Not My Fault – June 12, 2024

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Genesis 3:12

Not My Fault

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Daily Devotion – June 12, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:12


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The Lord had given Adam and Eve a specific command. It was a command by which they could celebrate their trust in his will for their lives. The command was simple: In the middle of the Garden of Eden, there is a special tree. Do not eat the fruit from that tree.

But Adam and Eve, tempted by Satan, chose to eat from this tree anyway. When they did, they severed their bond of trust with their Lord, and sin oozed into its place.

All this sets the stage for what happens next. God, of course, knows what has gone wrong. In love, he approaches Adam. He calls upon Adam to acknowledge the obvious. He asks Adam, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Adam could simply reply, “Yes.” But he doesn’t. Instead, the answer Adam gives might very well be one of the most groan-inducing statements in all of the Bible. His answer is this: “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

In his short reply, not only does Adam blame his wife, but he also blames God. In his fantasy land of pure rationalization, Adam concludes that the fall into sin is not his fault.

You and I can see ourselves in Adam and his reply. In our sinful weakness, we love to identify someone else as the problem. We love to cite extenuating circumstances as to why our sinful behavior is understandable. There are even moments when we conclude that if God had not allowed this person or that problem into our life, we would have done much better; thank you very much.

Thank God that his Spirit can still pierce my calloused heart. Thank God his Word still calls me to repentance. Thank God the message of the cross and the empty tomb can still bring me back home.

Prayer:
Lord, forgive me for the moments when I try to blame others for my sin. Give me a repentant heart. Wash me clean. 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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Where Are You? – June 11, 2024

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:9

Where Are You?

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Daily Devotion – June 11, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:9


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Adam is hiding. He is hiding because he has just severed his perfect bond of trust with his God. As a result, sin has infected everything. One of its immediate effects is that Adam and Eve now have a dark impulse to hide from God.

In this moment, God has every right to abandon Adam and Eve. After seeing them betray his trust and throw away every single thing he has done for them, God has every reason to turn his back and walk away, never to return.

But he doesn’t. Instead, he calls out to Adam, “Where are you?” He asks the question not because he needs the information; he knows exactly where Adam is. Rather, he asks the question to let Adam know he is seeking him out and lay bare his guilt to make him fully aware of it. He does all this in love. He does all this to bring him to a full realization of his plight.

Even the most secular among us will almost always admit, “I am not the person I should be.” At some level, each of us, as human beings, has an uneasy sense that we have somehow wandered away from wherever it is we need to be.

Enter our Creator. Enter our Savior-God. Enter his Word. Enter his call to each of us—his call that says, “Where are you?”

He asks the question not because he needs the information; he knows exactly where we are. Rather, he asks the question to let us know he is seeking us out in order to lay bare our guilt and make us fully aware of it. He does all this in love. He does all this to bring us to a full realization of our plight. For it is then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that you and I begin to grasp why we need Jesus Christ and what he has done on our behalf.

“Where are you?” the Word of God continues to call. For it is Jesus Christ who has come to seek and to save what was lost.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, when I wander away, call out to me. By your gospel, empower me to come home. 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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To Hide – June 10, 2024

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8

To Hide

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Daily Devotion – June 10, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:8


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Up to this moment, Adam and Eve had enjoyed a perfect bond of trust and love with their Creator-God. This bond had been at the center of everything. Their lives had been wondrous beyond description.

But, tempted by Satan, Adam and Eve chose to trust their will for their lives instead of God’s will for their lives. In doing so, they severed their relationship with their Lord. As a result, the toxic waste of sin rushed in to take its place.

The results were immediate. When the Lord approached them, there was now, within Adam and Eve, a dark impulse to do what they had never done before. They hid. And fallen humanity has been trying to hide from God ever since.

By nature, you and I also have that dark impulse to hide from God. Perhaps I hide behind busyness, filling my mind with so many deadlines and activities that I think I’m keeping God at a comfortable distance. Perhaps I hide behind news headlines and current events, filling my mind with so many national and international issues that I never get around to my relationship with God. Perhaps I hide behind work, entertainment, recreation, or an all-consuming hobby—anything that might spare me from confronting the reality of my sinful failures before a holy God.

Hiding, however, is not the answer. Jesus is. The Son of God became one of us. On our behalf, he lived a life of perfect trust in his heavenly Father’s will. In our place, he suffered and died for our every sin—including our every act of distrust, our every act of avoidance, our every act of hiding. Then he rose from death.

