Bryan Switolski

“In God, my faithful God,

I trust when dark my road;

Great woes may overtake me,

Yet He will not forsake me.

My troubles He can alter;

His hand lets nothing falter.”

~Lutheran Service Book 745 vs. 1



February 10 Throw Off The Covers!

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Exodus 30:11-31:18;  Matthew 26:47-68;  Psalm 32:1-11;  Proverbs 8:27-32

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts

no iniquity,

and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent my bones wasted away

through my groaning all day long.

For day and night your hand was upon me;

my strength was dried up as by

the heat of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to you,

and I did not cover my iniquity;

I said I will confess my transgressions

to the Lord,

and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

Psalm 32:1-5

* * * * *

In light of God’s grace–

throw off the covers,

the layers of rationalizations,



and abuses of his love.

Christ died for you!

He paid the price of your

sin with his death

on the Cross.

It’s hot under all that thickness

of unconfessed sin–

can’t breathe, hardly

can’t move, easily

really can’t live.

 “If we confess our sins,

He who is faithful and just

will forgive all our sins,

and cleanse us

from ALL unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9

Take a deep breath

and let the Spirit of God

search your heart and mind

to begin peeling

back the layers,

 to apply His healing

balm of forgivness,

to remove the load of sin

and to lead you on the path

to everlasting life–

for Jesus’ sake.

“Repent, for the Kingdom

of God is at hand.”

* * * * *

I lay my sins on Jesus,

The spotless Lamb of God;

He bears them all and frees us

From the accursed load.

I bring my guilt to Jesus

To wash my crimson stains

Clean in his blood most precious

Till not a spot remains.

~Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889

Lord God, I thank and praise you that have removed the guilt of our sin through our dear Savior’s sacrifice on the Cross.  Thank you that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  You didn’t wait until we were worthy enough or good enough to bless us with your unconditional love and grace and forgiveness.  You are Most righteous and worthy of all our praise!  Thank you, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

November 21 The Cure

Photo by Aaron Burden

Photo by Aaron Burden

Ezekiel 21 42:1-43:27;  James 5:1-20;  Psalm 119:1-6;  Proverbs 28:6-7

“Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing praise.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.  Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”  James 5:13-18

What ails you, man?

What beats you down and suck the life breath

right out of your soul?

What keeps you on the run,

spinning lies

to keep the truth at bay?

When you get tired of running,

of keeping track

of tall tales

that everyone can see through


when you simply run out

of time,


and will–

look up

and pray.


God knows.

He’s been waiting

and longs to give you

His Cure

for all that ails you

in body, mind and soul.

The hurts of today

come under His watch.

Bow your knees and pray.

Acknowledge Him as

Lord of Lords,

as Lord of your life.

Ask Him for the cure

admit your need for Him,

for someone much bigger than yourself

that can restore and heal

and make new again.


Confess your sins,

let go and let God

remove those weights

of guilt and shame.

Let Him love you,

hear His words

“You are forgiven.

Be well”

Lord God, thank you for the cure!  For Your Son, Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for my sins; for forgiveness which soothes my troubled heart and gives me rest from all my running.  Grant that I may pray with all my might for those I know who need Your cure–to be healed in mind, body and spirit.  I especially pray for the community of Ferguson, MO which is representative of many places in the US where inequalities exist and much healing is needed.  I pray for the safety of its citizens and for peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

September 27 Where We Find God

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Isaiah 51:1-53:12;  Ephesians 5:1-35; Psalm 69:19-36;  Proverbs 24:7

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  Ephesians 5:1-2

Paul wanted to get the gospel message out to as many people as he could.  Letter writing was one way, but it was limited.  His solution:  encourage those in the faith to imitate God.  Having been forgiven by Him, now forgive.  Having been loved unconditionally by Him, now love.  Believers are only one degree away from God, because of Jesus!  That’s close!  Just think, those closest to us, are close to God.

Pretty humbling, I’d say.

Lord God, you became wondrous love for us.  Love that sacrificed.  Love that died.  Love that rose from the dead.  What wondrous love is this!  That while we were mired in sin and shame, your love covered us, removed the guilt, wiped clean the slate.  Thank you for drawing us close to you through faith.  May we touch the lives of those around us with the gospel message–that love and forgiveness from Almighty God is so near, so very available, just a prayer away.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Where charity and love prevail

There God is ever found;

Brought here together by Christ’s love

By love are we thus bound.


With grateful joy and holy fear

His charity we learn;

Let us with heart and mind and soul

now love him in return.


