus is the only person who ever lived to be perfect in humbleness and boldness.

On the one hand, Jesus is one who hangs out with the very worst sinners. He isn’t afraid to spend his time with the very lowest in society. He grows up and lives as a regular person; little money, no home, the same problems and struggles that most people have. Even as he comes into Jerusalem, he does so on an unbroken donkey.

On the other hand, he never shies away from the praise and acclamation that is due him. He boldly stands up to the self-righteous. He is addressed as “teacher,” “Lord,” and “prophet.” He says that there is no way to heaven outside of him. Even as he comes into Jerusalem, he does so amid the crowd’s shouts of praise.

Jesus no longer rides into cities. But he does come into your heart, and still does it with humbleness and boldness.

He comes into your heart with humbleness as he gives you faith through his Word. Whether read or spoken by a pastor, parent, or friend, Jesus uses humble people and means to make a home for himself in your heart. He pours his blessings out at baptism with just simple water. He promises that he is truly present in the Lord’s Supper. Jesus continues to come to you, but he does so in very humble ways.

He comes into your heart with boldness as he proclaims himself to be the only way of salvation. He gives you more than anyone else can as he promises to you a perfect life to come, and that he will control all things now as he leads you there. He tells you that he has defeated sin, death, and the devil and that he is King of all.

Jesus is still like no one else. He comes not into cities, but into your heart with perfect humbleness and boldness.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for sending Jesus in perfect humbleness and boldness. Make us to always trust the work he has done. 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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Crusader or Christ? – March 25, 2018

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee!”
Matthew 21:10-11

Crusader or Christ?


Daily Devotion – March 25, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 21:10-11

See series: Devotions

Who is Jesus? This was the question asked by the crowds. Some knew Jesus as the prophet from Galilee. Still others didn’t know who Jesus was. While there were many possible answers to the question, there was one distinct hope. People wanted Jesus to be a crusader.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, people welcomed him as a king. They waved palm branches. They heralded him as an heir of David’s royal line. And they hoped he would lead a crusade to throw off the power of the Roman Empire.

Not much has changed since Jesus entered Jerusalem. People still ask the same question, “Who is Jesus?” Many also have their hopes and expectations. Some want Jesus to be a prophet offering wisdom for life. Others want him to be a role model of upstanding moral quality. Still others want him to be a crusader. They desperately want him to right wrongs, to bring order to chaos, and to offer peace instead of war.

So who is Jesus? It is a question for which I need a clear answer. If I believe Jesus is simply a political crusader, I will be disappointed and eventually reject him. On the other hand, if I believe he is the promised Christ from God, I will not be disappointed and will gladly follow him.

Jesus came to this earth to be the Savior, God promised to send. As that Savior, he was clearly set apart to accomplish his Father’s will. That work included living a sin-free life to release all people from the crushing demands of the Law. It also included offering the complete payment to secure freedom from the tyranny of sin, the dread of death and the domination of the devil. Jesus did everything God the Father commanded and signaled the completion of that work when he cried out from the cross, “It is finished!”

Jesus’ obedient life and his all-sufficient death provide me with the answer I need to the question, “Who is Jesus?” He is the promised Christ. As I put my confidence in him, I rejoice in knowing my sins are forgiven. I delight in following him and his loving will. I also long for the day when I will join him in the place he has prepared for me in heaven.

Prayer:
O dearest heavenly Father, I thank you for the promised Savior you have provided. Give me faith to confess that Jesus is your Son, my Savior, and the promised Christ. 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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Loving Discipline – March 24, 2018

“I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.” “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Hosea 5:15–6:3

Loving Discipline


Daily Devotion – March 24, 2018

Devotion based on Hosea 5:15–6:3

See series: Devotions

Watch a parent carefully discipline his child, and a strange thing often happens. At first the child hates the discipline. As you might expect, the child wants to get away from the admonishing parent. One would think that the child would want to continue to stay at a distance, but usually just the opposite happens. The child returns to his parent to be comforted.

Deep down, each of us understands a need for discipline. We might even crave it on some level. This is because love and discipline go hand in hand. Parents who care enough to discipline their children are parents who love their children.

In our lesson the Lord used the prophet Hosea to instruct the people about God’s discipline and love. To say that the Children of Israel had misbehaved would be an understatement. They sinned. They turned from the true God to gods of their own invention. They were on a path that was headed straight to hell. But God loved them too much to let them continue on their way to destruction. So he disciplined them.

God’s discipline was harsh. Hosea used words like “torn to pieces” and “injured” to describe the pain God inflicted on them. The pain was severe, but so was the offense that the people had committed.

God’s discipline was effective. Not only did the people realize the error of their ways, but they also knew where they needed to turn for help. They turned back to their God who loved them enough to discipline them in the first place. And when they did, God not only let them survive, but thrive. God’s love for his people was as predictable as a sunrise and as nourishing as a seasonal rain.

The Lord is also your heavenly Father and he loves you very much. Perhaps at this time you are carrying a heavy load. Perhaps you have even questioned, “Is God doing this to me?” I can’t speak specifically to whatever problem you are going through at the moment, but I can tell you that God loves you as his dear child.

Hosea’s message to us is also quite clear. In difficult times don’t run from God, run to him. He is a God who cared enough to send his Son Jesus to take away your sins and call you to be his child. He is a God who cares enough to discipline you for your good, for your eternal good. He is a God whose love is as certain as a sunrise and as refreshing as a spring rain.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the times you have disciplined me. Remind me that I can always turn to you for love and forgiveness. 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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