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.


April 14 Increase Our Faith!

Photo by Sandara Lee

Photo by Sandara Lee

Joshua 9:3-10:43;  Luke 16:19-17:10;  Psalm 83:1-18;  Proverbs 3:4

“And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to  come, but woe to the one through whom they come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.

Pay attention to yourselves!  If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day and turns to you seven times, saying “I repent,” you must forgive him.

* * * * *

“The Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Luke 17:1-6

Television shows, movies and songs glorify revenge; glorify inflicting harm in return for an injury received (sometimes even one that is just ‘perceived’).  ‘Someone hurt me, I’m going to hurt her in return even if she says that she’s sorry for what she did.’

Revenge makes for juicy, emotionally charged story plots that reinforce human nature’s view of justice, of fairness.

Where does Jesus’ teaching about repentance and forgiveness fit into those kinds of stories?

Where does Jesus’ teaching fit into my life or your life when a great wrong has been done and our human nature cries out for a chance to get even?

The Apostles’ cry in response to the Lord’s teaching about repentance and forgiveness is our cry, “Lord, increase our faith!”

They knew how impossible it was to do what Jesus was asking of them.

We know how hard it is to forgive.

Jesus knows it is impossible on our own strength.

But He gives us what we need to do what He asks of us.

He gives us more faith.  Faith capable of doing the impossible!

Lord God, your ways are not our ways.  Please help us to follow your ways!  Increase our faith today, so that we can forgive those who have sinned against us.  Help us to remember the great cost that Jesus paid on the Cross–instead of getting revenge on all those who mistreated Him, sinned against Him–He bore our sins and suffered death.  But Praise to you, O God, you raised Jesus from the dead.  His resurrection power bolsters our faith and enables us to do the impossible in Jesus’ name!  Grant, Lord, that we forgive even as you have forgiven us.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

April 9 Weights And Wings

Shutterstock cogs and wheels

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

“All these things are against me.” Genesis 42:36

“All things work together for good to them that love God.”

Romans 8:28

Many people are wanting power.  Now how is power produced?  The other day we passed the great works where the trolley engines are supplied with electricity.  We hear the hum and roar of the countless wheels, and we asked our friend, “How do they make the power?”

“Why,” he said, “just by the revolution of those wheels and the friction they produce.  The rubbing creates the electric current.”

And so, when God wants to bring more power into your life, He brings more pressure.  He is generating spiritual force by hard rubbing.  Some do not like it and try to run away from the pressure, instead of getting the power and using it to rise above the painful causes.

Opposition is essential to a true equilibrium of forces.  The centripetal and centrifugal forces acting in opposition to each other keep our planet in her orbit.  The one propelling, and the other repelling, so act and react, that instead of sweeping off into space in a pathway of desolation, she pursues her even orbit around her solar center.

So God guides our lives.  It is not enough to have an impelling force–we need just as much a repelling force, and so He holds us back by the testing ordeals of life, by the pressure of temptation and trial, by the things that seem against us, but really are furthering our way and establishing our goings.

Let us thank Him for both, let us take the weights as well as the wings, and thus divinely impelled, let us press on with faith and patience in our high and heavenly calling. ~ A.B. Simpson.

In a wild confusion in a seeming chaos,

Lifting, pushing, driving–but they do their work.

From the mightiest lever to the tiniest pinion,

All things move together for the purpose planned;

And behind the working is a mind controlling,

And a force directing, and a guiding hand.

* * * * *

So all things are working for the Lord’s beloved;

Some things might be hurtful if alone they stood;

Some might seem to hind; some might draw us backward;

But they work together, and they work for good,

All the thwarted longings, all the stern denials,

All the contradictions, hard to understand.

And the forces that hold them, speeds them

and retards them,

Stops and starts and guides them–

is our Father’s hand.

~Annie Johnson Flint

Lord God, we thank you that all things work together for the good of those who love you.  You do not abandon us during the trials and temptations that come our way.  You gave us the supreme example in your Son Jesus Christ,  who experienced greater griefs than we’ll ever know.  You strengthened him and helped him complete his mission on this earth–to suffer and die for the sins of all mankind.  You raised him from the dead and because of that Easter reality we have hope;  we, too, can persevere, be made strong to face the challenges before us.  Thank you Lord, for your ever guiding hand.  In Jesus’ name we praise and give thanks, Amen.

January 3 The Tempter’s Threat

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Genesis 5:1-7:24;  Matthew 3:7-4:11;  Psalm 3:1-8;  Proverbs 1:10-19

“Then Jesus was led up into the desert by the Spirit in order to be tempted by the slanderer.  And after he had fasted for forty days and forty nights, at the end he was hungry.  And the tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But he answered and said, “It stands written: A person will not live by bread alone; rather, by every word that comes out through the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:1-4

Temptation comes to each

of us

behind the mask,

Satan asks,

“Who are you–really?

You say you follow

Jesus Christ,

believe His every word,

but do you, really?”


Jesus heard the same

as Satan

called his name-

Son of God.

Jesus didn’t flinch,

He recalled His Father’s words,

“This one is my beloved Son,

in whom I am well pleased.”


Jesus stood

by His Father’s Words

and had no need of bread.

His Father would sustain him,

Satan’s threat was dead.


“Baptized into the name of

God the Father,

God the Son,


God the Holy Spirit,”

His name now becomes ours.

When Satan beckons,

tempts our souls,

questions our identity,

recall the Water and

the Word,

the tempter’s threat is dead.

Lord God, Jesus did what man could never do–resist Satan’s temptations, relying soley on You to provide all that He would ever need.  Jesus knew who He was and stood firm in His identity as Your Son when Satan tempted him with power, kingdom wealth, and protection.  Lord, may we look only to You to provide us with what we need for this life and when tempted by Satan to depend on someone or something else but you, help us to stand on the name of Jesus and Him alone!  In His name we pray, Amen.

