Here is Your Son

Jesus suffered betrayal, denial, rejection, ridicule, beating, mocking and crucifixion. Yet, from the cross, through His grief and pain, he did one more thing for His mother.

“When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple He loved standing there, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother'” (John 19:26-27). Through excruciating pain Jesus made sure Mary would be cared for when He was no longer on earth.


We might think when we are sick or in the hospital that there is nothing we can do for our family. I remember a time when my mother was in the hospital and my grandson had major surgery. Life and death stood in the balance for both of them. My mom said, “I wish I could hold Luke. I wish I could do something.” We all felt helpless. We had to trust God and rely on the skill of the surgeon with our three-year-old little boy. I told Mom, “There is something you can do.” She asked me what that was and I said, “You can pray, Mama.” She said, “Yes, I can pray. That’s something I can do,” and she did. I couldn’t wait to tell her the day Luke came home from the hospital. “Mama, Luke’s surgery went well. He’s fine. Thank you for praying.” Tears filled my eyes when I heard her shouts of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. It was one of the last things she did before she died, and it pleased God.

Whether we are sick or well, we can pray for our family–the family we were born to and the family of God. We can pray for salvation, protection, provision, health and healing. We can reach out to those we love with encouragement, texts, emails, written notes, phone calls and visits.


Thank you, Father God, for Jesus, for His teaching, His example and His sacrifice for our sins and to give us eternal and abundant life. Help us to live our lives in light of your amazing love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Father, Forgive Them

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Wednesday last week was Ash Wednesday, and I saw people in town with ash crosses on their foreheads. It’s a solemn reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for our forgiveness. He had dinner with His friends, and then He washed their feet. He knew that Judas would betray Him and Peter would deny he ever knew Him, but it must have broken His heart to see His friends sleeping while He prayed with drops of blood for the Father to let His cup of suffering go away. The priests and elders of the temple took Him from the Garden of Gethsemane to Jerusalem and falsely accused Him. Pilate could see no reason to execute Jesus and sent Him to Herod who didn’t find any reason to kill Him either. Yet, the people kept yelling, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Jesus was beaten, mocked, spit on and crucified. From the cross He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).


My heart breaks every Lenten and Easter season when this is the story. It is hard for me to imagine all Jesus experienced for my redemption. When He said, “Father, forgive them,” He wasn’t just talking about the priests and the Roman soldiers and the people who yelled, “Crucify Him!” He was speaking about me too. “Father, forgive her because she does not know what she is doing.”

“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Yes, Jesus died for me while I rejected Him. I chose my ways over His for too many years. “O Lord, I am so sorry for my rebellion.”

Brothers and sisters, no one is too far gone, too bad or sinful that Jesus will not say the same words over you: “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.”


Holy Lord, merciful Father, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for loving me even when I was unlovely, self-indulged and sinful. I pray for others that do not know your amazing love: “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing against you. O Lord, send your Spirit on them to open their eyes to your presence in their lives and your amazing love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Why Do You Worry?

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Do you worry about what you will eat or wear? Do you worry that you are not pretty enough, thin enough, or tall enough? Do you worry that you are too fat or too short or too old or too young?

Look at the fields of flowers. They do not toil or spin. They do not compare themselves to taller or shorter flowers. They grow where they are planted and bring glory to God. What about you? It’s tempting to be jealous of those who are more like we want to be. It’s easy to make excuses or complain when things don’t go the way we plan.

Friend, I have great news for you. God made you the way you are–green eyes or blue, brown skin or white, short or tall, blonde hair or dark. How sad it must make God feel when we are not happy with how we look. Like the flowers of the fields, we can bloom where we’re planted and become who God created us to be.


When I feel like I’m not perfect, I find comfort in God’s word. Check this out: “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord” (Psalms 96:11-13).

God created you for a special purpose. He loves you the way you are. Grow in to the person He sees you becoming.


