Always There

Photo by Jennifer Burr

Photo by Jennifer Burr

“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind;

from His dwelling place he watches all who live on earth–

he who forms the hearts of all,

who considers everything they do.

 * * * * *

No king is saved by the size of his army;

no warrior escapes by his great strength.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;

despite all its great strength it cannot save.

* * * * *

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,

on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

to deliver them from death,

and keep them alive in famine.

* * * * *

We wait in hope for the Lord;

he is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust in his holy name.

May your unfailing love rest upon us,

O Lord, even as we put our trust in you.”

Psalm 22:12-22

Lord God, so often I misplace my trust when I run into trouble.   Instead of falling on my knees and bringing to you my concerns I try “this and that”, I consult experts, I go to my friends, to books, to talk radio, to the internet.  Lord, forgive me for not coming to you first!  Lord, you know my human frailty and in your mercy you don’t turn away from me when I finally come to you.  You generously give your wisdom, your strength, your patience and perseverance to me.  And I am helped.  Thank you Lord God for your faithfulness and grace.  Always.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


A Cool Reminder

Photo by Jenny Ellison

Photo by Jenny Ellison

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience;

it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”

Proverbs 19:11

* * * * *

Keeping a cool head

in the heat of conflict

Turning the other cheek

when wronged

Lord, grant me such

wisdom today

to weigh my words

before I speak

to love

even as I am loved

by You.

One Life

All aglow

“Do not toil to acquire wealth;

be discerning enough to desist.

When your eyes light on it, it is gone,

for suddenly it sprouts wings,

flying like an eagle toward heaven.”

Proverbs 23:4-5

* * * * *

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

— extra stanza —

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”
C.T Studd

Lord God, thank you for giving me life.  May it be lived for you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

May 19 A Wise Woman’s Rescue

Photo by Julie Ayers

Photo by Julie Ayers

1 Samuel 24:1-25:44; John 10:22-42; Psalm 116:1-19;  Proverbs 15:20-21

“Then David moved down into the desert of Maon.  A certain man in Maon who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy.  He had a thousand sheep which he was shearing in Carmel.  His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail.  Se was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings.”

* * * * *

“One of the servants told Nabal’s wife Abigail: “David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them.  Yet, these men were good to us.  They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing.  Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them.  Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household.  He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”

* * * * *

“Abigail lost no time…”

Armed with loads of food and an apology Abigail sought out David.

To David she said,

“And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my master be given to the men who followed you.  Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the Lord will make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fight’s the Lord’s battles.”

* * * * *

“David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you today to meet me.  May you be blessed for your good judgement and for keeping me from bloodshed this day.

Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace.  I have heard your words and granted your request.”

1 Samuel 25

Lord, thank you for the wise woman, Abigail whose words and generous actions averted certain doom for both her husband and for David.  She was quick thinking and quick acting–and she feared you more than she feared her husband whom she knew was ill-tempered and foolish.  She trust you above all.  You worked something good out the wrong done to David and his men.  May this story be one of encouragement–that you equip us as needed with words and actions that overcome evil with good.  Open our eyes Lord to opportunities to do just that when we encounter wrongs and injustices.  May we serve others just as Abigail served; just as you came not to be served, but to serve and to give your very life as a ransom for our sins.  Nabal didn’t deserve his wife’s timely intervention.  And neither did we deserve your merciful intervention, but because of your great love and your promise to send a Savior, we are indeed rescued; we are saved!  Thank you Jesus!  In your Name we pray, Amen.

“Do not be overcome with evil,

but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12:21

March 17 Boyhood

Photo by Josh Brown

Photo by Josh Brown

  Numbers 26:1-51;  Luke 2:36-52;  Psalm 60:1-12;  Proverbs 11:15

“And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom.  And the favor of God was upon him.

* * * * *

“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.  And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem.  His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.

* * * * *

“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.  And when his parents saw him, they were astonished.  And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so?  Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”  And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

* * * * *

“And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.  And he went  down with them and came to Nazareth and he was submissive to them.  And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.”

* * * * *

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”

Luke 2:39-52

The Oscar nominated movie, Boyhood, captured the attention of movie goers this past year because of the 12 year effort of its cast and crew to bring it to the big screen.  The story of a boy, unveiled, year by year, captured his yearnings, his questions, and the everyday experiences of growing up in our modern culture.  We didn’t have to “guess”–we saw.

The Bible gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ boyhood.  It would be nice if we knew more about how Jesus fared with the ‘pains’ of growing up;  had stories of him playing, working, learning.  But we don’t.  What we do have is a picture of a young man devoted to his Heavenly Father, obedient to his earthly father, and the subject of his mother’s ponderings, her efforts to remember her son’s growing up years which she shared later with the Gospel writer, Luke.  God wanted us to know that His son grew strong and wise and that people around him liked him–and that He loved His Son very much!

Lord God, we thank you for this glimpse of Jesus’ boyhood.  It tells us that he was like us–a human, subject to the growing up process.  It tells us that he loved his family–and that he loved You and wanted to be in Your house.  He wanted to share his wisdom with those around him.  We thank you that Jesus grew to be our Savior who willingly went to the Cross to pay for our sins.  In His name we pray, Amen.

January 16 For You!

