St. Johns News

Too Good To Be True? – April 21, 2024

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. . . I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
John 10:11,14

Too Good To Be True?

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Daily Devotion – April 21, 2024

Devotion based on John 10:11,14


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Almost daily, some advertisements make incredible claims: “This is the best product on the market.” “This is the most effective product.” “There is nothing that can compare with this.” These are just a few of the claims. Then, the offer becomes even more enticing: “Double the amount at an incredible savings.” Finally, there is the clincher: “A one-hundred percent money-back guarantee.” Almost immediately the thought ignites: “This is too good to be true.”

Too good to be true is often a reliable axiom. But not when it comes to the claims made by Jesus. In a very precious and picturesque way, Jesus proclaims, “I am the Good Shepherd.” What makes this claim believable is how he backs it up. Jesus gives more than a money-back guarantee. He even offers more than double the regular amount. He provides solid and unmistakable proof.

Just think about the claim Jesus makes as the Good Shepherd. When rejected because of failure and disappointment, the Good Shepherd calls us his own. When cries for help go unanswered, the Good Shepherd responds in the best way possible.

It almost sounds too good to be true. But it is true! Assurance comes from what Jesus did and what he does daily. His obedient life, his willing death on the cross, his precious shed blood, his victorious resurrection—here is indisputable evidence. Our Savior-Shepherd will always be there. He even gives his word: “I know you.”

Although this may sound too good to be true, it is the good news Jesus established through his innocent suffering and death. Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He knows us, and he loves us!

Prayer:
O precious Savior, because you gave your life for me, I am now your lamb. Be with me. Keep me safe in every danger. Guide me and give me peace in knowing, I am your sheep, and you are my Shepherd. 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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You Have an Advocate – April 20, 2024

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1,2

You Have an Advocate

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Daily Devotion – April 20, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 2:1,2


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A criminal defense attorney said the most frequent question he is asked is: “Why do you defend people you know are guilty?” Normally he responds that he doesn’t consider himself to be a successful attorney only if his client never sees the inside of a prison. He admitted that most of his clients are guilty of something. “However,” he went onto say “not every person charged with a crime is treated fairly.” Under the law, even criminals have rights—rights that are sometimes violated or ignored. The attorney said his goal is to make sure every person is treated fairly under the law. That way, he can be successful whether his client is found to be innocent or guilty.

The Bible describes Jesus as an advocate—someone who, like a lawyer, comes to the defense of someone. And the Bible says that those whom Jesus chooses to defend are those who sin. In other words, he chooses to defend us—individuals who are most certainly guilty of pride, hate, arrogance, greed, and any number of other sins.

But he not only defends us, knowing we are guilty of sin. He also did something even the very best criminal defense attorney wouldn’t. He volunteered to take our punishment. Not by sitting in a prison. But by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins on a cross.

And the reason he did that is to give you rights. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, you have the God-given right to walk through life knowing you are forgiven. You have the right to be released from the heavy burden of guilt you’ve been carrying. You have the right to know that God loves you, no matter how you have sinned. You have the right to know that you will always have an advocate who will come to your defense and always win.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for being my advocate. 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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Full Forgiveness – April 19, 2024

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:8,9

Full Forgiveness

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Daily Devotion – April 19, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 1:8,9


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People love to minimize the real faults in their lives. They will admit to doing something wrong in the past, but they will quickly explain how it’s not as bad as what someone else has done. They claim to be improving, at least to the point where previous faults should not be brought up. They have thought through so many rationalizations that it becomes hard to pin them down.

God says that is a dangerous way to live. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, plain and simple. Everyone has sinned and continues to sin. There is no one righteous, not even one. If you claim that, you are simply not telling the truth.

It is far safer and healthier to confess our sins. In fact, the healthiest practice is daily confession. You don’t have to fear that you are conceding something to God when you confess the bad things you have done, or the good things you have neglected. God has promised to forgive you and is faithful to all his promises.

Because of the work of Jesus, taking the punishment for your sins, God is even just when he forgives you. He cleanses you from all unrighteousness by his powerful word of forgiveness.

