Given For Us!

“A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance…A cheerful heart has a continual feast.”  Proverbs 14:13, 15

Kelsey Johnson Bread

Thank you Heavenly Father for feeding us the Bread of Life.  May we smile and be glad this day!  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.


October 7 Good Advice

Photo by Jason Rutel

Photo by Jason Rutel

Jeremiah 8:8-9:26;  Colossians 3:1-17;  Psalm 78:32-55;  Proverbs 24:27

“Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready;

after that build your house.”

Proverbs 24:27

Good advice.  Sage advice.  Voice of experience.

Sometimes we listen.  Sometimes we don’t.

Sometimes we do it all backwards–get the house, get the furniture, get the outdoor grill–then figure out how to pay for it all without opening yet another credit card account.

God cares about even the smallest details of our lives, enough to share wise words like the above Proverb.

God cares enough to help us through our mistakes and blunders and to help us get back on track.  That’s Grace!  That’s the reality of Christ’s death on the Cross–to remove the sting of sin:  lust, greed, unfaithfulness, stubbornness and stiff-necked living.

His Grace–unmerited favor and love–gives us opportunities to follow His advice and begin anew.

Time to go outside…I’ve got some work to do!

Lord God, thank you for the wise words recorded in your Word.  Thank you for your grace and favor through your Son Jesus Christ that picks us up when we fall down, when we don’t listen to sage advice, but do things our own way.  Help us this day, to live according to your word, to be humble enough to take good advice and to trust you for the outcome.  We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

“And let the Word of God dwell in you richly

as you teach and admonish one another with

all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and

spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

Colossians 3:16

September 19 Fourth Commandment Living

Photo by Joel Millhouse

Photo by Joel Millhouse

Isaiah 30:12-33:12;  Galatians 5:1-12;  Psalm 63:1-11;  Proverbs 23:22

“Listen to your father, who gave you life,

and do not despise your mother when

she is old.”

Proverbs 23:22

Honor your mother and your father.

“What does this mean?”

It means that

“we should fear and love God

so that we do not despise or anger our parents

and other authorities,

but honor them,

serve and obey them,

love and cherish them.”

(Luther’s Small Catechism)

Lord God,

help us to keep the Fourth Commandment.

Bless and preserve our family relationships

that your Name may be glorified.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

September 18 Live Wisely

Image by Jessica Kelley

Image by Jessica Kelley

Isaiah 28:14-30:11; Galatians 3:23-4:31;  Psalm 62:1-12;  Proverbs 23:19-21

“Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart

on the right path.

Do not join those who drink too much wine

or gorge themselves on meat,

for drunkards and gluttons

become poor,

and drowsiness clothes them

in rags.”

Proverbs 23:19-21


You talkin’ to me, Lord?

A binge every now and then’s OK,

isn’t it?

It’s entertainment!

Stuffing myself every now and then

doesn’t hurt anyone,

does it?

My friends all do it.

“What if it becomes a habit?”

Surely it won’t.

“Surely, it could.

Remember, you are not your own,

I bought you with a price–

the price of my only son.”

Forgive me Lord.

Help me to choose wisely

the company I keep.

Help me to remember that I belong to You.

and to honor you with wise treatment of the

body you’ve given me.

For Jesus’ sake, I pray, Amen.

September 15 Really?

Photo by Matt Gruber

Photo by Matt Gruber

Isaiah 19:1-21:17;  Galatians 2:1-16;  Psalm 59:1-17;  Proverbs 23:13-14

“Do not withhold discipline from a child;

 if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.

If you strike him with a rod, you will save his soul

from Sheol.”

Proverbs 23:13-15



Discipline is for our good

and for our children’s.

Discipline means setting limits

and providing consequences when they are breached.

A crooked sapling needs the subtle pressure of a guiding

rod or rope to coax it to grow straight and tall.

We and our children bend with our

human nature–

our old ‘Adam’–

and our loving God applies his discipline

through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit

to straighten us up,

to make us more like him.

Sparing discipline is not a recipe

for growth.

Wise discipline applied with love and discernment

protects the growing child

and gets him/her to adulthood

in one piece!

Lord, grant that we submit to your loving discipline and grow.  Grant that all children may have loving caregivers whether they be parents, teachers, guardians, or grandparents who will help them to grow strong in mind and body and soul.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

August 6 Direct Me, Lord

Ezra 3:1-4:24; 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4; Psalm 28:1-9; Proverbs 20:24-25

“A man’s steps are from the Lord, how then can man understand his way?” Proverbs 20:24

“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

I am bent in my own way,
headstrong and determined,
but God bends me back,
molds me,
shapes me,
kneads me useful
for His purpose.
I make my to-do lists
based on my priorities,
my goals,
my objectives
but as a child of the Heavenly Father
I admit that His list for me
takes precedence:
love, believe, share, witness,
forgive, serve, sacrifice
and I pray that I will
accomplish what He wills
for me this day.

