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The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
Proverbs 10:28

What do you hope for?
Remember hoping for that car? Perhaps it was months or years. Perhaps it was a new car, or maybe a classic muscle car. You researched all the online websites. You read up on the pros and cons and finally you made the purchase. It was a happy day, but the days that followed were not quite as happy. The expenses started to add up. No matter how much you babied it, you couldn’t stop the grocery cart from running into it, the hail storm from pelting it, or some of it parts from failing. Your high hopes were coming to nothing but frustrations.
This scenario holds true for every earthly thing we set our hearts on, because in the end, it will all come to nothing. The Bible tells us “the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:10). In the same way the hopes of the wicked, that is, the unbelievers, will come to nothing because their hopes are not in God. As a result they too will be destroyed.
For what do we hope? On what do our thoughts linger? Too often it’s the things of this world, isn’t it? We are led to believe that the new job with more money or new clothes or new electronics will bring us lasting happiness and joy. Those are simply Satan’s lies, lies that, in the end, will come to nothing.
Proverbs 10:28 tells us there is hope, hope for the righteous, hope that will bring lasting joy. Those who put their hope and trust in Jesus, who believe in him as their Lord and Savior from sin, have a truly joyful hope and prospect for this life and the life to come. Jesus is our most priceless treasure. Putting our hope in him and his promises gives us absolute assurance that our sins are forgiven and heaven is ours.
Certainly the Lord has given us many wonderful gifts, even worldly ones. But let us not treasure them over and above Jesus, our most priceless treasure. Jesus alone is our Joy!

Prayer:
Dear Lord, keep me from craving the things of this world and help me to keep Jesus as my most priceless treasure. Amen.

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When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9:36

A Compassionate Savior
"My God needs to be loving." Fred was adamant in describing what God should be like. "He should answer all my prayers. He should accept me the way I am. Finally he should let me into heaven because I have been a good person."
There are many people who want God to fit this kind of description. They feel he should respond to their every whim and desire. They want him to overlook most, if not all of their infractions. They also assume he should open wide the doors of heaven because they have been good people. While this may be what many want, Jesus offers a different picture of what it means to be a compassionate Lord and Savior.
Jesus' compassion for all people was evident in the way he responded to them and their needs. He saw people "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." He, then, acted accordingly to relieve their needs. This is an important picture because it is still applicable. Instead of me, as one of the Lord's sheep, directing the shepherd to do what I demand, the shepherd is always there doing what is best for me.
In compassion Jesus knows me and my life. He knows my challenges. He knows my troubles. He even knows the burden of guilt I carry. In compassion he responds to these needs and more. While I may not always understand his answer, I can always trust it will be the best for me. I can be confident of this because, as my compassionate Savior, he laid down his life for me. He lived and died so that I could know his undeserved love and boundless compassion. There is no clearer evidence of Jesus' love than this: the shepherd giving up his life for a harassed, helpless and wandering sheep such as me. This is the precious assurance I need to put my trust in Jesus, to faithfully follow him as my Shepherd, and in all things to joyfully acknowledge he is my compassionate Savior.

Prayer:
O dearest and compassionate Savior, I rejoice in your love for me. I also rejoice in your tender, loving care. Keep me as your own until I arrive in the heavenly home you have prepared for me. Amen.

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While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Matthew 9:10-13

The Pharisees did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. They didn’t accept him as the one God had promised to rescue them from sin’s curse and deliver them from their enemy Satan. As proof of their position, they pointed to Jesus’ activity of dining with people of ill-reputation (tax collectors) and eating with those whose lifestyle opposed God’s law (“sinners”). Their logic was that if Jesus is God, he would know what kind of people he was associating with and avoid them.
Jesus responded to his unbelieving critics, "It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." The Pharisees considered themselves spiritually healthy because they strived to live good and obedient lives before God. They didn’t think they needed Jesus for spiritual healing to save them. So Jesus told them that he couldn’t help them because they wouldn’t admit that they were sick with sin. However, Jesus made it clear that he was glad to minister to those who admit their guilt and look to him as their only hope for salvation.
Jesus quotes God’s word recorded in Hosea’s prophecy, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Salvation from the condemnation we deserve as sinners doesn’t come by sacrifices that we make—by good things that we strive to do and wrong things we seek to avoid. Not at all! Rather, rescue from the curse of sin comes only by everything Jesus has done for us. The “mercy” that God desires is to sincerely admit that we are sinners and trust Jesus alone for full forgiveness of sins and free salvation from eternal death.
Jesus came to call sinners. That’s me. That’s you. He is our Savior!

Prayer:
Help me realize, dear Jesus, that I am sick with sin. Open my eyes to see you as my Savior and my heart to put my complete trust in you for salvation. Then open up my mouth to speak your praises for all your great goodness. Amen.

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"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
Matthew 7:21-23

Many people think being a Christian is all about treating people fairly, doing to others what you want them to do to you, always doing the right thing in your life. While those are all good things, none of them makes a person a Christian.
Jesus said there would be people who do miracles and preach in his name and still not go to heaven. Only those who do the will of God are going to heaven. If I keep the Ten Commandments then, does that make me a Christian?
No, because I can’t keep the Ten Commandments. For God requires that not only my actions be perfectly conformed to his holy will, he also commands the same for my words and even my thoughts! Don’t murder includes not yelling in anger at the crazy driver who cut me off in traffic. Don’t steal includes not complaining about the lack of things in my life that I see others having in theirs. Don’t commit adultery includes not doing anything that hurts my marriage–-ignoring or criticizing my spouse.
Despite my many failures to obey God’s commands, I know I am going to heaven. I’m absolutely certain! How can I be sure?
Jesus gave his life for me. He kept all the Ten Commandments in my place. He offered his life as payment for all the sins I’ve done–-the complaining and hurting and yelling and thousands of other sinful actions, words, and thoughts.
I’m going to heaven because of Jesus. Nothing I do. Nothing I can do. Jesus has done it all for me. Not because I founded an orphanage or gave blood numerous times to the Red Cross or did other “Christian works.” Jesus will welcome me home because he fulfilled God’s will perfectly as my substitute. Heaven is his gift to me.
Even better, heaven is Jesus’ gift to you also. Being a Christian is not about what you do. Being a Christian is trusting Jesus who has done everything for you. He has forgiven you at the cost of his own life.

Prayer:
Jesus, forgive me for taking false pride in the Christian things I do. Thanks for your unearned love and forgiveness, and the gift of heaven which you give to me by faith alone. Help me do the right things and treat people fairly as a simple way of thanking you for your gift of heaven. Amen.

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11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Proverbs 3:11-12

Our heavenly Father’s loving discipline keeps us humble and focused on our Savior Jesus and the free forgiveness that we have through him. Through discipline our Father turns our attention to his word to sculpt, mold, and equip us as followers of Jesus to be more productive Christians. Our Father disciplines us to keeps our eyes on the perfect joy that he has promised for us in our eternal home in heaven.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your loving discipline. Help me to embrace it instead of getting angry at you for it. Use your discipline to make me a more productive Christian and to help me focus on heaven where there will be no more need for discipline. I ask this in the name of my Savior Jesus. Amen.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14

As remarkable as the description of our Triune God is (he is three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and yet one undivided God), the blessings that we receive through our Triune God are perhaps even more remarkable. We see these blessings summarized so simply in this final verse of the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Our Triune God blesses us with:
His grace. His love. His fellowship.
First, his grace. God’s grace, by its very definition, is a gift–-something that he gives us even though we do not deserve it. What is that gift of God’s grace? It is himself! God himself took on flesh and came into our world to live the perfect life that we could not and then died the innocent death that we deserved to die because of our sins. Both Jesus’ perfect life and innocent death were done in our place in order to win for us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is what saves us. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is the reason those who believe in him will rejoice in heaven one day rather than suffer in hell.
Next, his love. God’s love is what drove him, what motivated him, what moved him to give us such a gift of his grace. If God did not love us, he would have left us to suffer for what our sins deserved. “Every man for himself!” would have been the cry from a God who did not love. But God did love, because God is love. His love moved him to send his Son to save us from eternal death in hell and give us life with him forever.
Finally, his fellowship. Fellowship with God is what we now have because of his grace and love. People who have fellowship are united. They share all good things with each other. No barriers separate them. How amazing it is to think that unholy sinners like we are could ever have fellowship with a holy God! But we do! And now we enjoy all the blessings of his fellowship: a new life in Christ, answered prayers, unity with fellow believers, the comfort of sins forgiven and life that will never end. We have fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, both now and forever. We have fellowship with God because of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was driven by the love of God.
The grace, the love, the fellowship. This is who our God is. This is how our God blesses us. This is why we are saved. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Prayer:
O Triune God, we praise you for the remarkable blessings you have given to us—your grace, your love, your fellowship. Keep us in them always. Amen.