Now, through faith in Christ, you and I stand forgiven, cleansed, and blanketed in the holiness of God’s Son. And because we are, you and I don’t have to hide anymore. Ever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I feel the old impulse to hide from God, move me instead to hide myself in 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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The Ultimate Defeat – June 9, 2024

[The man] answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And [God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”
Genesis 3:10-14

The Ultimate Defeat

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Daily Devotion – June 9, 2024

Devotion based on Genesis 3:10-14


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Adam’s sin was not just in passing blame but in not taking responsibility, as he should have, since God shows the order of his creation by going to Adam first. Adam’s sin was not only shirking his responsibility, but also in finally passing off the blame for the sin—not to his wife (“the woman…”) but to God himself (“…you put here with me”).

Martin Luther said, “This is the nature of sin: unless God immediately provides a cure and calls the sinner back, he flees endlessly from God and, by excusing his sin with lies, heaps sin upon sin until he arrives at blasphemy and despair.”

Like her husband, Eve also shirked responsibility for sin. She passed blame off to the serpent (the devil). God punished both the serpent and the devil. The animal was transformed by God to serve as a constant reminder to mankind of Satan’s ultimate defeat.

Although Satan had won a victory by deceiving Adam and Eve to sin and dragged the whole world under the curse of sin, God would ultimately defeat the devil’s power and free mankind from the hold of death. All this would be accomplished through a mighty Savior. He’s Jesus, through whom we have the peace of God’s forgiveness and the joy of life with God forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am sorry for my sins of shirking responsibility and blaming others for what I have done. Forgive me for your sake and help me, this day, to live only 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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The Sabbath Gift – June 8, 2024

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . . the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. . . Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”
Deuteronomy 5:12,14,15

The Sabbath Gift

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Daily Devotion – June 8, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 5:12,14,15


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House-hunting. Writing project. Softball practice. Summer activity roadmap. Water and electricity bills. Basketball camp. Tomato plants and two trees next to the garage to get planted. Birthdays to plan. Work presentation next Thursday. Home projects. Details of the trip out west.

Do you feel utterly exhausted and waylaid by endless demands and stifling routines? Even your upcoming vacation plans have a panicky, task-like edge to them. The mantra of your day: “If only I had more time.” Is this the real problem? Wouldn’t this be more accurate: you’ve forgotten God’s ancient wisdom for you? You have forgotten the Lord’s own rhythm of work and rest.

To remember God’s own Sabbath—given for you, not for him—is to be handed the elixir to the productivity game playing around you and in your own life. What a gift God has given you in the Sabbath! A gift for your sanity and wholeness. A gift to enrich your lives. A gift to make your joy complete. Sabbath restores your bent and withered parts.

The best part of the Sabbath is Jesus. “If you’re exhausted and panicky, come to me and I’ll give you ‘sabbath,’” Jesus invites.

Jesus has secured forgiveness for your sins, including the one where you ignored God’s wisdom of work and rest. Always living up to the demands of his Father and the law, Jesus has carried all of your weariness to the cross. There, he paid your death sentence. He now lives. Jesus is the gift for forgiveness and eternal life for rest. Jesus is the gift for your sanity and wholeness. Jesus is the gift to enrich your lives. Jesus is the gift to make your joy complete. Jesus restores your bent and withered parts. Jesus is rest.

Take a breath and relax. Jesus is your Sabbath gift.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, for my ability to work, thank you. For the wisdom to rest, thank you. For the gift of Jesus who is my true rest, thank 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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Jesus Rested To Give Us Rest – June 7, 2024

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
Matthew 27:57-60

Jesus Rested To Give Us Rest

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Daily Devotion – June 7, 2024

Devotion based on Matthew 27:57-60


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Jesus said, “It is finished,” on the day he died, a Friday. He had done everything required for our salvation. That was Day One. He rose from the dead on Sunday to prove that everything he had said and done for us was true. That was Day Three.

What happened on Day Two? Day Two was a Saturday, a Sabbath day. On that day, the body of Jesus rested in the tomb. Joseph of Arimathea had taken it, wrapped it in a burial cloth, and placed it in a brand-new tomb sealed with a big stone. It was the ultimate Sabbath rest.

It is often calming to see someone sleeping, but to see Jesus sleeping with eyes of faith brings the ultimate calm. He has done everything for us, and now we rest in the peace of his forgiveness.

Even when we see someone in the sleep of death, we are confident that God is in control and that the resurrection of the dead will take place as surely as Jesus rose from the dead. For now, we wait, confident that Jesus rested to give us rest.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 817)
Lord, let at last thine angels come,
To Abr’ham’s bosom bear me home
That I may die unfearing;
And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until the reappearing.
And then from death awaken me
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, thy glorious face,
My Savior and my fount of grace.
Lord Jesus Christ, my prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise thee without end. 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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Jesus Worked To Give Us Rest – June 6, 2024

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
Mark 3:1-5

Jesus Worked To Give Us Rest

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Daily Devotion – June 6, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 3:1-5


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When everyone else was resting, Jesus was working. It was a Sabbath day of rest. People had gathered to hear the Word of God. Jesus entered the gathering space and demonstrated that he was God by healing a man. He was doing the important work of revealing his glory in the face of opposition.