June 12 Tested Tried and True

Image by Matt Gruber

Image by Matt Gruber

1 Kings 9:1-10:29;  Acts 8:14-40;  Psalm 130:1-8;  Proverbs 17:3

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.” Proverbs 17:3

The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold and a man is tested by praise.”  Proverbs 27:21

“Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.”  Psalm 26:2

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 1:6-9

Deep in the dark places

of my heart

lie the lies

gleaned from the world’s

garden of delights:

fame, fortune, power and success.

Their influences rise and try

to push aside God’s Truth

found in His Word and in

the Person of His Son Jesus Christ

who resides in my heart

by faith.

Lord, uncover the lies,

dig deep,

remove the hindrances

to my walk with you.

Upturn the money tables,

scatter falsehoods,

restore your Holy reign

in me.

Let the fires rage,

burn the chaff-

unwanted thoughts,

impure desires,

godless words

and deeds.

May your forgiveness

smother the flames

and soothe a repentant soul.

Lord God, spare me not your testing that would strengthen my faith and lead me to total dependence on you, for you never fail.  Your promises shine forth as gold.  Your love and mercy never end.  Thank and praise your Holy name.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness;therefore you are feared.”  Psalm 130:3-4

April 24 Service With A Smile


Photo by Travis Silva

Judges 2:10-3:31;  Luke 22:14-34;  Psalm 92:1-93:5;  Proverbs 14:1-2

“But I am among you as

one who serves.”

Luke 2:27

The disciples were a bit power hungry.  They had just eaten the richest of fare–the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ–given by His own hand in the Bread and Wine.  And they started discussing who among them was the greatest.

Our sinful nature is like that–even though we possess the richest of heavenly fare–the very Salvation of our souls–we wouldn’t mind the spotlight to shine on us or our achievements.

Even though we are filled with the most powerful Spirit in the Universe who can do all things through us, we still want to claim a “higher” place in the world and puff out our chests in pride.

If anyone deserved the Royal treatment it was Jesus.  Yet he was the foot washer, healer, forgiver, listener, server–He was the ultimate sacrifice.  He did not seek the limelight, but found himself in it.  So he served–he gave, he did not demand.  No one could accuse Jesus of being power hungry.

After the Cross–and the Resurrection–the disciples finally understood Christ’s words, “I am among you as one who serves.”

Then they went and did likewise.

God grant that we do the same!

Lord God, please forgive us for our power hungry attitudes–as subtle as they may be .  We know what’s in our hearts.  Thank you that the power of the Cross–the forgiveness of sins–cleanses us from worldly leanings.  Grant that we serve you and our neighbor with a smile–in Jesus’ name!  Amen.

December 18 Yet Rejoice!


Photo by Nathan Ward

Habakkuk 1:1-3:19;  Revelation 9:1-21;  Psalm 137:1-9;  Proverbs 30:10

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines;

though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pens and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; 

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

he enables me to go on the heights.”

Habakkuk 3:17-19


In the absence of all this world holds dear–

beauty, fame, power, wealth–

yet will I rejoice and be joyful in God my Savior!


In the face of disaster, disappointment, and decay

yet will I rejoice and be joyful in God my Savior!


Confronted with ridicule, rejection and scorn,

yet will I rejoice and be joyful in God my Savior!



I have His promises!

He will never leave me nor forsake me.  Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5

He is going to prepare a place for me.  John 14:3

He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.  1 John 4:4

He has overcome the world.  John 16:33

He has given me everlasting life through faith in His Son.  John 3:16

Just dwelling on those words propels me above the fray

and frazzle of this world.

God leads me to higher heights and enables me to stand firm!

Lord, I thank you for Habakkuk’s comforting and encouraging words–to rejoice in You even when there is no cause to rejoice,  when troubles and trials abound.  Thank you for granting us strength through faith.  Even though we may not “have it all” in this lifetime, we rejoice that because of Jesus’ work of salvation on the Cross, we will experience everlasting joy and peace in Heaven with You.  Praise You for You are our all in all!  In Your Name we pray, Amen.

September 11 Towers


Isaiah 8:1-9:21;  2 Corinthians 12:1-10;  Psalm 55:1-23;  Proverbs 23:4-5

Twelve years ago today sin reared its ugly head and thrashed its powerful tail.  Thousands died.  A nation grieved.

Other planes and towers have crashed since then. 

Because sin continues to wage war on human souls.  Wars, disasters, infidelities, disease, death–all march on.

The Apostle Paul knew firsthand the power of evil in a man’s heart.  At his word innocent people were killed for faith in Jesus Christ.

Unbelievably, God stopped Paul before more towers fell.  Paul saw Christ face to face. 

He was changed forever.

That’s the power of forgiveness–the power of God to transform lives.

As believers we are not exempt from the effects of sin, the world or Satan.   We all have towers that have fallen, loved ones who died, careers that failed, relationships that fell apart, illness that devastated.  We know our weaknesses.  We know our God.  To us He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made known in weakness.” 

When difficult times come we can draw comfort from God’s promise,

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;  when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flames shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior.”  Isaiah 43:2-3.

Lord God, today we remember the Towers, the planes and all who suffered and died.  Be with those who lost loved ones.  Give them comfort and hope.  May we also look to You, O Lord, to be our peace, to still the war of sin in our hearts through your forgiveness.  May we always remember that we are weak and you are strong.  We lean on You, our strong Tower that will never fail.  In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;  he will never let the righteous fall.”  Psalm 55:22