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WELS

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

When God Chose to Love Us
Some years ago, actor Harrison Ford starred in a motion picture entitled, Regarding Henry. Ford portrays a man by the name of Henry Turner. Henry is a successful Manhattan lawyer. He is also callous, cruel, adulterous, unethical and self-absorbed. His toxic personality made life miserable for his wife and daughter. The family is on the verge of collapse.
Then, something happens. Henry walks into a convenience store just as a robbery is about to take place. Bullets fly. Henry gets shot in the head. The trauma he sustains is severe. He nearly dies.
Many months pass. After much rehabilitation, Henry is able to walk and talk and function as before. But his memory of life before the shooting is still unclear. As he works to fit back into his old life, he slowly learns from others what kind of a man he had once been. The Henry who exists after the shooting discovers that he wants nothing to do with the Henry who existed before the shooting. He becomes a devoted husband, a caring father, a principled lawyer, a faithful friend.
Here’s a question: For which man would you rather die to save…the Henry who existed before the shooting, or the Henry who exists after the shooting?
Today’s Bible verse tells us that Christ died for us “while we were still sinners.” At a time when hearts of people contained nothing but the bitter bile of sin, at a time when we were all about us and wanted nothing to do with God–-at that time God chose to become one of us, to take on himself the punishment for our toxic lives, to die on the cross to wash us clean.
That’s the kind of love God has for you in Jesus. It doesn’t depend on what you do for him. It doesn’t depend on what you did for him. God’s love for you in Jesus flows from himself.
That simple truth makes me want to be like the Henry who exists after the shooting. No doubt that simple truth makes you want to do the same.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, at a time when I was nothing but sin, you died for me. Now I’m yours by faith alone. Move me by your Spirit to live my life for you. Amen.

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[Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God … being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:20-21

Eyes of Love
There’s a story about a nighttime fire that started in a family’s house. The entire family escaped except for one child–-a young boy. The fire had forced him to keep climbing until he found himself on the roof. The boy was trapped. He could not go back downstairs–-the heat was too intense. The smoke around him was so thick that it left him disoriented and confused. The thought of jumping off that roof paralyzed him with fear. So he stood, and time was running out.
But then below him, in the darkness, beyond the smoke, there came a voice. It was the voice of his father. “Jump, Son, jump!” the father cried out. “Just jump, and I will catch you.” But the boy could not see his father. On that terrible roof, all he could see were flames, sparks, darkness and smoke. In a choking voice the boy sobbed, “I’m afraid to jump, Daddy. I can’t see you.”
It was then that the father cried out the one thing that made all the difference. “I know you can’t see me, Son,” the father said. “But I can see you.” That’s all the boy needed to hear. He jumped. His father caught him, and all was well.
Because of your sin and mine, life in this broken world is often like standing on the roof of a burning house. So much smoke, so much chaos, so much confusion–-it can paralyze us with fear.
But beyond the darkness comes the voice of our heavenly Father. Through the power of his Word he calls to us. He calls to us to trust him, to trust his promises, to trust his will for our lives. And trust him we can–-not because we see through the smoke, but because he does.
Our heavenly Father sees us. And he will catch us. Every time. After all, he gave his own Son to wash us clean and make us his own. Since then, his eyes of love have never left us.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, through the darkness and smoke of this fallen world, you see us. By your Spirit, embrace us in this marvelous truth. Move us to trust your promises and your will for our lives. Amen.

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But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. … Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
Romans 3:21-25a, 27-28

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9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 3:9-10

An “EGGS”TRAORDINARY Honor
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” That is a familiar phrase. It's so familiar that we might begin to think we own the eggs.
But the eggs really aren’t ours. God provides us with all that we have. He will never stop providing us with all that we need. He gives us what we need so that we can use his great blessings for his glory.
God loves us. He proved this by providing us with his Son. Jesus Christ’s concern was never his own welfare; it was ours. He honored his Father with the best he had to give–his own life–as the payment for the debt of our sin. Rich as Jesus was, he gave it all away for us. Jesus spared no expense when he laid down his life. And we, in exchange, are guaranteed in his resurrection a share of his wealth. Though we faced death as indebted sinners, Jesus has made us inheritors of eternal salvation. Believe and never doubt that God will always provide.
How can we thank him? One way is by being generous with his gifts. You might not think you have much to give, but don’t forget to include your time–God gives all of us the same amount. Don’t forget your energy–which God promises to provide so we may accomplish the works he has already prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
Since Jesus freed us from the need to selfishly serve ourselves, we are free to be generous with all he has generously given us. We are free to give the best of all that he has given us because he has given us his best. Honor God's love. Give glory to Jesus for his generous grace!
You can safely put all your eggs in one basket if you're giving them to God, who gives you every good and perfect gift, including life in heaven.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship - 485)
We give thee but thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from thee.

May we thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive,
And gladly, as thou blessest us,
To thee our firstfruits give.