Forgive we now each others’ faults

As we our faults confess,

And let us love each other well

In Christian holiness.

~9th Century Hymn

Stanzas 1-3

September 16 A Parent’s Heart

Image by Matt Gruber

Image by Matt Gruber

Isaiah 22:1-24:23;  Galatians 2:17-3:9;  Psalm 60:1-12;  Proverbs 23:15-16

“My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad;

my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.”

Proverbs 23:15-16

And so our Heavenly Father rejoices

when we speak His name

and proclaim Him as our Lord and Savior.

Sweet music to his Creator ears.

Likewise, when our children

confess with their mouths

Jesus as Lord

we rejoice

for we know they have

Eternal treasure

in their hearts,

and their future is secure.

Lord may we continue to pray for our children and our children’s children that they may know and confess you as Lord and Savior of their lives.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen

July 26 Heart Talk

Image by Reinhardt Komanapalli

Image by Reinhardt Komanapalli

2 Chronicles 17:1-18:34; Romans 9:22-10:13; Psalm 20:1-9; Proverbs 20:2-3

“Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'”…or ‘Who will descend into the deep?'” But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all you who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 9:5-13

Lest there be any doubt or confusion about
the faith
Scripture clearly says
“Believe, confess”
not “do” and “do some more”.
For it is not in “doing”
that we become the Children of God.
Jesus did it all for us,
the “doing” and the “dying”
and the “rising”
from the dust.

We gloriously get to “do”
the thanking and the praising
and the living in response
to His good gift
of faith
He placed in our hearts
and mouths.

Lord God, we confess that you are Lord of Lord and King of kings, the giver of all good things–especially the gift of faith. May we bold to confess our faith in Jesus in word and deed. For His sake, we pray, Amen!

March 27 Tender Mercies


Photo by M Jones

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20;  Luke 7:36-8:3;  Psalm 69:1-18;  Proverbs 12:1

“A certain money lender had two debtors.  One owed 500 denarii and the other 50.

When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both.

Now which of them will love him more?

Simon answered,  “The one I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.”

And Jesus said to him, “You have judged correctly.”

Then turning to the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?

I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet but she has wet my feet

 with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.

You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many are forgiven–

for she loved much.  But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Luke 7:41-47

The Pharisee says, “I know myself.  I know the Law I keep.  I may not be perfect, but I’m better than most.”

The sinful woman says, ” I know myself.  I know that I don’t belong in His presence.”

Jesus says, “I know you both–you are both sinners, but only one of you sees yourself rightly.  To you, woman, I forgive you all of your sins.  Your tears confess, your kisses revere, your perfume acknowledges.  You love much because you have been forgiven much.”

One sinner receives grace and leaves in peace.

Lord God, during this season of Lent may I come to you as the sinner that I am;  to see myself as you see me–one for whom Christ shed his blood.  Please forgive me for sitting at your table with the smugness of a Pharisee–seeing myself as “better than most.”  Please cleanse my heart of hypocrisy and lukewarm devotion.  May I give you heartfelt worship and praise for sins forgiven.   Let me live my life for you.  May your tender mercies reach out to all who truly see themselves as you see them–as sinners who HAVE a Savior.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

September 3 Clean Sweep


Ecclesiastes 4:6:12;  2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7;  Psalm 47:1-9;  Proverbs 22:16

“For we are the temple of the living God, as God said,’I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them and I will be their God and they shall be my people’… Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”

2 Corinthians 6:16, 7:1

I look inward and pray

“Lord, show me my sins.

Light the corners, the nooks, the crannies

  of my heart.

By the Spirit’s power

  sweep your throne room clean.

Remove the clutter,  stains and rust.”

I look outward and pray

“Lord, guard the entrance to your temple.

  Quicken my conscience.

  Give me resolve to

  shut my eyes,

  stop my ears,

  silence my tongue.

  Turn from evil.

  Flee temptation.”

I look upward and pray

“Thanks be to you O God

  for you kept my feet from stumbling.

  You set me on solid ground.

  You come into my heart–your temple.”

Lord God Heavenly Father,  it is awesome to know that you dwell within a believer’s heart–in my heart!  Lord I believe that Jesus’ body and blood, broken and shed for me, created the clean in me. Covered the bad.  Coated it with good.  I am forever grateful!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“For God is the king of all the earth;  sing to him a psalm of praise.  God reigns over the nations.  God is seated on his holy throne.”  Psalm 47:7-8