Photo by Lisa Brackbill

Photo by Lisa Brackbill

Genesis 32:13-34:31;  Matthew 11:7-30;  Psalm 14:1-7;  Proverbs 3:19-20

“By wisdom the Lord laid the foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place, by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.”

Proverbs 3:19-20

“the clouds let drop the dew”

for you.

* * * * *

And if He did this for us, then

surely as we face

the difficulties and challenges

before us,

we can rest in His love and care.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

* * * *

Our God-

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

is near.

His work of



and Sanctification

goes on and on and on,

adding and building His Church

with the lives of those who

acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior,

whose sins are washed away in

the Waters of Baptism,

who receive His Body and Blood

at His table,

strengthened and renewed,

who are yoked with Him

as He walks by their side,




and leading them to

His green pastures.

What other ‘god’ does this for his/her people?

What man or woman can do this for another?

Thank you, Jesus, my Lord and Savior, for doing this all for me–and not only me, but every single man, woman, and child that lives, that has ever lived, that ever will walk this earth.  To you be all honor and praise and glory, now and forever!  Amen.

His wisdom never plans in vain

nor falters nor mistakes.

All that his counsels may ordain

a happy ending makes.

* * * *

Upon your lips, then lay your hand,

and trust his guiding love;

Then like a rock your peace shall stand

here and in heav’n above.

~Paul Gerhardt

January 8 Life Changing!

Photo by Aaron Burden

Photo by Aaron Burden

Genesis 18:20-19:38;  Matthew 6:25-7:14;  Psalm 8:1-9;  Proverbs 2:6-15

Inhaling self-help books




one after the other

in my younger years


no more


or lasting


than painting my


and watching the




wear away

with each passing day.


Graciously, the Lord

of Heaven and Earth

bid me come,

to let Him


my selfish,


narrow minded


into one reflecting

the fruits

of faith in Him:










It’s a life



day by day

by the Word of God

and the life of Christ in me

that fails not

to shape me


His child.


“For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.  Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

Proverbs 2:6-11

Lord, as we move into the New Year we may be tempted to reach for a self-help book to transform our lives.  May we first look to you, absorb and apply Your Word to our lives.  Forgive us our sins–which to the world may look like “areas” in need of improvement, but really are ways or habits that are contrary to your ways that need renouncing.  We need your help to become “holy”–set apart. It’s an ongoing process, Lord.  Please keep us focused on You and not grow faint– grow tired of living for you.  We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

November 20 Check Your Plans

Photo by Aaron Burden

Photo by Aaron Burden

Ezekiel 40:28-41:26;  James 4:1-17;  Psalm 118:19-29;  Proverbs 28:35

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”–yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  James 4:13-15

DayTimers and other planning tools are invaluable aids for staying on track in the workplace, but when the subtle implication that they would make all of life easier and more fulfilling to the exclusion of looking to and submitting to God’s plans–well, there’s the rub.

Productivity apps, Daytimers, Calendars, whatever…used without seeking the Lord’s direction and blessing…tattle on our self-centered, self-serving natures.

Thankfully, God’s grace can get us back on track with Him.

“If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9.

Including our sin of excluding Him in our life-mapping, goal identifying, activity planning efforts!

Lord God, forgive me for hitting the floor “running” day after day, checking my lists, checking off ‘to-dos’ with little thought to what You would have me do.  Forgive my failure to seek You, listen to You, to ask for wisdom to discern worldly goals from Your goals for me.  Thank You, that through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross,  You have freed me from the tyranny of serving self to live a different way–Your way.

Take my life, O Lord, renew,

Consecrate my heart to you;

Take my moments and my days;

Let them sing your ceaseless praise.


Make my will your holy shrine,

It shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is your own;

It shall be your royal throne.


Take my love, my Lord, I pour

At your feet its treasure store;

Take my self, Lord, let me be

Yours alone eternally.


~  Francis Haveral

November 19 Pure And Simple

Image by B Forsman

Image by B Forsman

Ezekiel 39:1-40:27;  James 2:18-3:18;  Psalm 118:1-18;  Proverbs 28:2

“Who is wise and understanding among you?  By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and  be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practices.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”  James 3:13-18

The Blood of the Lamb

pure and simple

cleanses my heart,

sin-riddled and dark,

pumps His goodness

and righteousness

through my veins;

pumps His life-blood,

His mercy and grace

keeps me alive

in Him.

Alive to bear fruit,

good works to do,

helping my neighbor

speak truth in love.

Sowing seeds of peace

in a restless land.

The Blood of the Lamb,

pure and simple

changes hearts,

changes lives.

God, grant peace,

true peace in You

to every man.


October 13 Fruitful Words

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Jeremiah 22:1-23:20;  2 Thessalonians 1:1-12;  Psalm 83:1-18;  Proverbs 25:11-14

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold

in a setting of silver.

Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold

is a wise reprover to a listening ear.”

Proverbs 25:11-12


“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,

and a word in season, how good it is!”

Proverbs 15:23


“The ear that listens to life-giving reproof

will dwell among the wise.”

Proverbs 15:31


A helpful speaker is first a good listener.

A wise speaker is first a discerning listener.

Lord, grant that I might be slow to speak, eager to listen, and quick to seek your wisdom.  May I listen with ears attuned to mercy and speak with care-full words.  For Jesus’ sake, who listens well and speaks the truth in love, always, Amen.