Prayer:
Holy God, gracious Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. 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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Extraordinary Eyewitnesses – April 18, 2024

You are witnesses of these things.
Luke 24:48

Extraordinary Eyewitnesses

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Daily Devotion – April 18, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:48


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Your friend busts into the room with an amazing story. He tells it with great gusto and appropriate hand gestures. He pauses just before the good parts. You are captivated. Then you ask him, “Were you there?” And he responds, “No, I just heard about it.” It doesn’t take away from your enjoyment of the story, but it does make you wonder whether it actually happened the way he described it.

Every Easter we hear the story of Jesus rising from the dead. It’s breathtaking, and it gives us shivers to hear it, think about it, and celebrate it. But some wonder whether it got garbled in the retelling. Did it really happen the way that the Bible says it did?

The disciples of Jesus saw the resurrection happen. They reported it just as they had seen and heard it. Jesus gave them a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that they could report it word for word without mistakes. When it comes to Jesus rising from the dead, we have extraordinary eyewitnesses.

When the details of the resurrection get garbled in your head, go back to the original accounts in the Bible and read them again for yourself: Matthew chapter 28, Mark chapter 16, Luke chapter 24, and John chapter 20. You will be able to read what the eyewitnesses have to say, and can enjoy repeating their story with gusto and joy.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 746, st. 6)
Lord, I love to tell the story.
O wonderful redemption!
The price for sin is paid,
Salvation is accomplished
My heart is unafraid
For God has raised Christ Jesus
To show the work was done;
His glorious resurrection
Declared the vict-ry won! 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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Marvelous Message – April 17, 2024

Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations.
Luke 24:47

Marvelous Message

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Daily Devotion – April 17, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:47


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Jesus had some pretty interesting things to say. He found people who thought they were living their best lives, and he told them that it wasn’t good enough. They had to repent. He found people who were despairing that they would ever be able to live good lives, and he told them that their sins were forgiven.

Anyone could have said the things that Jesus did. People have talked about living better lives in a variety of ways, but you have to wonder whether their ideas are better than anyone else’s. People can assure you that you should feel better about your life for various reasons, but you have to wonder if those reasons are really valid.

Jesus said that his ideas about how to live were really what God wanted. Jesus said he would earn forgiveness of sins by sacrificing himself on the cross. Then Jesus rose from the dead to prove that what he said was really true.

Jesus told his disciples that the message continues to this day. He calls you to repentance, that is, to stop thinking that your own works can get you to heaven to be sorry for what you have done wrong. He calls you to faith, that is, confidence that your sins are really forgiven through the work of Jesus.

It’s a marvelous message.

Prayer:
Lord God, we give you thanks for clearly calling us to repentance and forgiveness through faith 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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Real Resurrection – April 16, 2024

[Jesus said] “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see, a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Luke 24:39-43

Real Resurrection

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Daily Devotion – April 16, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:39-43


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The early disciples must have wondered if Jesus was a ghost when he rose from the dead. It would have made sense to them. They had seen him die, and they had seen him buried, so if he were to come back from the dead, it would have to be as a spirit.

Jesus demonstrated to them that he had risen from the dead in far more than spirit. He had them touch his body. He showed them the hands and feet that had been nailed to the cross. He ate real food. Jesus had risen from the dead with both soul and body.

In these modern days there are people who insist that Jesus could not actually have risen from the dead. After all, no one does that, right? People are willing to consider the possibility that there are ghosts and even willing to consider the idea of zombies, but they are unwilling to believe that people can rise from the dead, body and soul.

Jesus did rise from the dead, body and soul, and he made it clear that everyone who believes in him will do the same. On judgment day, believers in Jesus will have their real souls reunited with their real bodies in a glorified form, unable to sin anymore.

Because Jesus lives, we too shall live.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your promise of real resurrection. 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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Perfect Peace – April 15, 2024

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Luke 24:36

Perfect Peace

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Daily Devotion – April 15, 2024

Devotion based on Luke 24:36


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In the Middle East, it is common to greet one another by saying, “Peace.” That was true already at the time when Jesus rose from the dead. So when he appeared to his disciples and said, “Peace be with you,” it could have been understood as a simple greeting.

