Matthew 18:2-3 

“And calling to him a child, he [Jesus] put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Simple faith.  Simple trust.  Children are born dependent.  Our Creator, God the Father, created us to be totally dependent on Him.  We are His children, born of the Spirit through Water and the Word. 

Do we ever outgrow our dependence on Him? 

Lord God, many times we think and act as if we are all “grown up” spiritually and that we can do everything on our own.  We fail to recognize that it is by your grace and mercy that we “live, move, and have our being.”  Forgive us Lord, for our childish rather than childlike attitude toward life–one of trusting in You alone above all else, calling to You when we are in need, thanking and praising You for all that You “daily and richly” provide us.   In Jesus’ name we pray and give thanks!  Amen.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25


In The Lord

Photo by Chris Meirose

“In the Lord I take refuge;

how can you say to my soul,

“Flee like a bird to your mountain,

for behold, the wicked bend the bow;

they have fitted their arrow

to the string to shoot in the dark

at the upright in heart;

if the foundations are destroyed,

what can the righteous do?

The Lord is in his holy temple;

the Lord’s throne is in heaven;

his eyes see, his eyelids test,

the children of man.

Let him rain coals on the wicked;

fire and sulfur and a scorching wind

shall be the portion of their cup.

For the Lord is righteous;

he loves righteous deeds;

the upright shall behold his face.”

Psalm 11

Troubled world, troubled people

striking out blindly but boldly in the name of their cause.

Whether race, economics, politics, or creed

all are in vain for none of them can save.

Only One can save, give peace;

the One who gave His life as a ‘ransom for many’

for you, for me.

Turn away from strife, pride, ego, self-seeking

Turn to Him–Jesus Christ–who makes us new creations

through faith–

New creations capable of loving and forgiving and reconciling

peoples of all races, economics, politics and creed.

In the name of Jesus


Lord God Heavenly Father, when we were dead in our sins You came to us and gave us life in Your Name.  Through the Water and the Word you placed your name–Father, Son and Holy Spirit upon us.  We are Yours.  Open our mouths that we might declare your praise in this world where many other voices can be heard.  May Your sweet Gospel ring true above the din.  We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

O keep me watchful, then, and humble;

Permit me nevermore to stray.

Uphold me when my feet would stumble,

And keep me on the narrow way.

Fill all my nature with Thy light,

O radiance strong and bright!

~Johann Scheffler, 1624-77





Hope of the world, Thou Christ of great compassion;  speak to our fearful hearts by conflict rent.  Save us, Thy people, from consuming passion, Who by our own false hope and aims are spent.

Hope of the world, God’s gift from highest heaven, bringing to hungry souls the bread of life, still let thy Spirit unto us be given to heal earth’s wounds and end our bitter strife.

Hope of the world, afoot on dusty highways, showing to wand’ring souls the path of light, walk Thou beside us lest the tempting byways lure us away from Thee to endless night.

Hope of the world, who by thy cross didst save us from death and dark despair, from sin and guilt, we render back the love thy mercy gave us; take thou our lives and use them as thou wilt.

Hope of the world, O Christ, o’er death victorious, who by this sign didst conquer grief and pain, we would be faithful to thy Gospel glorious.  Thou art our Lord!  Thou dost forever reign

~ Hymn by Georia Harkness, 1891-1974

Lord God, Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us Hope through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  In His name we pray, Amen.





“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen Him, you love Him.  Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  1 Peter 1:3-9

Dear Heavenly Father,  There seems to be a lot of celebrating going on in the month of June–weddings, anniversaries, births, and even Heavenly Home comings.  For all of these we give you thanks and praise for the joy and celebration that takes place in these special events.  You are in our midst celebrating along with us.  As we celebrate may we be reminded of the greater joy and celebration that awaits us at your Son’s return to gather us to Himself and to escort us to Paradise.  Keep us in the one true faith even as trials come to us in this world.  Let us rejoice that “you have overcome the world!”  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

God Hears Our Cries

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

The curse of sin

followed me in

the day

I entered this world.

This common condition,

Adam’s addition,

to God’s most perfect


gave birth

to a promise

kept by my Savior

who broke my bonds of sin.

Baptismal waters

covered me

God’s Word did

all the rest

Made me an heir

a child of Grace


the Gates of Heaven.

