Wednesday, January 31, 2018


For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

As a child I was taught John 3:16, memorized the words, and still believe that this one verse is the key to my salvation. I wish I would have kept reading,.............John 3:17 is a wonderful gift as well. God did not send Jesus to condemn us, persecute us, or exclude anyone. If we choose God's words then we know that our Heavenly Father offers us everything: Salvation, Love, Acceptance, Hope, Joy, Strength, and Courage! The list could go on and on!
Have a blessed day!
Becky Rankin


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lost Sensitivity

Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in, true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:19-24

The newspapers have been full, as well as the radio programs and Golden Globe awards ceremony about the loss of sensitivity to others by the people in power. It is true that this is not a new phenomenon and has been going on since the beginning of time. We are inherently evil by nature. These verses tell us that Jesus taught us to get rid of everything connected with our old, evil way of life.  “Get rid of it, it is rotten through and through,” says Eugene Peterson (The Message) in the verses in Ephesians 4. "Then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life.”

Since it is not natural to us, we need to read Jesus’ words, contemplate, learn and change. Obviously, in our world today, this does not always happen.

Dear Lord, please help us to get your word out and discipline ourselves. Guide us in our lives to be examples, to teach our young and to follow Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sandra Hilsabeck

Monday, January 29, 2018

Volunteer, Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ" Colossians 3:23-24
Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone?  I have in the last year told myself I needed to make changes and some of those may be out of my comfort zone. I don’t really have a problem speaking to someone I don’t know, but I do struggle with the actual conversation content with one on one. I have always been better speaking to a group or giving presentations than talking one on one with someone, especially if I don’t know them. I guess I like being prepared, I like knowing where I am going by address, door and even steps familiar. I like knowing a time and not being late when I arrive, sometimes probably too early for some people. I am great at recognizing faces, but horrible at remembering names which probably adds to my discomfort. I like knowing the task and the expectations at the end. So here I go volunteering. There is an excitement that I want to volunteer, but I don’t want to make mistakes or feel out of place when volunteering or what if those I am volunteering for don’t like me. I would have thought by this time in my life I would be past those thoughts, but must admit it is still there. 

But here is what I found: acceptance, friendship and enjoyment.  I volunteered to help one individual that has added such enjoyment in talking with the individual, learning new things, and acceptance in the fact that at first I really didn’t know what was expected of me or how to complete the task. I volunteered in another location; I found patience, friendship and willingness to help me learn. The increasing hope that helps me put faces with names; by adding the frequency of seeing them.

Sometimes things are not as we see them but as we perceive them and until closer review we are missing out in so much more in our lives. Even one step to helping others surprisingly adds to your own life.

Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven thank you for the many opportunities we have available to help others. Guide us in your chosen path to those we may otherwise skip or look beyond. Help us seek those tasks that we sometimes expect others to complete. Give us the strength, courage, confidence to step forward and use those given skills you have provided us with to do your good work. Bless those that have been before us and are now teaching and guiding us in those good works. Open our eyes to see the acceptance, friendship, patience and love in others that we so often judge to avoid. Thank you for the many blessings from above. Amen.

Lori Hood

Friday, January 26, 2018

Abiding in Prayer

Do everything for the glory of God.   1 Corinthians 10:31

Over the Christmas holidays I reread a book by Jan Karon, “Shepherds  Abiding”.  In it a prayer that Father Tim says regularly really spoke to me, “Lord, make me a blessing to someone today”.  During the preparation for Christmas and throughout Christmas week, I wondered if I had ever thought that.  I was certainly engaged in the many activities that make for a family Christmas, but did I really hope to be a blessing to someone or was I just going through the motions?  Certainly I felt blessed by the gift of Jesus, the joy of the season and the rituals in church and family, but did I try to be a blessing to anyone?

At that point, I decided to adopt that prayer to start each day of 2018. The blessings I have received I hope to extend to those around me, remembering that I have the power to do so through Jesus Christ. 

Prayer:  Dear Lord, let me be a channel of God’s blessings to those around me, and share joy with the many others I meet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Carolyn Brandle    

Thursday, January 25, 2018


The scriptures are prayers from Psalms.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord from my youth.  Psalm 71:5

And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7

Recently, Kimberly Arms Shirk came to Eastridge's Book Group and talked about the book she wrote-"Remote Fears & Silver Linings." Kim was severely burned and nearly killed by a electrical line when she was reporting a story. She survived and went through many surgeries and treatments. She has a list of Silver Linings at the end of her book. The first one is: "Believe. Belief brings hope and hope brings life." The dictionary says that Believe is to have religious conviction and Belief is confidence and trust. Through her book she expressed her belief and conviction and expressed hope in God. She talked about praying and answered prayers and her hope in God. 
After reading this book, I thought, have I always placed my hope in God when life takes me to dark times?

Ask yourself the same question!

Prayer:Read the 2 scriptures at the beginning of the devotion and hold them in your heart.

Susan Taylor


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Peace for today

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


Monday, January 22, 2018

Commitment or Resolution

For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18

As a child I remember New Year’s Eve as a very special family time. My parents would first let us stay up until midnight; it was a true time of celebration. It always felt like it was the beginning of a wondrous time- that continued from the Christmas celebration. I don’t remember all the activities that we did but it was definitely family time! We used the same noise makers for several years. One was a dancing pineapple that spun around in circles and played music (long before all the moving/animated toys of today); a banana riding a tricycle moving toy and my Chinese twirling drum with tiny bells that would hit the drums. My father would make us each a special drink to cheer in the New Year,  Seven-up with a little cherry flavoring, or coke with a little chocolate. They were served in Mom’s special event glasses and a straw was always included to top it off as an official cheer beverage. 

Now as the New Year’s Eve’s passing much more rapidly than in my childhood, I can’t say I have enjoyed them as much as I did in my childhood. In the last few years I have wondered how to bring the excitement and hope back into the event. I had found over the years that making new year resolutions was not much of an accomplishment because so many years I didn’t complete them. Did I not complete them because I didn’t really find it as important as I had, or was it because I chose the many common ones that others choose each year such as going on a diet, exercise more just to make a resolution?  I decided not to make resolutions for a few years.  

I now find that at the end of each year and beginning of the New Year I don’t make resolutions as I did, but I recommit myself to follow the path the Lord has set before me. I remind myself to be more thankful for the many blessings each day. This may include just the fact that He made a beautiful sky like a painting for me to see. The time I get to spend with family and friends. I opened my life to include new adventures for me such as writing these devotions which is something I had never done before. I was given the opportunity to volunteer in the church and other places to build new friendships. I find I am more committed to follow through not just through the New Year but throughout my lifetime. Each day I find myself with more blessings in recommitting myself to listen for His path or maybe His resolutions.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Open my eyes that I may see, Open my ears that I may hear, Open my senses that I may feel your glory. Open my heart that I may find the many blessings that you have prepared for me that I may miss. Thank you for each second, minute, hour and year that I am blessed to enjoy those around me and the life around me that you have provided. In Jesus name I pray Amen.
Lori Hood



Friday, January 19, 2018

God's Plan

Commit to the Lord whatever you do and will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

I wish I would have applied the wisdom of today's verse when I was younger. It would have saved me from making some incredibly poor choices and when faced with adversity, handled it with more grace. Unfortunately we often tend to give in to our own wants which leads us down the wrong path. As humans our desires dominate our thoughts, so we often do not trust that God already has our path mapped out for us. I've often even tried to make deals with God, when I should have been kneeling in prayer and asking for God's wisdom and my obedience. Give everything over to God and then you will prosper.
Have a blessed day!
Becky Rankin



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Complaints Not Allowed

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.   Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

Our society has become fractured and polarized, with individuals criticizing others about almost every topic possible.  A number of years ago, I heard about a book called “A Complaint Free World.”  The author, Will Bowen, is a minister and he suggested trying to break the habit of complaining by going 21 days in a row without complaining.  He even suggested wearing a bracelet and moving it to the other wrist each time you complain. It doesn’t take a specific kind of bracelet, but a search for “complaint bracelet” on returned 166 items.

I haven’t tried it, in part because I doubt whether I’d last more than one day.  There are days when I think I might spend most of my time moving the bracelet.  

We have a lot of synonyms for “complain”: beef, bellyache, carp, crab, croak, fuss, gripe, grouse, growl, grumble, moan, mutter, squawk, wail, whine, and yammer. And then there are related words, like protest, quibble, fret, stew, worry, bemoan, bewail, deplore, and lament. There are at least 29 references to complain or complaints in the Bible.

The thesaurus lists several “near antonyms,” including accept, bear, countenance, endure, tolerate, applaud, cheer, and commend. But there’s only one antonym listed: REJOICE.