Thank you, Holy Father, for loving us the way we are. Help us to become the people you created us to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love – the Gift that Keeps Giving

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Love is probably the most over used word in the English language: romantic love, the love of family and friends, the love of animals, of money or possessions, power or sex, success or status. Valentine’s Day reminds to show love, especially to our spouses or significant others. Today I want to talk about the amazing love of God. He loved us so much He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). This is good news! We are adopted into the family of God, and we have a royal inheritance with Jesus. What amazing love this is!

Jesus gave His life for me–to take away my sins, the very thing that God doesn’t like in me. My response is to devote my life to loving Him in return–to love others. This is challenging in a world isolated because of a virus. When I venture out and look for people to make eye contact with, many of them are withdrawn, rude, or preoccupied with their devices. Sometimes it is hard to see people face to face, except for those in public service–clerks in grocery and department stores, food servers in restaurants or customer service representatives on the phone. Then I can express appreciation for what they do or share a complement in order to make a connection. I may not always have an opportunity to share God’s love, but it is my intent.


John said this about love. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).

Paul said, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).


O Lord, teach us how to show compassion even in a closed world. Help us to connect with others to share your light and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love Each Other

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Do you agree with me that the word “love” is the most overused word in the English language? We have romantic love, family love, brotherly love, the love of material things, the love of food, the love of power or money or sex. God is love and He has a lot to say about how we love in relationships. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the Scripture often used at weddings, but it can be translated into how we love others besides the people we spend our lives with.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


What if we put the name of “God” in every place where the word “love” is. Better, since we are His followers, what if we put our name in that place. I’ll use my name as an example:

Sue is patient and kind; Sue does not envy or boast; Sue is not arrogant or rude. Sue does not insist on her own way; Sue is not irritable or resentful; Sue does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Sue bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

To be honest, I fall short in too many of the ways listed in this Scripture. I need God’s help to love according to His standard. What about you?


Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us with a perfect love. Thank you for showing us how to love, but we fall short too often and we need your help. Let your love flow through us to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bare or Blessed?

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Bare branches do not produce fruit and must be pruned so more fruit will grow. Trees have limited resources and energy. If they are not well tended, their energy will be zapped by the unfruitful branches. Pruning might give an initial appearance that the tree loses too much, but later the pruned tree produces more fruit.

It is the same in our lives. We might take our losses too seriously and wonder how we can go on with our lives, but we can actually benefit from our losses. When I have experienced the loss of a family member or a relationship, with God’s help, I have grown stronger. What about the loss of a job or a home? When I was laid off from one job, I found a better one. A man who lost his home in a hurricane, found these words written on the foundation of his home: “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” and it inspired him to want to know God, and he started going to church.


Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). His life flowing through us will make us more like Him–loving, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, helpful and giving to others. However, if we stop His life flow with self-centeredness, anger, anxiety, malice, bitterness, worry, or selfishness, our lives will not be fruitful. Seek God today and He will bless you. He will rescue you from the negative issues of life and give you a new and abundant life.


O Lord, help us not to settle for an ordinary or unfruitful life, but to trust you for a life flowing with your love to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Mystery of the Magi

January 6 is the day during the year when we commemorate the visit of the Magi to Mary, Joseph and Jesus in Bethlehem. The Bible says in Matthew 2 that they came from the East–probably not as far east as China, but more like Babylon or Persia, modern day Iraq or Iran.

They are believed to be astrologers since they followed a star that led them to Bethlehem where Mary and Joseph lived following the birth of Jesus. Was the star part of a natural phenomenon or a miraculous event? It’s a mystery.

Another mystery is in the gifts the Magi gave to Jesus: Gold for a King, frankincense for a Priest, and Myrrh for a Savior. Did they know that the newborn king would be all these in one person?


Who is Jesus to you? King? Priest? Savior? Teacher? Comforter? Counselor? Friend? Although Jesus lived on earth only thirty-three years, He changed the world more than any one person ever has or ever will. His great love penetrates hearts and restores souls. His great act of forgiveness on the cross paves the way for us to have a relationship with a living God.

