2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

We no longer live in a world of absolutes. There are many shades of grey to everything. Everybody can have their own version of the truth…of what is right. However that puts as at odds with the Bible, which is full of absolutes. The verse today says “all” of Scripture is directly from God. Certainly there can be cultural differences regarding things like head coverings, and Old Testament laws like sacrifices which have been superceeded by New Testament ones. But the Bible is the word of God for us — the single version of the truth for our lives. And it is very useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training…in righteousness. There is nothing else in all the world described this way. There is nothing in all the world this useful.

Lord, please help me and all people to value the absolutes of the Bible for what they are — the very words of God. Amen.

The Verse of the Day is delivered by www.wels.net and shared each day through WELS Mobile (http://m.wels.net).

Acts 1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Sumaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Each person is part of a network. We are connected to a close circle of family and friends. Then we have extended family and acquaintances. And finally we are connected to the entire human race as part of God's creation. God made us to be part of these networks. Why? Well one reason is that we need them. We are created that way. God made Adam that way, and very quickly gave him Eve. Studies have shown that people who must endure long stretches of isolation have extreme problems during the isolation and then again once back amongst people.

Another reason we have built in networks as Christians is to do what the Holy Spirit beckons us to do — tell those networks about Jesus. God also created us to do that. To be God's witnesses! He gives us opportunities every day to say what's on our hearts. And the Holy Spirit, through faith, has put on our hearts the Gospel…this GREAT NEWS that these earthly networks don't have to end. They can continue to eternity as others who become a part of God's network can experience perfect joy and thanksgiving with God in heaven.

Lord, may I be a witness to my networks and to the very ends of the earth! Amen.

The Verse of the Day is delivered by Bible Gateway and shared each day through WELS Mobile (http://m.wels.net).

Psalm 46:1

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

In short God is our everything, all the time, in every circumstance. He provides protection and he provides the energy and will to do his will. He is our power source. He is our shield. There is nothing that we need that he cannot and does not provide. I can walk out the door this morning knowing he will drive with me, work with me, and provide all I need. I also know he will be with those I love.

Lord, my refuge, my strength, I love you and am humbled to be called your child! Amen.

The Verse of the Day is delivered by Bible Gateway and shared each day through WELS Mobile (http://m.wels.net).

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Christians Under Construction – Week 22

Christians Under Construction is a series of devotions designed for family use each week focused on Christian stewardship. It was originally developed for a congregation stewardship series and intended as a weekly resource. I thought I’d republish here for those interested in using them. Here is week twenty-two:

Matthew 7:24–27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Little Mary Gentry was thoroughly enjoying herself as she played in her room. She loved to build imaginary houses with blankets, sheets, clothespins, chairs and broomsticks. She had everything propped up just like she liked it. Of course, she had to be careful because one slip could bring it all crashing down. She’d done that many times before. In fact, she couldn’t even open her windows for fear that a breeze coming through would send her delicate structure to the floor.

Her brother Bill Jr. enjoyed doing the same thing, except his “house” was up in a tree and cobbled together with old wooden planks and bent nails. He had to be equally cautious. One false step and not only would his construction project come crashing down, but so would he.

Both Bill and Mary’s houses remind us of Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish builders. One builder built his on rock and the other on sand. One could withstand wind and rain. The other could not. One took the time, planned and did it right. The other did not.

What kind of builder are you? If you believe your house is in good shape then Jesus is referring to you when he says, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” If that is the case, we need not worry about the winds of earthly problems that howl at our door. If that is the case, we aren’t bothered by the rains of depression, sorrow, pain and suffering that beat down on our roofs.

What’s that you say? Some of those things do bother you? You occasionally are worried by those pesky earthly problems? You are not alone. All Christians are in the same boat. It’s not that our foundation isn’t solid. It is. It is Jesus Christ. His suffering, death and resurrection have created a rock solid base for our faith and life.

What is the problem then? It is simply the fact that we are still “Christians Under Construction.” We’ve started to build on a firm foundation, but we aren’t done yet. The roof may not be on yet, windows may be missing, tile may need to be laid. That’s a problem isn’t it? Yes and no. It’s a problem if we simply leave things in the state they are – unfinished. However, if we commit ourselves to completing the project, those winds and rains will cause fewer and fewer problems. As our construction projects move forward our faith grows. God has promised that.

God tells us that by listening to his word and putting it into practice, we will grow! It will require our time — make no mistake. But God has already done the hard part by giving up his son for our salvation. If we listen to his word regularly, our spiritual house becomes stronger. We need not worry about “taking a false step.” Even if we do, we have forgiveness and the promise from God to help us learn how to take “true steps.” Take every opportunity to listen to God’s Word. Use the time that you have to “build” in church, in Sunday School, in Bible Class, in at-home study and devotion. Build, build, build! It’s raining out!