Lord God, Just as Jesus was obedient to your to-do list, may I be faithful as well by your grace and power. Grant that my words and deeds this day be directed by You. May I trust You to accomplish what You will through me. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

July 9 A Good Thing

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40;  Acts 27:1-20;  Psalm 7:1-17;  Proverbs 18:22

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”  Proverbs 18:22


“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband.”  Proverbs 12:4

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”  Proverbs 19:14


“An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.”  Proverbs 31:10-12

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Lord God, by Your grace and mercy you have helped me be a “good thing” in my husband’s life.  You have enabled me through your Holy Spirit and Your Word to grow into the wife –the helpmeet–you knew my husband needed me to be.  You’ve forgiven me when I’ve done harm and not good, when I’ve been a tarnished crown, and less than sterling jewels in my husband’s life.  By your grace you’ve polished me back up.  Continue to help me be the wife  my husband can trust wholeheartedly, who reflects your favor and goodness in all that I say and do. Thank you for granting me the privilege of being a wife!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

June 14 Biscuits and Gravy

Photo by Ravyn_Lady_Heresy

Photo by Ravyn_Lady_Heresy

1 Kings 12:20-13:34;  Acts 9:26-43;  Psalm 132:1-8;  Proverbs 17:6

Children’s children are a crown to the aged,

 and parents are the pride of their children.”

Proverbs 17:6


Yesterday the washer and dryer hummed away while I did the last loads of laundry for my middle son who is soon to be married.  It was a pleasure to do such tasks as I sorted and treated and folded and matched and stacked many socks, many shirts, many pants and shorts!

I thanked God for the privilege of raising this son of mine.  I remembered with joy all the times he gave me grief and brought intense pride, happiness and worry (he’s very adventuresome!) and how mothering him kept me close to my Lord whom I sought for wisdom and guidance and direction, and who never failed to nudge me in a direction that benefited my middle son.

Fixing biscuits and gravy and a blueberry/watermelon compote early this morning for his send off breakfast was as much a treat for me as it was for my son who loves good home cooked food.  And I was reminded of the sacred food God nourishes me with through His Word and Sacrament–food that will sustain me till I reach my Father’s home.

A chapter will close on mothering my middle son, but a new one begins next week with a wonderful bride at his side.  Our family will gain another female–yeah!  I’ve been outnumbered for so many years!  And Lord willing, I’ll be numbered among  the “aged” in years to come who sees her children’s children!

Thank you Heavenly Father for this family you have blessed me with.  On the eve of Father’s Day, thank you for the God-fearing, outdoorsy, nature loving Dad I have.  The one who let me tag along on hunting and fishing excursions, who helped me find rocks, and identify wildlife and plants, and to see the beauty in God’s creation.  And who, unbeknownst to him, prepared me to be the mother of three sons!

Thank you for my wonderful husband who has patiently endured my outdoor loves and enriched them with his love for all things social, political and religious.  Together, by your Grace O Lord, we’ve raised three sons for whom we give you all our thanks and praise.

And speaking of Father and sons, thank you Lord God for sending your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and Redeemer so that through faith in Him we could call you Our Father.  In Your Son’s name I pray, Amen.

June 11 Better

1 Kings 8:1-66;  Acts 7:51-8:13;  Psalm 129:1-8;  Proverbs 17:1

Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.”  Proverbs 17:1

Daisy multi blog

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.”  Proverbs 15:17

“Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.”  Proverbs 15:16

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.”  Proverbs 16:8

unfolding lily blog

“Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.”  Psalm 37:16

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing with these we will be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”  1 Timothy 6:6-9

Flaming Lily blog

“In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:12-13

Macro center lily blog

“Therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life…Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”

Lilies blog

And why are you anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field how they grow;  they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you not even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  Matthew 6:25-29

Lord God,  thank you for the overflowing abundance of spiritual food you have laid at our family table.  You have richly blessed us with peace and love and genuine concern for one another.  Because you forgive us our sins, we can forgive those who sin against us.  We may not drive the latest cars or have the fanciest house and furnishings, but we have a sure foundation in you through faith in your Son Jesus Christ.  Continue to let your Word dwell richly in our hearts informing us that we have everything we need for this daily life.  Thank you for your faithful provision of food and clothing.  Grant that we may open our hands and share with those in need–both spiritually and physically.  For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen.

May 29 Lights Camera Action


2 Samuel 14:1-15:22;  John 18:1-24;  Psalm 119:97-112;  Proverbs 16: 8-9

“The heart of a man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

A man’s steps are from the Lord;  how then can man understand his way?” Pr. 28:24

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way.  Ps.37:23

“I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.”  Jeremiah 10:23

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  Psalm 119:105

God is our Heavenly Director.  He makes it possible to follow in His steps.

Through His holy Word he shines a light on our sinfulness and our need for spiritual cleansing.

Through His Son, he spotlights His saving grace on the Cross.

Through the camera lens of the Holy Spirit He shows us through eyes of faith His redeeming Love.

We respond in faith–we are ready for action!

Growing in the knowledge of God through His Word we take our steps, guided by Him, directed by Him in a moving picture of His mercy and grace.

Lights!  Camera!  Action!

Lord God, thank you that you have directed us through faith to act out scenes of love, mercy, grace, restoration and reconciliation in the drama of our lives.  Because of the Holy Spirit within us we continue to be directed by you through your Word.  May all we say and do be pleasing in your sight.  For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen