Questioning God – June 23, 2024

Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?
Job 38:1-11

Questioning God

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Daily Devotion – June 23, 2024

Devotion based on Job 38:1-11


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Have you ever been tempted to question, accuse, or challenge God? Job and some of his friends did. Throughout the latter chapters of the book of Job, we hear challenging questions and statements made against God. In chapter 38, God responds.

God’s rhetorical questions put things back into perspective. By his wisdom and power, he laid earth’s foundation and set the borders for the seas. You and I were not around when God created the world. Dare we question and challenge his ways?

There are times when things don’t go very well. Too often, we get caught up in our own little world. We make this life comfy and cozy. Challenging or blaming God, as if he did something wrong, is not the answer. Realizing that we live in a sin-filled world, surrounded by sinful people and betrayed by our sinful nature, is the place to start. Repentance followed by trusting in Jesus as our Savior from sin is the way to go.

Instead of questioning and challenging God, let us thank God for his faithfulness in sending Jesus, who has earned forgiveness of sins by his death for us. Remembering this truth puts all things into perspective. Amidst sickness, job loss, and difficulties of all kinds, we can unquestionably trust that God’s loving will for us is sure and certain in Jesus our Savior.

Prayer:
Lord God, creator of the universe, give me a faith that trusts your love for me and wisdom for my life. Amen.

Daily 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 Promise – June 22, 2024

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. . . I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’”
Ezekiel 17:22-24

A Promise

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Daily Devotion – June 22, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 17:22-24


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Have you ever made a promise and then broke it? That question gets personal when you think of the promises you have made to your spouse, children, or best friend and how many times you have let them down. That question gets more personal when you think of the promises you have made to God, and how many times you have failed him. It is one big reason we struggle with so much guilt.

Did you notice in the reading from Ezekiel, how many promises your Sovereign Lord makes to you? He declares, “I myself will… I will… I will do it.” He promised to raise a small shoot into a great tree that would provide shelter and shade for all who nest in that tree. The small shoot that becomes a great tree is Jesus Christ, your Savior from all sin. The birds who nest in the tree are all the people who come to Jesus for rest from their guilt. The shade and shelter the tree provides is the loving and merciful care that Jesus gives to you.

Now, if you want to see the impact of these words in Ezekiel, look at them this way: For every time you said “I will” to your Lord but didn’t, your Lord said “I will” to you and did. And you can see what he did on another tree. He died for you on the cross. From that tree, there is forgiveness for all your broken promises. From that tree, there is a promise kept that leads to eternal life.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, forgive me for my broken promises to you. Thank you for keeping your promise to me. Thank you for the refuge I have in Jesus. Amen.

Daily 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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Planting Kingdom Truths – June 21, 2024

[Jesus said] “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
Mark 4:26-32

Planting Kingdom Truths

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Daily Devotion – June 21, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-32


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A mother left a note for her children, “Have a great day! Don’t forget to take the lasagna out of the freezer. I will be home around 6:00 PM tonight. Don’t forget to take the lasagna out of the freezer. Love you! Mom (p.s. Don’t forget to take the lasagna out of the freezer.)”

Do you get the impression that mom wants the lasagna out of the freezer? Repeating a message is a way to emphasize a message. So your ears perk up when Jesus speaks a couple of times in Mark chapter 4 about planting seeds. Do you get the impression that your Savior wants you to hear his Word?

With words as his picture, Jesus holds up a teeny-tiny seed and says, “A farmer doesn’t know how this seed grows. But it does! And that is what my kingdom is like.” He then reaches for a teenier, tinier mustard seed and contrasts it with the tall plant, like a tree that it would become. Seeds are so little when planted, yet they grow into ripe harvests and large plants.

Just think about what happens in your heart and soul as Jesus fills them with his Word. He isn’t sharing farming examples to broaden your understanding of agriculture but to plant kingdom truths in your heart. The king who died and rose for you wants you to know and trust the power of his Word. God’s Word, like a tiny seed, doesn’t seem like much. But it is the power of God. And through that power of God, he sprouts faith, grows that faith, and fills the limbs of your life with the bounty of his fruits.

Prayer:
Lord God, fill my ears and plant in my heart the precious and powerful truths of your Word and your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Daily 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 Growing Seed – June 20, 2024

[Jesus said] “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

The Growing Seed

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Daily Devotion – June 20, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-29


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Seeds appear to be just little things that are dry and dead. Actually, they are teeming with life. Inside the outer coat is a root and a shoot just waiting to jump out and start growing, along with a powerful energy supply to keep it growing until it can make its own energy. It’s a simple yet fantastic design that continues to work despite gene manipulation, the production of hybrids, and all the attacks from fungi, bugs, and plant viruses. The human race is only one failed seed season away from starvation. But we don’t worry because we know the seed designer who has promised that “…seedtime and harvest…will never cease” (Genesis 8:22) as long as the earth endures. Seeds work.

So Jesus used the story of a seed to illustrate what the Christian Church is like. In this chapter of Mark, he tells three different seed stories that clearly show the power of the gospel in causing and growing the Church of all who believe in Jesus. It’s the seed chapter in the Bible.

You may have heard this message a thousand times, but it still brings a thrill to your believing heart and makes that faith stronger. It’s been proclaimed worldwide, has caused 2 billion people to say, “I believe in Jesus,” and is still going strong! That’s why you read through the Bible, so your faith will grow along with your knowledge. It’s also why you plant the gospel with as many people as possible so that more people can join us in the kingdom!