Discussion Questions: In what ways can rain be like the problems of this world? Are you ever frustrated by how slow your building project is going? If so, how could you speed things up?

(Note to parents: You may want to review the facts of the story to reinforce the lesson.)

Family Reading: Matthew 7

Prayer: Lord, it’s raining and we are getting wet. Inspire us to listen to your words and put them into practice. With your foundation and your salvation we can build and withstand the wind and the rain of sin. Amen.

Psalm 119:160

“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”

We don't live in a society that tolerates absolutes. Truth is whatever you believe it to be. But God operates on a different set of principles or laws. His word is the truth…the only real truth. His words are not up for interpretation or there for us to put our own spin on for our own situation. Nor are his words for a particular time or generation. They are timeless. They are eternal.

Lord, thank you for being the same today as you were yesterday and will be tomorrow. We can count on your words being true…especially your words about a savior and our salvation through Jesus. Amen.

The Verse of the Day is taken from WELS Mobile at http://m.wels.net.

Psalm 119:130

“The unfolding of your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple.”

Sometimes we just want things to be simple. If there were just an easy button around when we have hard tasks or decisions ahead of us. But life isn't simple. It requires us to get smarter constantly — to learn from the past and our mistakes and then to use God-given wisdom to live a God-pleasing life.

But simply being a life long learner by the worlds definition is not enough according to the Psalmist. The understanding and wisdom we really need only comes from God as he “unfolds” his Word for us. That is what lightens the dark eyes of sin we were born with. As we read, study and share God's Word, we become “enlightened.” We move beyond the simpleness of spiritual infancy and grow up into productive disciples. All that through the power of God's Word.

Lord, enlighten me by unfolding your word for me daily. Amen.

The Verse of the Day is provided by the WELS Mobile app available at http://m.wels.net.

 

Philippians 2:9-11

“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 acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

What happens when you think or speak the name of Jesus? Sometimes there is shame because we know that our constant companion has seen and heard our daily failures to honor him. Sometimes there is comfort because we know that we are not ever alone and that he “has our back”. But does your knee ever bow?

Jesus is our king and reigns in our hearts. At the very thought or Jesus or the slightest utterance of his name we need to honor him, acknowledge his kingship and fall to our knees. Not because we need to be afraid, but because we are in the presence of God, our Savior.

Matthew 24:35

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

Two promises from Jesus here. The first is that the world, as we know it, will end. There are other places in scripture that tell us how…and will make the flood or the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah seem tiny. The second promise is that Jesus' words, in fact all of God's Word, will stand forever. His commands to love the Lord, and love one another. His calls for a clean heart. His promises! His promise that we will live forever with him in pure joy. Such comfort when we look around at our dying world, our dying bodies, all our weaknesses. All other “prophets, gods, and other saviors” are dead. Not Jesus. He and his promises are alive and well!

Lord, help me today to focus on the things that last. Remind me that despite the rundown world we live in, you have promised one that will last forever. Amen.

The Verse of the Day is delivered by Bible Gateway and shared each day through WELS Mobile (http://m.wels.net).

Jeremiah 23:24

“Who can hide in secret places so I cannot see them? declares the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.

Two rhetorical questions in today's verse of the day. “No one!” Is the answer of course. In fact that is often times the answer when we think about our God. No one. Who loves us more than God? No one! Who has the power to give us eternal life but God? No one! Who but God can watch over us 24/7/365, protect us, comfort us, and bless us? No one!

We have a God like no other who was the only one who could come to earth as a man, live a perfect life and then die FOR US! He is the only God we need. He deserves to be at the very center of our lives, our marriages, our families. No one or no thing else.

Lord, I shall have no other gods before you! Amen.

The Verse of the Day is provided by Bible Gateway and made available through WELS Mobile at http://m.wels.net.

Isaiah 40:31

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint,”

The verse of the day today is one of my favorite passages in all the Bible. It is packed with meaning for me and the illustrations that are used inspire me. It is little wonder that we see this passage used in all kinds of Christian imagery, paintings, and inspirational usages.

One thing to notice about this passage is the progress of ability to move forward. Isaiah talks about soaring/flying, running and then walking. For me the point is that each of us, no matter what stage of life we are or how supercharged our engine, movement forward, in the hope of the LORD, is possible and renewing! Our situation doesn't matter. Our power source is still our God. He enables whatever we need to do for him. Preach, teach, correct, share, love, minister, care for, give glory. It doesn't matter. We can do it in Christ!

Lord, whether I soar, run or walk today give me strength to do it to your glory. Amen.

The Verse of the Day is delivered by Bible Gateway and shared each day through WELS Mobile (http://m.wels.net).