But it was far more than that. The disciples were unsettled. They were not sure that Jesus had really risen from the dead. They were uncertain whether they had done the right thing at the time of his trial and crucifixion. They did not know where they stood with one another, much less where they stood with Jesus.

All those uncertainties made it important for Jesus to greet them by saying, “Peace be with you.” He needed to assure them that his relationship with them was good. Because he had died to take the punishment for their sins because he had risen from the dead to prove that his promise of forgiveness was true, he could calm a whole range of anxiety with those simple words, “Peace be with you.”

We also live with uncertainty. We wonder whether we have done the right thing. We don’t know how we stand with one another, and we waver in our confidence that Jesus loves us. Because Jesus died to take the punishment for our sins because he rose from the dead to prove that his promise of forgiveness for us is true, we rejoice to hear Jesus say it to us, too. “Peace be with you.”

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for calming our anxiety by assuring us that we have perfect peace with 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 Refreshment – April 14, 2024

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.”
Acts 3:19,20

The Ultimate Refreshment

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Daily Devotion – April 14, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 3:19,20


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A multitude of products promise to quench our thirst: A variety of teas and juices, sports drinks, and dozens of brands of soda ranging from caffeine-loaded to caffeine-free all claim that if we drink them, we will find refreshment.

Interestingly, many of these products actually deprive the body of the refreshment it needs. Despite flashy marketing techniques and new and exotic tastes, some beverages fall flat when it comes to delivering the refreshment the consumer is paying for.

The same can be said of the many religions that promise spiritual refreshment. Not many deliver what is promised. Not many deliver what the soul needs: peace, hope, joy, contentment, and freedom from fear.

In fact, only one product delivers true, lasting spiritual refreshment. The only thing that refreshes is the forgiveness of sins.

Only the forgiveness of sins gives peace—peace of conscience and the peace of knowing that we are no longer enemies of God. Only the forgiveness of sins deals with the guilt and scarring left by sin and failure. Only the forgiveness of sins, won for all by Jesus’ death on the cross, gives lasting spiritual refreshment.

In our Bible reading today, the apostle Peter’s call to repentance echoes across the centuries to our hearts. Rather than take forgiveness for granted, we confess our sins and are refreshed with God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness of sins is the ultimate refreshment. It’s free, and it’s yours through Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in you I am forgiven and refreshed. May I always cling to you, my perfect 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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Peace Be With You – April 13, 2024

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

Peace Be With You

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Daily Devotion – April 13, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:19


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What causes you to lock the doors? What makes you afraid?

For Jesus’ first disciples, it was fear of what the Jewish leaders might do to them, fear that they might do to them what they had done to Jesus. You might also say it was fear of the future—fear of an unknown future. That fear caused them to hide and huddle. It paralyzed them.

How about you? What causes you to huddle and hide? What keeps you from taking action in life and in the name of the Lord? Is it fear of what others might say or do? Is it fear of an unknown future? What causes you to lock the doors?

When situations that have the potential to fill you with fear rise around you, Jesus stands next to you and says, “Peace be with you!”

After Jesus spoke those words to his first disciples on Easter evening, he said to them, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” and went on to talk about the work of the Holy Spirit and the gift of forgiveness. Jesus was not only the extender of peace—he was the provider of peace. This is why he had come—to seek and to save the lost, to offer himself in perfect payment for sin, and to offer his living hands and side as positive proof of his victory. Jesus came to bring the forgiveness that disarms fear and opens the way to true, lasting peace.

This peace does not dictate what others might say or do to you, but it keeps you secure no matter what others might say or do. This peace does not determine what the future holds for you, but it does uphold you no matter what the future holds. All of this is wrapped up in Jesus’ words: “Peace be with you!”

Prayer:
O blessed Savior, I thank you for your death and resurrection. Through your faithful work, I know I have peace with God. Continue to bless me with this peace. Use it to calm my fears, remove my doubts, and give me a never-failing joy. 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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