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  01:12:00 am, by Pastor Plagenz   , 363 words  
Categories: Devotions

No More Slavery to Fear

You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.
Romans 8:15

No More Slavery to Fear

An Oscar-winning film, “The King’s Speech” is based on the true story of Albert Windsor, a shy, stammering member of the British Royal Family. Albert had a severe stammering problem all his life, and the very idea of giving a speech in public filled him with terror. Then, the unthinkable happened. His older brother, the King, abdicated his throne in the 1930s. Albert was the next in line. Duty demanded that he accept the crown. Not long after, World War II broke out. Suddenly, the stammering man who feared public speaking more than anything had to give a radio speech broadcast to millions of people.

By a seeming miracle, he did it. In fact, he did it with hardly a stammer. The secret was his speech therapist. Over time, his speech therapist had removed much of Albert’s fear of public speaking. When the paralyzing fear went away, Albert was able to do what needed to be done.

The day the Holy Spirit brought you to faith in Jesus was the day you didn’t have to be afraid anymore. But the devil hopes you won’t remember that. Satan hopes you’ll stay paralyzed in your old fears, guilt, regrets, and dark memories of past failures. After all, if he can get you to forget what you have in Christ, he’s won the battle for the day.

Today give the devil a bad day. Remember the full forgiveness you possess in the Son of God. Stop and recall that you are a child in God’s family by faith. Take your old fear and have it washed away in the blood of the Lamb.

When you do, then you can live your life free of the old slavery to fear. And you can fluently do the wonderful things God desires for you to do.

Lord Jesus, apart from you I am afraid. In you, however, I have nothing to fear. Empower me by your Spirit to remember that. Use me to do your good work. Amen.

This devotion comes from wels.net


  05:05:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 409 words  
Categories: Devotions

Inconceivable Love

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8,9

Inconceivable Love

When my family first moved overseas, much of the new culture didn’t make sense to me. Their way of thinking was so foreign to me that I couldn’t always understand why they acted the way they did. With time, however, living among our new neighbors, I realized that they weren’t so different after all—they were human beings like me who grew up in a different setting, a different environment, and they behaved accordingly.

In the end, we really should be able to empathize with just about any other person we meet. Studies indicate that we share 99.9% of our DNA in common with all other human beings. The main reason that we can’t get along or see things from the other person’s perspective is that we don’t want to. We want to believe that somehow, we’re better, that our thinking is superior. And that goes for clashes between cultures, countries, and couples.

But what if the person we’re trying to understand is God? Why does he allow suffering? Why does he seem to bless those who do evil? Why does he sometimes take the people we love long before we think it’s time? Because sin and selfishness blind us, much of what God does is incomprehensible to us.

How fortunate for us that his ways are not our ways! Instead of punishing us, on the cross of Jesus, God did “what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived” (1 Corinthians 2:9). God the mighty Creator died for his sinful creatures. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, the debt of everyone’s sin has been paid in full. All who turn to Jesus and trust in him as their Savior are blessed with the peace of forgiveness.

It is not the way of sinful people to freely pardon. It is not the thinking of selfish people to graciously show mercy to enemies. But oh, what a blessed truth: God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways!

Father in heaven, I never could imagine that you would love me as much as you do. Teach me to understand your ways so that I might share them with others. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

This devotion comes from wels.net


  05:35:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 604 words  
Categories: Devotions

While We Were Still Sinners

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

If you knew that someone really important was coming to your house, it’s very likely that you would get to work. You’d want the house to be spotless. You would carefully consider your outfit and be sure you were freshly showered with hair just so. What you wore to clean out the gardens will not work for this guest. You put on an air of togetherness. In your heart, you know it’s a façade. But for the short time the visitor is at your house, the game is on.

Today’s verse is another one of those that is completely upside down by our thinking. “While we were still sinners.” If Jesus were that guest coming to your home, (which he does every day without ringing a doorbell.), you would likely take all that cleaning and all that personal prep to the extreme. “I don’t want him to see me like this!”, you might think. And then there he is…early. Your house is still a mess, your hair looks like you’ve never met a comb, and you’re still wearing the grubs that are saved for cleaning. But your concern goes deeper. You know your heart and you know your sin. You know that there isn’t enough cleaning to get rid of the sin and guilt you carry. You are not at all ready. But Jesus is. And there he is, at your door, smiling with open arms.

That’s us. “While we were still sinners.” That’s us each and every day. We’ll never have a day where sin doesn’t impact our lives. Out of gratitude for all God has done, we try. We work at being kinder, more patient, more generous, more reflective of his grace. And every day we could make an embarrassing list of ways we fall short. And that’s only the things we remember. It makes no sense that Jesus would love us. And yet, not only does he love us, “Christ died for us.” What God sees when he looks at us is hard to imagine because what he sees, because of Jesus, is perfection. He sees you and I as redeemed (bought back) children of his. He didn’t wait for us to “get it right” or “to do better.” Nope. “While we were still sinners.” That kind of love for us is hard to grasp but it’s true. His love is only dependent on him and not dependent on anything we might try to do. He chose to demonstrate his love by his death on the cross. His death was much more than a tragic event. It was the day that God’s Son, Jesus, took all the sins of all the world on himself and paid for all that unimaginable guilt by his death.