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God saw all that he had made and it was very good.
Genesis 1:31

The first six days of time…what a busy work week it was! Days of work and painstaking attention to detail. Read through Genesis chapter 1 and you will find great effort and precision and fine, detailed work. God, the almighty and all-knowing creator of the universe, took care to put everything in order so that it was all just right. He didn’t do just an OK job. His own evaluation of the work: “it was very good.” In a word: perfect.
I wish I could say that about my projects. I recently built an outdoor basketball hoop for the kids and after only two hours under the warm sun it certainly wasn’t perfect. It was hard work, along with frustration and impatience. There were banged fingers and mumbled words. And when it was all said and done, the hoop was leaning a little to the left. “Perfect” was a not a word that could be used to describe it.
Think about your own week of work. I am guessing “perfect” doesn’t fit you either. Perhaps there was some frustration which led to a few curses. Maybe there was some impatience with others which led to arguments. Let’s face it, we often give much less than our best and even our best is not the perfection that our Lord demands and expects. Even our best efforts are tainted with sin. God can’t look at our lives and say “perfect.” For that reason, we deserve God’s punishment in this world and the next.
Thankfully God showed just as much precision and care in planning our salvation as he did in creating the world. When it came to saving us from our sins, he also showed attention to every detail. He sent Jesus to be our Savior. And just like the Father, our Savior is perfect. He lived a sinless life in our place. The Bible tells us that he never once sinned. He was the perfect substitute we needed in life and also in death. Jesus gave his life on the cross to pay for our sins and to win our forgiveness and salvation. As the Father looked down from heaven and saw Jesus die for the sins of you and me and the whole world, he declared it to be “very good.” Thank God for the perfect work of Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, my perfect Savior, thank you for living and dying in my place. Give me the strength to live my life for you. Amen.

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Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:16-20

Christians don’t have all the answers.
God tells us that he is the Father, he is the Son, he is the Holy Spirit. Each “person” is God and distinct from the other two. At the same time, God tells us he is only one God. How can three be one? We don’t have the answer.
Christians don’t have all the answers. God did not write the Bible to give us all the answers, but he does answer these most important questions:
• What is my purpose in life?
• How do I relate to God?
• What happens when I die?
Answers to these questions are life-changing, and Jesus wants everyone to know them. So Jesus commissioned to Christians to share these answers with everyone. This is what he meant by “making disciples of all nations.” With these answers, people can have a full life, a great relationship with God, and complete security for their future after death.
Christians don’t know everything. But we do know:
• We mess up in life. We do bad things, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose. Those bad things make God angry with us.
• Jesus sacrificed his own life to make up for all the bad things we’ve done. God has forgiven all our sins because of Jesus.
• God gives us his friendship and he reserves a place in heaven for us. No charge. No conditions. We couldn’t afford the entrance fee. Heaven is God’s gift to us through Jesus.
We may not have all the answers. But the answers we do have make a huge difference. We gladly make disciples (students) of all nations by sharing the answers we do have.
We can’t explain everything. God says he is three persons in one God—too much for my brain. That’s OK. I am absolutely certain I’m going to heaven because Jesus died for me. Once I get there, I can ask God for those answers.
You can make the same plans. Because Jesus died for you too. No question about it.
Prayer:
Jesus, thanks for giving me the answers I need to know. Amen.

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414-256-3888
Email
Address
N16W23377 Stone Ridge Drive Milwaukee, WI 53222
www.wels.net/contact-us Twitter: @welstweets www.facebook.com/welslutherans
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Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod - Christ's Love, Our Calling.
Introduction

WELS is a group of nearly 400,000 men, women, and children in nearly 1,300 congregations across the United States and Canada united by a common faith in Christ's saving love. We are committed to a common calling—encouraging each other in our faith and sharing God's gift of a Savior with the rest of the world.

What's in a name?

Our acronym stands for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. We admit, it's a mouthful. But each word is significant.

Wisconsin is where three pastors serving German immigrants joined together in a common fellowship more than 150 years ago. Today, it is still where more than half of our membership calls home—but now we have congregations spread all across North America and missions spanning the globe.

Evangelical is a Greek word. Literally translated it means "gospel oriented." It is an apt description, for the gospel of Jesus Christ is at the core of all we believe and proclaim.

Lutheran refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Martin Luther, the leader of the Reformation in Germany. God used Luther to point out the errors of the church some 500 years ago—that salvation was something that must be earned. It was Luther who once again made clear that salvation is received through faith in Jesus as a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Synod literally translated means "walking together." As a fellowship of Christians, we walk together as individuals and congregations sharing a common bond of faith in Jesus articulated in the Lutheran Confessions.

We invite you to walk with us.

Our mission statement

As men, women, and children united in faith and worship by the Word of God, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod exists to make disciples throughout the world for time and for eternity, using the gospel in Word and sacrament to win the lost for Christ and to nurture believers for lives of Christian service, all to the glory of God.