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02/19/24

  12:13:00 am, by Pastor Plagenz   , 403 words  
Categories: Devotions

The Lord Provides

So Abraham called that place, “The LORD Will Provide.” And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD, it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:14

The Lord Provides

It started as the worst day of Abraham’s life. His precious son—his only child—had been a source of great joy. God had promised that Abraham and his son would be ancestors of the most important person in the history of the world—Jesus, God himself.

But then God threw Abraham a curveball—a big one. He asked Abraham to sacrifice his son to him. It didn’t make sense AT ALL. God created life, he loves life, and he protects life. God loved Abraham and his son deeply. Why would he end Isaac’s life so soon? How would he ever become a great-great-great-great-(fill in a lot more ‘greats’)-grandfather of Jesus? Isaac was only a boy; he hadn’t had any children yet.

Yet, Abraham trusted God and his promises. Analyzing it all, Abraham concluded that God must be planning a resurrection of his son from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). That was the only way, he thought, that God could fulfill his promise of blessing the whole world through the Savior that God promised would descend from Abraham through Isaac. So he marched up the mountain with his son, ready to do what God commanded because he knew he could count on God’s unchangeable promises.

The Lord stopped Abraham before he harmed his son. He also provided a substitute sacrifice—a ram. What a breathtaking blessing! Being able to sacrifice the ram instead of his son! Abraham gave the special place a name. He didn’t call it “The worst day of my life” or “The day I almost lost my son.” No, not a self-centered name. Instead, he called it “The LORD Will Provide.”

The Lord has provided for us, too. He sacrificed his Son to die the death we deserved as sinners. As sinners, we don’t deserve to have the favor of the Lord, yet in Christ, we do. We don’t deserve his forgiveness, yet in Christ, it is ours. The Lord has provided a substitute for us. Jesus died to free us to live with the Lord forever.

Prayer:
Dear Savior, thank you for being willing to take the fall for what I have done. What a heartwarming privilege it is to know that you paid for my sins in full, so I don’t have to. Amen.

(This devotion comes from WELS.net)

 

02/12/24

  10:24:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 512 words  
Categories: Devotions

Keep Listening to Jesus

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. Peter said to Jesus, “It is good for us to be here. (He did not know what to say.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Mark 9:2,3,5-7

Keep Listening to Jesus!

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Has someone tried to tell you something and you just did not understand them? Maybe Mom says, “Hey, would you grab that water glass for me from over there?” That’s confusing! Where is “there”? Is it on the counter? Is it in another room? Then she points directly to where the glass is. Oh good, now you know!

In a way, the same thing happened with Jesus and his disciples. For about three years, Jesus had been showing the disciples that he was the one who had come to die for everyone’s sins, but they still didn’t really get it.

Just a few verses before the section of God’s Word you read from Mark 9, Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah (Mark 8:29), but in our text for today, he shows that he didn’t really understand what that meant. When Peter saw Jesus in his glory on the mountain, he wanted to stay there, but that was not what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah. No, the Messiah had to come down the mountain and go to the cross to die. That’s what it meant to be the Messiah.

All of us are like Peter in some ways. We believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but sometimes we don’t understand (or sometimes forget) what that really means for our lives. We don’t understand that he really will be there for us, that he really wants what is best for us, that he really loves us no matter what, that he will really always forgive us. We might have to suffer now for being a Christian, but a forever time with Jesus is our future.

Meanwhile, look at what God does for Peter and us. He doesn’t scold Peter and say, “Peter, you don’t get it!” God simply points to Jesus and says, “This is my Son, listen to him.”

Let’s do that! Let’s keep listening because this is a very special week. This Wednesday is called Ash Wednesday. Let’s follow Jesus to find out where “here” is. It’s wherever the cross is. Whenever you find yourself at the cross, say, “It’s good, Lord, to be here!”

Closing Prayer:

Jesus, give me wisdom to know you better and to trust you more strongly. Help me follow your lead and listen to what you say so that I may understand how much you love me and what you have planned for me. Amen.

(This devotion comes from wels.net)

02/05/24

  12:35:00 am, by Pastor Plagenz   , 266 words  
Categories: Devotions

Depending on Our Great God

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Isaiah 40:26

Depending on Our Great God

Have you ever wondered when Michaelangelo finally knew that the Sistine Chapel was done? How did Leonardo da Vinci know Mona Lisa’s smile was just right? At what point did Rembrandt know he had finished a masterpiece?

Now try to grasp our God creating the universe and concluding that one more star would be too many, and one less would be not enough. Think about the fact that he called them all into existence and named each one of them.

It is valuable to feel small and insignificant in the presence of our great God. We are reminded how blessed we are to be dependent on him. This great God has given his Son to pay for our sins. This great God assures us that we can rest securely in his protective care. This great God comes to us in his Word and tells us how much he loves us.

Prayer: (Psalm 108:3-6)
I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, let your glory be over all the earth. Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. Amen

(This devotion comes from WELS.net)

01/28/24

  06:48:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 267 words  
Categories: Devotions

Amazed

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
Mark 1:21,22

Amazed

What does it take to amaze you? Are you often astounded? Or does that happen somewhat infrequently, only when there’s something really out of the ordinary?

Mark says that the people were amazed when Jesus taught in the synagogue. Why so? It was because of the content of Jesus’ teaching. The religious leaders simply demanded from the people: “Do this! Live this way! Act this way!” Jesus, on the other hand, spoke not merely of external things, but spoke to the heart. He spoke of God’s promises being fulfilled of the promised Savior—himself! He told them that in him was the salvation which God had promised to send to the world.

Think of it—God loved you and me enough to come to this earth himself. God loved you and me so much that he was willing to live our life and willing to die for us. We sinful humans had separated ourselves from God and had no way to get back to him, but God loved you too much to lose you, so he did what was necessary to reunite you to him. He lived, he died, he rose, all for you!

Amazing. And true! Because it comes from God!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for teaching me about all you have done for me. May it always amaze me! Amen.

(This devotion comes from wels.net)

01/21/24

  11:56:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 408 words  
Categories: Devotions

Come, Follow Me

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Mark 1:14-20

Come, Follow Me

Jesus is a king who has a kingdom, and he calls us to follow him as our leader. We are usually suspicious of people who claim to be great leaders, especially political leaders like kings. We wonder if they are gathering a following so they might use their power over us. So, we are cautious about following those who claim to be great leaders.

But that is not what happened in Galilee 2,000 years ago. Jesus came proclaiming that he was a king who had a kingdom and that all people should follow him. Remarkably, men like Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John did. They left everything to follow Jesus.

They were willing to follow Jesus because he was a different kind of king with a different kind of kingdom. Instead of taking from people, he gave great blessings to people. Instead of gathering a following to control, he gathered a following to set them free. He didn’t rule to take the lives of others. He came to give up his life to rescue people from sin and death. That is why the first disciples were willing to give up everything and follow Jesus.

Now what about you? Are you willing to follow this King? Jesus’ kingdom is one of freedom and forgiveness. It is a kingdom of good news—the good news of eternal salvation.

Repent and follow Jesus your King!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my King. I repent of all my sins before you. I ask you to wash them all away. And now teach me to follow you in all my ways that I might bring glory to your name! Amen.

(This devotion comes from wels.net)

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