It’s easy to complain, bellyache, growl, mutter and whine. If it’s not the weather, it’s that driver who just cut you off, or the sales clerk who was a little short with you, or the price of gas, or the co-worker who just gets on your nerves.

But how easy is it to rejoice? It shouldn’t be that difficult, should it? We can rejoice because we are able to worship together, to give thanks to God for our blessings, to know that our prayers are heard and answered. We can rejoice in the fact that Jesus died for our sins and paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have eternal life. The next time you find yourself complaining about something, why not stop and, instead, rejoice in the risen Lord.

Prayer: Dear God, We ask for your help in changing our habit of complaining. We have much to rejoice about, yet we find it easier to grouse about the little things that irritate us. With your help, we can work to shine like stars in the universe and exult in the knowledge that you are our savior. 

Robin Hadfield

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


...Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

A labyrinth is a walking meditation that is based on a circular pattern of paths that interrupt and change direction, doubling back on some of the same views but from a different distance from the center.  Many European churches and cathedrals have labyrinths within their walls, or in adjoining courtyards.  Some American churches have followed suit, providing outdoor labyrinths for the community to use.  

The labyrinth can be a symbolic journey of moving towards the sacred center, and carrying that energy back into the world.  But unlike the trip down the aisle to the altar, it is not the shape of a cross; rather, it is a series of indirect paths that fill in the gaps around the shape of the cross.  

This is different from a maze, where one spends the bulk of the time being lost, and having no sense of direction or center.  

Our lives are a series of journeys that change direction by circumstance or intention, but seen in the perspective of moving toward centering they can form a circle.  Our lives outside the labyrinth might indeed be a maze, where confusion and happenstance rule.  But by positioning ourselves in the labyrinth, we can be part of an ordered flow of movement towards what sustains us, and then bring that back out to the world. 

Walking has seldom felt comfortable to my joints, even after hip replacements and revisions.  But taking a series of short walks towards a goal, where every arc and segment has meaning, is a physical and mental challenge with which I can identify.  The center is always in sight, providing a stability and calm to the whims of direction.  I love the image of God being in the center, and of many feet having gone before me on this journey.  

Because we often think of God in stillness, it is refreshing to remember that God is with us in our movements.  Many cultures have dances that celebrate their spiritual and sacred beliefs, and it is helpful to resonate with that kind of worship.

Prayer: God of my feet, bring me close to you as I choose my steps.  God of my eyes, let me see you at the center of all that I do.  God of my bones, help me to move as you created me to move, in joy and and strength.  God of my soul, keep me centered as I am trying to take you with me to the world.  Thank you for the paths that others have made in their journeys to you, and help me to recognize them as I walk.  Amen.

Mollie Manner

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


“Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord Your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness.  He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains as before.  The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.  I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locust and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you.  You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.  Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.  An afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” Joel 2:23-29

This passage shares a reminder that sons and daughters, children and grandchildren will see life in a new way. After judgment and repentance, restoration and blessing will follow. When disturbing world events threaten to overwhelm, we take comfort in the promise of deliverance for those who are faithful to God. We find joy in the promise of restoration.

As our grandchildren bubble over with joy and excitement brought by new experiences, their delight makes us aware of the many blessings that come from seeing life in a new way.  A baby crowing with delight when hearing stirring music played by a bell choir, a preschooler excitedly urging a reluctant mom to embrace a first roller coaster ride or savoring orange slices dunked in chicken soup (hmmm…)—simple daily experiences remind us of the joy God intends for those who love him.

Prayer: Creator God, thank you for your promises of blessing and restoration.  As we seek to be faithful to you, give us an appreciation for seeing life in new ways and the courage to be agents of your hope, joy and laughter.  Amen.

Barry and Alinda Stelk

Monday, January 15, 2018


As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.
Psalm 103:1:1

We are so blessed for the love of family, friends and our Gracious Lord. We may not understand or realize how deep these loves are, but should know God loves us without condition.

Excerpt from Everyday Praise:

It’s hard to grasp how deeply God cares for us, because our firsthand experience of love comes from relationships with imperfect people. But God’s love is different. With God, we never need fear condemnation, misunderstanding, or rejection. He completely understand what we say and how we feel, and loves us without condition. Since God is never fickle or self-centered, we can risk opening up every part of our loves to Him. We can risk returning the love He so freely gives.

Prayer: Gracious Lord, thanks for the love of family, friends and of our love and relationship to you.

Shirley Flynn-Bell

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Way of Life with God

Occasionally I read from The Message version of the Bible which helps me understand. I saw Galatians 5:22-24 before Christmas and was so touched that I placed these verses in every Christmas card and with every gift. Paul teaches a great way to live!

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely… Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.
I rededicated my life in 1998 and knelt beside my bed.  In my prayer I told God I understand why the answer to my prayer was “No, my child.” Please lead me and teach me from now on. From that day forward, I have felt the serenity mentioned in Galatians with gifts coming into my life. He helped me direct my energies wisely to lead the tennis teams at Wesleyan University. I had exuberance and conviction to learn coaching at a higher level for not only young women, but young men also. The job stretched me in ways I hadn’t even dreamed of before; and led me to depend on our Father in heaven. We, coach and students, learned to compete, but one t-shirt the women’s team made for me tells how much more we had together. It stated on the back “10-0, UNDEFEATED, INCREDIBLY GOOD LOOKING, AND DARN FRIENDLY TOO!” Our opponents were more than just rivals; we understood they were students too and a basic holiness permeates things and people. Because I turned to Jesus my paranoid loneliness went away. He not only gave me a job working with kids I came to love; he gave me the way to love them. He gave me new in-laws and new grandchildren that love me back.

But what if I had continued developing a temper and refused to love the kids; Galatians 5:19:21 tells me what would have happened. We would have been angry at every loss.
It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time; repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank you for the words of Paul of Tarsus giving us guidelines to live by. Forgive me when I forget them. Amen.
Sandra Hilsabeck-Hastings



Wednesday, January 10, 2018


When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 NIV

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 

I’m sharing a poem I wrote last year as my January devotion (shown along with photo on photo to enlarge). As I read it again, I'm reminded that God is our great example of humility, that He continually shows us that we need to be humble as well. It’s interesting the situations that arise that can bring this to light. We become vulnerable when we share these moments in our life, and growth comes from allowing that vulnerability. Trust those in your life and bare your soul, and you may be surprised at the connection that results.

·        Just when we think we have a situation under control, God shows us that life isn’t predictable.

·        Parenting is often challenging, especially when our children surprise us in unpleasant ways.

·         A day goes along uneventfully, we take it for granted, and then chaos ensues.

And on and on. None of us are immune to finding ourselves in situations that leave us shaken, surprised, or depressed.

Just as sure as we aren’t alone in our struggle, God assures us He is with us as well…through the good and the bad, reminding us of our humanity.  

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for those situations that may be difficult, for they bring me closer to You. Help me to reach out to others who may be struggling, too. Remind us that we’re in this together. Thank you for your comfort and guidance. Amen.

Donna Gustafson

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Clean Slate

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 

A new calendar year gives us an opportunity for a fresh start.  When I was a child, my Sunday school teacher reminded us students of this opportunity.  She explained that it was like our individual blackboard slate wiped completely clean. (Today, we might say it is like deleting on our computers.)  God’s forgiveness is available to us every day not just at the beginning of a new year.  The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-15) reminds us of that in verse 12.  “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

As a young child, I threw an icicle at my sister.  It just missed her eye.  I told my sister that God would forgive me.  My sister complained to our mother, who used the incident as a “teachable moment.”  My mother explained that I needed to sincerely confess my error, be truly sorry, and then ask for God’s forgiveness.  It was an important lesson for both my sister and me.

The Scriptures proclaim another essential part of forgiveness.  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)

Forgiveness of others can heal us as well as our relationships.  Most importantly, it can deepen our relationship with God.

Our guilt over past mistakes sometimes prevents us from asking for God’s forgiveness.  It is never too late to go to God in prayer, confess our sins and ask God to help us to take away our guilty feelings.  We can choose to let go of our guilt and no longer allow anger and bitterness to poison our life.  Forgiving others or ourselves takes time and effort.

Prayer:  God we need your forgiveness.  Help us to find ways to forgive others daily and look for the wonderful blessings in our lives.  Grant us your mercy and grace.  Amen.


Lois Poppe (reprinted from January 2, 2012)


Monday, January 8, 2018


…What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes... James 4:14 

...On account of his vast mercy he has given us new birth.  You have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection ... 1 Peter 1:3  

For His anger is but for a moment; His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 

I ended the year by playing piano for a wedding and a memorial service; and finally, a New Year's Eve wedding in the church where I grew up, where my marriage ceremony was, and where my parents' ashes reside.  It was an interesting journey that music lead me through. As I envision my life in the coming year, I try to start with thanksgiving for the blessings of the past year.  I think any beginning needs to start with thanks for being there, even if what we are beginning is not something we would choose.  My marriage was not permanent, but I had an interesting life for much of it, and I had the ultimate gift of our children and friendship with their relatives.  My parents are gone, but they are with me in so many ways.  There is even a Christmas tree in the parish hall of the church covered with hats and mittens for children at nearby schools, and because my mother was heavily involved in that ministry the church named the tree after her - thereby personalizing it and increasing their donations.  My mother is very much alive in this mission.  

My New Year's Eve began with brunch with people from my high school class of 1973.  One of my friends is dying from a degenerative disease, but he came to the gathering anyway.  He is one of the busiest among us, finding ways to be with his friends, who are more than eager to share time with him.  He is approaching his death by being more alive than anyone I know.  He has gratitude for the life he has been able to live, and is as enthusiastic about each day as he was when I first met him.  People are attracted to him because he is genuine, direct, and in full acceptance of his brokenness.  This has the effect of presenting God's power of making him whole.  Death is truly a powerless player in the game. 

My friend is awakened every day before dawn and taken to a balcony to watch the sun rise as he drinks his coffee.  This makes me inspired to try - once in a while, perhaps - to greet the new day in some way like this.  I have been stumbling into my mornings lately, and I am finding it to be a poor way to start the precious day.  The next thing he does is to be taken to a hot whirlpool bath and then massaged, even the parts of him that are essentially numb.  The corollary to this for me would be to have more fun with my shower, rinse away sleep and anything nagging that stayed with me from the previous day, and follow it with some stretches to give my body a chance to reconnect with some helpful energy for the promising day ahead.  And of course, I need to connect with my friends beyond the electronic screens of my life.

In this age of time management, my friend is living more in God's time than he ever has.  He is planning, but not with any anxiety connected to it.  So much of what grinds the rest of us down is being released in his approach to life now.  He is open, he meets fear with peace, and he treasures time with others. 

Resolutions don't tempt me like they used to.  But fresh beginnings are always possible, and always worth the energy.  I want to build on what I am doing well, and I want to let go of things that distract me from my purpose and joy.  So maybe I should start at the beginning - which God always provides, and is always present in.  I want to hear and join in with the shout of joy that comes in the morning.

From Prayer at Sunrise by James Weldon Johnson:

O greater Maker of this Thy great sun,

Give me the strength this one day's race to run.

Fill me with light, fill me with sun-like strength,

Fill me with joy to rob the day its length.

Light from within, light that will outward shine,

Strength to make strong some weaker heart than mine,

Joys to make glad each soul that feels its touch;

Great Father of the sun, I ask this much. Amen.


Mollie Manner

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Small Deed

Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.”   2 Thessalonians 3:13

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

As I read my morning devotion, the writer reminded how we can serve God by caring for others. The Thought for the Day: “I will do a small deed in God’s service today.” Since I planned to be home all day, I doubted I would have an opportunity to “do a small deed.”

A short while later, my phone rang. A relative, Sue* told me she had just received a phone call from her friend, Pat*, who was depressed over health issues. Pat had been notified that her physical therapy was no longer helping. There was no hope for improvement. In addition, in spite of regular injections in both eyes, Pat’s vision continued to deteriorate from macular degeneration. Pat knew she should no longer be driving, but she needed transportation to doctor appointments and the grocery store. Her income would not stretch far enough to take a cab. Sue hesitated to offer to take Pat to doctor appointments and the grocery store when winter weather could make that difficult.

Sue thought I might know of an agency that could offer low cost transportation, since I had volunteered for 28 years on a crisis and referral service. I suggested an agency that might know who to call. Sue called them. They gave her contact information for a service for visually impaired. She called and learned that they provide rides for $1.00 a trip through a cab company. She notified Pat who immediately called the agency.

Sue called me back to thank me for my help. I protested that it was really a small thing. Sue replied that it had made a big difference for Pat.

Then I remembered the Thought for the Day: “I will do a small deed in God’s service today.”

*Names have been changed.

PRAYER:  God, remind us to do your work and do good in response to your love for us. Amen.

Lois Poppe

Thursday, January 4, 2018


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and government will be upon his shoulder and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9: 6 

Before Christmas, a friend and I went to a Danish Christmas dinner sponsored by the Norden Club of Lincoln. I was hoping to learn more about the Danish traditions for the holidays and how closely it matched with that of my Danish grandparent’s and my mother. There was pickled herring( which went fast), pork roast, 2 kinds of potatoes, red cabbage, pickled beets, gherken pickles, elderberry wine, and a sweet loganberry dessert. We were lucky to sit at a table with other Danes who readily shared their old holiday traditions as well. There was a speaker from Denmark who shared that the Danes started the advent season early on the first Friday in November at 8:49 p.m.—when the new beer was brought in from that year –and a good time was had by all. He also talked about the tradition of a pine tree being brought into the house and lit with candles. My mother had talked about this in rural S.D. during the depression when the trees were dry and my grandmother only let the candles burn briefly so that the house would not catch on fire. There were many traditions that we all had in common. But one tradition was having oyster stew on Christmas Eve. It took me a long time to get rid of that one as I hated it. However, the lasting tradition we all shared was going to church on Christmas Eve to a candle lit service with choirs and scripture readings, carols, and the message of  peace that it gives to all. Despite the hubbub of the holidays, the shopping, the gifts, the parties –the best tradition of all is celebrating the real meaning of Christmas that shines through our multiple generations. The long awaited Christ child is born.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your son. Thank you for his gift of hope, his love, and his peace. Amen.

Nancy Hall

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Honor Thy Mother and Father

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4

 “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38   
When I was younger I remember weekends were spent with my family driving  one hour each way to my father’s parents' house. We would spend weekends talking, helping and basically assisting in anything they needed help with. I remember doing a lot of dishes at my grandparents, but I also remember learning interesting facts like my grandfather never threw out his coffee grinds, banana peels and egg shells; he saved them in a coffee can by the sink to place around his rose bushes that he grew along their path from the sidewalk to their front door. My grandfather would talk with my Dad about stories from the past, current events (which I probably otherwise would not have had any interest in). When my grandparents moved from their farm to the small house in town, my uncles, aunts, cousins came to help build a workshop in the back from an old barn Grandpa had purchased to be moved in their backyard. 

I don’t remember much about the trip back home each weekend from my grandparents as many times I would fall asleep. One year I remember after one of them had suffered a heart attack, my Mother and brother each took a turn at staying with them to help. We all took on more chores at home so they could stay with them during their time of healing but it didn’t seem like anything exceptional at the time, just something you do.

And as I became an adult, I made the same journey many times to my parents' house. I wish I had more trips to make, from my grandparents to my parents those visits were filled with the wonderful memories and stories of their lives. Those memories are cherished memories.

I wonder if we are missing that in our society today; do we take the time to help, learn and grow with our elders? Do we find them too slow in completing a task so we don’t bother to assist? Do we help those that need assistance that are still trying to live in their homes, or do we figure they should be pushed aside in a nursing home for others to help?  Are we too busy in our lives with kids, activities, and our own interests to take the time to visit or help them?  

Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, Please help us to look after our elders in whatever small tasks they need. Help us to see the gifts we receive from helping others, the memories, friendships and love that grows within us to then give out to others making the circle of love complete. Help us to open our eyes to see those around us that need our help. Help us to remember to honor our elders as you command. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Lori Hood


Monday, January 1, 2018


This is the day which the lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24.

I love to read the book of Psalms with their message of praise for God, and of gratitude and positivity!   Each day we have to live our life is indeed a gift from God, who gave us life, love, meaning, and purpose.   Each day, then, is a reason to be grateful to God, a day to choose joy.  I love to know from Scripture that God wants us to experience joy.  Some days it is a challenge, as life can be difficult and there are often hardships for ourselves and for those we love. But attitude is so powerful!  A good attitude, the decision to find some joy, good, and happiness in every day is the right choice, and one God wants us to make. 

Years ago I was given a Gratitude journal, which involved writing down several things that I was grateful for every day. I found that to be a meaningful experience and a chance to find joy and happy moments in everyday life, in routine things, and in so many good things that I continually take for granted., like healthy, happy grandkids, for example.

Prayer: Dear Father God, thank you for my life, for the gifts you have given me and for even an ordinary day in my life.  As you have directed me, I will try to find joy in every day.  Please guide me to choose happiness and joy, you who are the originator of all joy.  Please help me to be a more grateful person, as I have so many blessings.  I will try to say thank you every day.

Connie Barry