Prayer:
Dear Holy Spirit, thank you for putting your power at work in the seed of the gospel. Lead me to hear it and read it so that it can grow my faith stronger. Lead me to plant it in the ears and minds of others so you can bring them into the kingdom of Jesus. Amen.

Daily 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 Seed – June 19, 2024

[Jesus said] “A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.”
Mark 4:26-28

The Seed

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Daily Devotion – June 19, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-28


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Every spring, we see the miracle of growth. It’s not Mother Nature, but the hand of the almighty God, maker and preserver of all things.

Miraculous growth takes place also in the human heart. The growth-maker again is God, specifically the Holy Spirit. The result is the creation and preservation of Christian faith, as evidenced by words and deeds of Christian love.

You can’t see faith, but genuine Christian faith demonstrates itself by its emerging fruits, which look out for others instead of the natural “me-first.” Simple good manners—like saying a genuine “Thanks!” instead of thanklessly grabbing for things, can be a fruit of faith. Seizing opportunities to perform little kindnesses like providing a meal for a fellow Christian, caring
for a hospitalized loved one. It’s serving everyone, even those in the community. Never overlook the daily care and concern of a tired mother untiringly raising her children in the Lord’s nurture and instruction.

Let’s not forget, though, that growth potential lies not in the human heart but in the seed of the gospel planted and watered there. Unlike drought-caused restrictions on watering lawns and gardens, there dare be no withholding of the gracious water of life applied and reapplied to the soul with the gospel. The power to produce fruit lies in the gospel and nowhere else. And, as always, to God’s name be honor and praise!

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, give me eyes and ears of faith to trust that your Word is at work creating a harvest for you. Amen.

Daily 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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Growth Without Effort – June 18, 2024

And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

Growth Without Effort

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Daily Devotion – June 18, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-29


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Farming is a lot of work. Farmers are some of the hardest-working people that I have the privilege of knowing. They are up before the sun and go to bed long after the sun has set. They plant and harvest. They maintain buildings, equipment, and acreage. They make deals buying what the farm needs and selling what it produces.

However, the one thing they don’t have to do is cause the plants to grow. The farmer cannot will them to grow or find just the right words to say to inspire the seeds to sprout. The farmer can’t pay a bribe to make the plants grow or put in some overtime hours to make the plants grow. The seeds sprout, grow, and produce a harvest all on their own.

It is the same with the kingdom of God. There is much to do in the kingdom of God, and like the farmer, we are to be busy. There are people to love and good works to do. We are to be busy loving our neighbor as ourselves and keeping the commands of God.

However, the one thing we don’t do is cause the kingdom of God to grow. We scatter seed by sharing his Word, but the kingdom of God does not grow by our own will or efforts. It doesn’t grow because I want it to or because I have inspired it. Though we might not know how it grows, it will have a harvest all on its own.

There is much for us to do in the kingdom of God. Yet the growth is not our work or effort, but God’s.

Prayer:
Father of the harvest, keep me busy doing your work and sowing the seed. Yet remind me that it is not my work, but yours. Amen.

Daily 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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Cut off but Not Dead – June 17, 2024

“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.
Ezekiel 17:22,23

Cut off but Not Dead

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Daily Devotion – June 17, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 17:22,23


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It had been 480 years of a continual dynasty as one son after another followed his father as king in Jerusalem. There had been long reigns and monarchs who sat on the throne for only weeks. Jerusalem had been home to kings who had followed the commands and decrees of the Lord and also those who were wicked and brought much suffering upon the people. Through all the ups and downs, the great dynasty had continued, but now it was finally coming to an end. Zedekiah would fall and be the last king. All of Zedekiah’s sons were killed, and Zedekiah himself died in captivity, and along with him, the dynasty was over—or so it seemed.

Even as the mighty tree of David’s line fell, God was breaking off a tender sprig to plant in a high and mighty place. It would start small and humble; few would notice or pay attention. However, this humble sprig would become a great tree that would bear fruit and provide rest and shade not just for a single nation but for many people.

That sprig was planted as Joseph and Mary journeyed to David’s hometown of Bethlehem, “and the time came for the baby to be born.” His birth was small and humble, but through his death and resurrection, David’s greatest descendent would bear fruit and provide rest for all people. Not food or physical rest, but the gifts that come from Jesus defeating sin, death, and the devil.

The mighty tree of David’s dynasty would fall. In Jesus, God would plant a greater tree from that same line who would bring true peace and rest.

Prayer:
Thank you for fulfilling your prophecy and sending my Savior. Amen.

Daily 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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Powerful Seed – June 16, 2024

[Jesus] also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

Powerful Seed

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Daily Devotion – June 16, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-29


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Hold a seed in your hand, and it appears lifeless. But plant it in the ground, and from that seed emerges a tender sprout that pushes its way up through the soil and grows into a sturdy plant. We can loosen and fertilize the soil and supply ample moisture, but we cannot empower a seed to germinate and grow. It does that all by itself because that’s the way God created it.

Jesus used the nature of a seed to describe the working of God’s Word. When the good news of Jesus was planted in your heart, the power of God caused faith in Jesus to sprout and grow. This happened because God was working through his Word to give you new life and all the blessings of being a child of God.

You can’t produce saving faith on your own; no more than you can cause a planted seed to grow. God accomplished it completely for you. God loves you so much that he brought you to faith in Jesus and still uses his Word in your life to help you grow in faith. Therefore, you can look forward with confidence to the day of the harvest when Jesus will come to gather you and all his believers to be with him in eternal glory.

Prayer:
As you have used your Word, O God, to bring me to faith in Jesus, help me grow in my faith as you nourish me each day with the good news of my salvation. Amen.

Daily 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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