I am blessed!

* * * * *

“Jabez was more honorable

than his brothers.

His mother named him Jabez,


“I gave birth to him

in pain.”

Jabez cried out

to the God of Israel,

“Oh, that you would bless me

and enlarge my territory!

Let your hand be with me,

and keep me from harm

so that I will be free from pain.”

And God granted his request.”

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

* * * * *

Lord God, we were born into the pain of sin and it would have followed us all the days of our lives had you not stepped in to break its power.  You provided Your
Son, our Savior, who keeps us from all harm and danger.  Through the gift of faith we believe that eternal pain no longer awaits us at the time of judgement.  The blood of Your Son covers over all our unrighteousness.  For that we give you great thanks and praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love Link

Image by Khya Barkema

Image by Khya Barkema

Jesus prays to His Father in Heaven….

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  O, righteous Father, even the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”  John 17:24-26

* * * * *

As believers, we are indelibly linked to those first disciples who knew Jesus first hand, who heard His words–words given to Him by His Father in Heaven–and believed!

* * * * *

And His love received from His Father flowed from Christ to His disciples–and flows down to us today.  We are linked to one another in that same love no matter what denomination or church affiliation –we are all united into Christ through His Word, His Love.

* * * * *

The world cannot see this large, holy temple of the living God surrounding the globe with faithful hearts and praise, who confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, but it can see you and me.  May we show the love of God today!

* * * * *

God grant protection and strength to Your Holy temple of living stones this day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Church of God, elect and glorious

Holy nation, chosen race;

Called as God’s own special people,

Royal priests and heirs of grace:

Know the purpose of your calling

Show to all His mighty deeds;

Tell of love that knows no limits

Grace that meets all human needs.

* * * * *

Church of God, elect and holy,

Be the people He intends;

Strong in faith and swift to answer

Each command your Master sends:

Royal priests, fulfill your calling

Through your sacrifice and prayer;

Give your lives in joyful service–

Sing His praise, His love declare.

~James E. Seddon

One Door

Photo by Matt Gruber

Photo by Matt Gruber

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the gatekeeper opens.  The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”  This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

* * * * *

Photo by Simeon Hughes

Photo by Simeon Hughes

“So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door.  If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:1-10

* * * * *

Wandering down the

bookstore aisles

titles jump out at me

proclaiming better life

 through this and that

all for one low fee.

Book after book

offering what only

my Good Shepherd gives–

life eternal

peace of mind and heart

release from sin and guilt.

My Shepherd calls

for no step-by-step

effort on my part.

He simply calls me by my name,

bids me follow

where He alone can lead

to Heaven above

this earthly scene

from sin and death and strife.

Praise to my Shepherd

the One true Door

that opens wide

the gates to life!

Image by Pierce Brantley

Image by Pierce Brantley

Lord Jesus, You have called me by name and made me one of your own; with your life blood you have bought me.  Nothing of my own I bring, but your All I have received!  Thank you, Lord, for opening the gate of Heaven to me through faith in you alone.  Thank you for being my Door.  You protect me.  You keep out the evil one.  You alone keep me safe from my enemies.  Thank and praise you, Jesus, for your saving grace!  In your name, I pray, Amen.

May 20 Life Interrupted

Photo by Nathan Ward

Photo by Nathan Ward

1 Samuel 26:1-28:25;  John 11:1-53;  Psalm 117:1-2;  Proverbs 15:22-23

“Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already  been in the tomb four days.  Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.  So when Martha heard Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

* * * * *

“Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?”

* * * * *

“She said, “Yes Lord.  I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

John 11:17-27

* * * * *

When tears flow

and grief hangs

about my shoulders,

when a dear one’s life

on earth is interrupted,

Lord, may your resurrection

truth fill my heart

and bear me up.

May your peace direct

my eyes to you,

to the Lord of  earth and heaven

and my heart rejoice

that this life will resume;

that I will be reunited

with those I love and we’ll join

the heavenly choir

praising you and singing,

“Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come.

Worthy are you,

our Lord and God

to receive glory and

honor and power!

(Revelation 4:8,11)

O Lord, Martha believed your words about resurrection; of God’s power to raise the dead.  Little did she know that you were going to raise her brother that very day; she didn’t know you meant for her to feel his warm embrace and hear his voice in greeting again.  In our hour of grief, Lord,  help us to remember that we will one day hear our loved one’s voice and stand side by side praising you together in Heaven. Grant this Lord, for your name’s sake, Amen.

March 20 Crushed, Yet Soaring

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

“As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”

2 Corinthians 6:10

The stoic scorns to shed a tear; the Christian is not forbidden to weep.  The soul may be dumb with excessive grief, as the shearer’s scissors pass over the quivering flesh; or, when the heart is on the point of breaking beneath the meeting surges of trial, the sufferer may seek relief by crying out with a loud voice.  But there is something even better.

They say that springs of sweet fresh water well up amid the brine of salt seas; that the fairest alpine flowers bloom in the wildest and most rugged mountain passes; that the noblest psalms were the outcome of the profoundest agony of soul.

Be it so.  And thus amid manifold trials, souls which love God will find reasons for bounding, leaping joy.  Though deep calling to deep, yet the Lord’s song will be heard in silver cadence through the night.  And it is possible in the darkest hour that ever swept a human life to bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Have you learned this lesson yet?  Not simply to endure God’s will, nor only to choose it;  but to rejoice in it with joy unspeakable and full of glory.  ~From Tried By Fire

I will be be still, although I cannot see it,

The love that bares a soul and fans pain’s fire’

That takes away the last sweet drop of solace,

Breaks the lone harp string, hides Thy precious love.

* * * * *

But God is love, so I will bide me, bide me–

We’ll doubt not, Soul, we will be very still;

We’ll wait till after while, when He shall lift us–

Yes, after while, when it shall be His will.

* * * * *

And I did listen to my heart’s brave promise;

And I did quiver, struggling to be still;

And I did lift my tearless eyes to Heaven,

Repeating over, “Yea, Christ, have Thy will.”

* * * * *

But soon my heart upspake from ‘neath our burden,

Reproved my tight-drawn lips, my visage sad:

“We can do more than this, O Soul,” it whispered.

“We can be more than still, we can be glad!”

* * * * *

And now my heart and I are sweetly singing–

Singing without the sound of tuneful strings;

Drinking abundant waters in the desert;

Crushed, and yet soaring as on eagle’s wings.

Lord God, Your dear Son went through fiery trials that we will have yet to come close to.  His suffering and death on the Cross He experienced–for us.  His anguish–His separation from You–for us–He felt its full impact.  Yet, the only tears we read about in Scripture, is that He wept for Jerusalem.  His tears were not for Himself and the suffering He knew He would endure but for His people who did not receive Him, believe in Him, trust Him.  Lord, in our deepest grief, may we remember You and keep our eyes on You and be glad!  Help us dear Lord, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

January 5 Empty But Full

Photo by Eric Wing

Photo by Eric Wing

Genesis 11:1-13:4;  Matthew 5:1-26;  Psalm 5:1-12;  Proverbs 1:24-28

“The poor in spirit are blessed, because the reign of heaven is theirs!

The people who are mourning are blessed, because they will be comforted!

The lowly are blessed, because they will inherit the earth!

The people who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness are blessed, because they will be satisfied!

The merciful are blessed, because they will be shown mercy!

The pure in heart are blessed, because they will see God!

The peacemakers are blessed, because they will be called sons of God!

The ones who are persecuted because of righteousness are blessed, because the reign of heaven is theirs!

You are blessed whenever people insult you and persecute you and by lying, say every kind of evil against you because of me!

Rejoice and exult, because your reward is great in heaven, for in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you!  Matthew 5:3-12

Empty but full,

that’s what we are, we who


in the Son of God.

Lord God, that’s the beauty of the Christian faith–we who are empty spiritually are filled to the brim with your blessings.  In our neediness, you came and rescued us.  We, who cannot go one minute, one hour, one day, one month, one year, one lifetime without sinning, have been saved.  And because you have saved us, we are truly blessed!  Thank you, Lord!  We are blessed today with the knowledge that one day we will be be in Heaven with you where all our hungering and thirsting will cease, where peace will reign, and we shall see you face to face.  Thank you for blessing us so richly!  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

“Then let your Word within me

Shine as the fairest star.

Your reign of love revealing

How wonderful you are.

Help me confess your truth

And with your Christendom

Here own you King and Savior

With all the world to come.”

~Martin Behm