When everyone else was working, Jesus was doing the most important work. People were attempting to get to heaven by pleasing God and following his laws. Jesus kept all laws perfectly and became the only human being with whom God was well pleased.

When everyone else was distracted, Jesus was focused on his work. He went to Jerusalem, and then, he willingly went to the cross, taking the punishment for sins, not just for certain people, but for the whole world.

Today, when anxiety cripples and busyness overwhelms us, Jesus works to give us rest. His promises are powerful, and the work he has done in the past is good for us into eternity.

Prayer:
Lord God, in this difficult world, I look to you as our rock of refuge and rest through 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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Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath – June 5, 2024

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Mark 2:23-28

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath

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Daily Devotion – June 5, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 2:23-28


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As the Son of God, Jesus has existed from eternity. When the world was created, he spoke, and everything came into existence. When he stopped speaking on the seventh day of creation, it was the first day of rest. Since the timing of the Sabbath was based on that first day of rest, the Son of God is Lord of the Sabbath.

As the Son of Man, Jesus knew all the Sabbath laws from a faithful study of Scripture and had perfect knowledge of how to follow those laws. When religious leaders challenged Jesus and his followers because they did not follow the Sabbath laws the same way the religious leaders did, Jesus gave an example from the Scripture of the right way to observe the Sabbath. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.

Jesus explained that a time of rest and attention to God’s Word is healthy for human beings. The Sabbath was made for them! Human beings were not created so that they can observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created so that human beings would benefit.

We can be certain that the commands and prohibitions of God’s law are good for us, even when we don’t understand them. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves, and because he is our Savior, we trust whatever he tells us.

Prayer:
God, your Word is my delight. When I am lost in darkness, enlighten my heart and mind to trust you and serve you in holiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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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Jesus Fulfilled the Sabbath – June 4, 2024

He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Colossians 2:13-17

Jesus Fulfilled the Sabbath

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Daily Devotion – June 4, 2024

Devotion based on Colossians 2:13-17


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When Jesus walked the earth, there were a lot of laws that people were supposed to follow when it came to rest on the Sabbath day. Did cooking count as work, not rest? How about walking somewhere or helping someone in need? Various authorities took it upon themselves to interpret the rules and then enforce them. If there were fines associated with each infraction, a person could rack up a lot of debt.

Jesus kept all the Sabbath laws perfectly. Even when local powers and authorities did not interpret those laws correctly, Jesus kept them the way God intended. He did not accumulate a single bit of debt, literal or figurative.

Then, in one striking action, Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty that every human being had accumulated for breaking laws of any kind, including the Sabbath laws. It was as if all the legal charges against people were written on a sheet of paper that was nailed to the cross along with the hands and feet of Jesus. Authorities became powerless to accuse people since the debt was paid.

That’s why we don’t follow Sabbath laws today. They were a shadow of the rest we find now in the reality of forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
God our Savior, I lift up my heart to you and ask you to grant me rest through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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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Remember the Sabbath Day – June 3, 2024

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.”
Deuteronomy 5:12

Remember the Sabbath Day

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Daily Devotion – June 3, 2024

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 5:12


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“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” is one of the Ten Commandments. The word “Sabbath” means “cease, desist, rest.”

Faithful people before Jesus kept the commandment by working for six days every week but resting on the seventh day of the week. Every member of the family, every servant, and every working animal, like oxen and donkeys, were all supposed to rest on that seventh day, just like God did when he finished creating the world. The idea was to spend the day remembering that God rescued the people from being enslaved in Egypt. To prompt that remembering people were supposed to listen to the Word of God.

The famous religious reformer Martin Luther explained that this commandment means, “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and his Word but regard it as holy and gladly hear and learn it.” This means that we gather with other Christians to hear the Word of God proclaimed in its truth and purity. And because that truth tells us that we have spiritual rest through Jesus, we do so, not because we have to, but because we want to.

Rest is important for our bodies and our souls. God has granted us rest in Jesus. This commandment shows us that God wants us to thank him for his goodness by regarding his Word as holy and gladly hearing and learning it.

Prayer:
God of grace, you have given me rest in Jesus. Fill me with your Spirit, guide me by your Word, and help me as I seek to follow you and your commandments. 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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