So, what do we do now? We can begin with a thankful heart that recognizes that you and I bring nothing of value to God and yet he treasures us as his own dear children. We can continue to grow in faith by being in the Word. We can seek to reflect and share God’s grace to others out of gratitude for what he has done for us. “God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Thank you, Lord.

Dear heavenly Father, it’s hard to put into words the gratitude I have for what you have done for me. Thank you for your love, your forgiveness, your grace, your Son Jesus, my Savior. Amen

This devotion comes from wels.net


  03:41:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 619 words  
Categories: Devotions

A Gift for the World

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17

There is a classic children’s picture book by Margaret Wise Brown called, *The Runaway Bunny. In the story, the little bunny tells his mother he wants to run away. Like any mother, she tells him she would run after him. His response? He will become a fish to escape. She responds that she will become a fisherman and catch him. The story goes on with the little bunny describing himself turning into a rock, a crocus hidden in the garden, a bird, a sailboat and on and on. Each time the mother responds with the lengths she will go to for her son. In the end, he concedes and finds himself snug in her care.

We are often like that little bunny in our relationship with our heavenly Father. We work so hard at doing things on our own. We constantly strive for what we want or even what we think we need. Challenges come and we address them with attempt after attempt at solving them on our own. We struggle with our disappoint over things in our life and especially over our own sin. Our wants often supersede what we truly need—God’s redeeming grace. It’s good to work hard at life, but not without also depending on God’s power and promises.

Today’s Bible verse is one that is known all over the world. You see it referenced on signs at a sporting event or on bumper stickers. It can become so familiar that we can miss the amazing message. “For God so loved the world….” God loved the world so much. Think about that. We don’t really have a lovable world. The evidence of sin is not hard to see all around us. When we reflect on ourselves, the perfection that God demands of us is nowhere to be seen. We can hardly put a foot on the floor in the morning without sin rearing its ugly head. And yet… God “gave his one and only son.” Why? A love that is beyond our comprehension. A love that makes no earthly sense. A love that is utterly undeserved and yet fully and freely given. God’s amazing love for his creation, for us. His love that sent his son, Jesus, “to save the world through him.” This is the message of John 3:16. God’s incomparable love to save those who can never save themselves from the grip and consequences of sin.

The mother bunny was relentless in her love for her little one. The love of parents for their children can be exceptional. None of this compares with God’s love for you, for me, for all. His love that sent Jesus because he wants us to believe in him, to trust in him, to know that he is all we need. His desire is for us to be with him at home in heaven. God so loved the world. God so loved you.

Dear heavenly Father, there is so much that I think I need or want. Remind me that my greatest need was met by you when you sent Jesus as my Savior. Forgive me when I stray and keep me always close to you. It’s in your name I pray. Amen

A Hymn to Consider: For further meditation on John 3:16, reflect on the following hymn.
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
Christian Worship 21 523

*Brown, M W (1942). The runaway bunny. Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. New York, NY.

(This devotion comes for wels.net)


  01:29:00 am, by Pastor Plagenz   , 310 words  
Categories: Devotions

An Unlimited Guarantee

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:15

An Unlimited Guarantee

When purchasing a product, we are interested in the manufacturer’s warranty. What does the company promise to repair or replace? How long is the warranty good for? How reliable is the business making the guarantee? Usually warranties are limited to varying degrees and cover only certain items for a specific period of time. Manufacturers do not issue warranties that cover their products without exceptions. Every guarantee is limited.

Except one, God’s guarantee of rescuing us from death and hell. God made a promise to the first people on earth. They had fallen into sin and lost the perfection with which God created them. Their sin condemned them to eternal separation from God in hell and not only them, but the whole human race. But God made a promise. He declared that a descendant of those first sinful people would come and destroy the devil’s power over them. That mighty offspring of the woman would deliver them from death, by being delivered to death himself. Yet he would overcome hell and guarantee for his people life forever.

Unlike a manufacturer’s limited warranty, God promise of salvation is full and free and offered to the whole world. The reliability of this promise is as sure as the existence of the eternal God who loves all people so much that he came into our world to fully accomplish what he promised.

Look at your Savior, Jesus, on the cross. He is your guarantee of unlimited life with God.

Lord, thank you that in your mercy you do not condemn me as my sins deserve but rather give me your ironclad guarantee of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus. Amen.

(This devotion comes from wels.net)


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