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  10:58:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 351 words  
Categories: Devotions

Too Good To Be True?

“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?

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!

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!

(This devotion comes from wels.net)


  07:57:00 am, by Pastor Plagenz   , 300 words  
Categories: Devotions

The Ultimate Refreshment

“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

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.

Lord Jesus, in you I am forgiven and refreshed. May I always cling to you, my perfect Savior. Amen.

(This devotion comes from wels.net)



  11:20:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 316 words  
Categories: Devotions

My Lord and My God

Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:27,28

My Lord and My God

As a father of twins, it’s not hard for me to understand why a twin would have a problem with people being sure they had seen something. A twin regularly encounters people who believe they saw what the twin knows they did NOT see. “It was my twin sister that you saw” is regular speech for a twin girl.

Thomas wanted more than mere words that his companions had really seen Jesus.

And his gracious Jesus chose to give it to him. A week earlier, he appeared behind doors that were locked in fear and spoke, “Peace,” into the room. And he—personally, tangibly, and audibly gave Thomas what he needed—absolute proof that he, the crucified one, died and buried, was now alive! Thus, the risen Savior could tell Thomas to stop doubting and believe. In faith, Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God!”

We believe, teach, and confess that Jesus continues to come today—personally, tangibly, and audibly. He is present personally and audibly in worship when we hear, “Forgiven in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” His true presence in body and blood for forgiveness in his Supper is unbelievable to some, but the core of faith for the one, holy, Christian, and apostolic Church. “My Lord and my God!” continues to be the confession that springs from jaded, now liberated lips.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the saving love you’ve shown me in the living Christ who continues to come to me in Word and sacrament. Thank you for the confession I get to say today: “My Lord and my God!” Amen.

(This devotion comes from wels.net)


  11:29:00 am, by Pastor Plagenz   , 538 words  
Categories: Devotions

Dont' Look for a Living Person in a Grave!

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Mark 16:1-6,8

Don’t look for a living person in a grave!


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

Where would you look for a spoon in your house? You wouldn’t look for a spoon in your bedroom closet or on a shelf in the living room. That would be silly. Those aren’t places you would find a spoon.

Where would you look for a person you thought had died and been buried? On the first Easter Sunday, there was a group of women who thought they knew. After all, they knew Jesus had died. They knew where Jesus had been buried. They thought they would find him where you would normally find a dead person—in a grave. In a cemetery.

But were they shocked! Instead of a dead Jesus, they found an angel with the most amazing news. “He is risen!” Jesus wasn’t in the grave anymore because Jesus wasn’t dead anymore. He was alive! And you wouldn’t look for living person in a grave!

That was really good news. The women didn’t quite understand it all that first Easter morning. After all, dead people normally don’t come back to life. But Jesus did! And because Jesus was alive, God had good news for all people. God has good news for you!

Jesus died on the cross because he had to take all of our sins from us. And God said that the punishment for sin was death. But he didn’t stay dead. God raised Jesus from the dead so that he was alive again. Here’s what it means for us: Because Jesus is alive, we can be sure that all of our sins, all the times we messed up, all the times we did the wrong thing—ALL of them have been forgiven. Our enemy, the devil, has been defeated. Death has been robbed of its power. Jesus is alive, and because he is alive, you too will live with him forever!

That is all really good news! All because Jesus isn’t dead, but alive. He is risen!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for rising from the dead. Thank you for defeating the devil. Thank you for paying for my sins. Thank you for giving me eternal life in heaven. Amen.

(This devotion comes from wels.net)


  10:35:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 320 words  
Categories: Devotions

Your King Comes to You

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah 9:9,10

Your King Comes to You

Think of the traffic slowly snaking its way to a sold-out concert or opening day baseball game. Crowds of people inch their way closer to the stadium.

Compare that to the crowds who sang praises to Jesus riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Except Jesus wasn’t stationary. He wasn’t waiting for them to move. Zechariah said it well in his prophecy, “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation” (Zechariah 9:9).

Jesus, a King, comes to those who cannot come to him because of sin’s power to hold them down. He takes the initiative. He gets caught in the traffic jam of insults and beatings. He gives up a dark afternoon. He breaks through death’s doors to bring us new life. Now, he bids us to follow. Where?

Heaven, of course! But on the way, won’t we come to others still stuck in sin? As Jesus has already come to us who were waiting for hope, watching for rescue, many are still waiting and watching who need us to come to them.

King Jesus, you came to my heart’s home and set up your throne there. As causes cry for my allegiance, let it always be given to you first before them. Hear my praises that bless and honor you, and in the midst of my joy, direct a portion of my zeal to those still without your love. Amen.

(This devotion comes from wels.net)


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