To answer my own question, Jesus his all those to me and more. He gives my life meaning and purpose. Hope has displaced despair. I have peace instead of anxiety and new mercies every day instead of feelings of apathy. Friend, all these are available to you through the amazing love of God. Seek Him. You will find Him. He promised that.


Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of Jesus, His amazing love and forgiveness. I pray for my friends who have not experienced your love–that you would make them aware of your presence in their lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What is it?

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The Israelites journeyed through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land, and they grumbled. They complained about not having enough to eat, and God heard their cries. He rained down bread from Heaven, enough for each day at a time. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. They called it manna, which means “What is it?” (Exodus 16)

The manna that came every day reminds me of Lamentations 3:22-23: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

The mystery of “What is it?” can be applied to our daily bread–The Bread of God, the Word of God and the blessings of God that come new every day. We receive blessings, not with a clear expectation of what they will be but with a holy anticipation, as a child might receive a gift, surprised by His amazing love, His unstoppable grace and wonder.


I was a Christian a long time before I grasped the newness of God’s love every day. It came in a conversation with God–reading His word (God talking) and prayer (my response). I found a Bible reading plan in the Lutheran Book of Worship, which has an Old Testament lesson, a New Testament Lesson and a Gospel lesson. I got up fifteen minutes earlier to read the Scriptures and pray before I went to work. It’s a discipline I’ve had more than thirty years. You can find Bible reading plans with a Google search. Here is one for you to check out:


Most Holy God, I pray you draw your people to your word, the Bread of Life, with a new awe, a sense of “What is it?” every day. Send your Spirit on them to give them a hunger and thirst for more of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Help with an Attitude Adjustment

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Are you easily controlled by your circumstances? Then I have good news for you. Things that happen in our lives are not always fun or pleasant, but there is a way to change how we respond.

We have three incredible resources–time spent in the presence of the Lord, our Bible and the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Making good use of these changes our perspective in nine ways as we develop the gift of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.

  1. Love–Freely we have received God’s love and freely we should give love to others.
  2. Joy–A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22).
  3. Peace–The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
  4. Patience–Be patient with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).
  5. Kindness–Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12).
  6. Goodness–Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act (Proverbs 3:27).
  7. Gentleness–Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near (Philippians 4:5).
  8. Faithfulness–Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other (Psalm 85:10).
  9. Self-Control–Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city (Proverbs 16:32).


I don’t always wake up with joy, but when I open my devotional guide, my heart begins to say, “I love you Jesus.” As I linger in God’s presence, my composure changes and the day has a beautiful beginning. However, things happen during the day, sometimes hurtful or frustrating things, and I have to pray for an attitude adjustment. God is faithful. His mercies are new every day.


Thank you, Lord, for your love, your presence and your word. Let these change the way we respond to challenges we face each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

How Valuable is Your Time?

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Everyone on planet earth gets the same allotment of hours in a day. Why is it some people accomplish so much more? I think they must get up earlier or stay up later than I do. Maybe both. I am convicted by this verse: “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15). This Scripture might be misunderstood by those who are driven by their work or hobbies. God didn’t intend for busyness to rob us of rest and sleep. Yet, He doesn’t want us to miss opportunities to help others either. I suggest two keys in time management: priority and flexibility.

Every day we have a time to eat and a time to sleep; a time to devote to God an a time to serve; a time to work and a time to create; a time for family and a time for friends. And we still find time to waste–time spent doing unimportant things–ouch!


Time takes on greater meaning when we have purpose. Do you know what your purpose is? A Christian’s purpose is to know God and to make Him known. Plain and simple. Each one has different gifts and callings, talents and abilities, personalities and experiences. God even uses the messes of our pasts to create messages for the redemption of others. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). The harvest is the world and the workers are God’s people called to be His light in a dark world, to redeem the lost for His kingdom.


Heavenly Father, help us to use our time wisely and to accomplish all you have for us to do. Empower us with wisdom, priorities and flexibility to reach others with the same love you have given us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.