The views expressed here are those of each individual devotion writer. Thank you to our writers for their contributions to this ministry!

Friday, November 30, 2018


Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Recently I had a conversation with someone about communication and how abbreviated our language has become.  Are we really communicating?  Do we understand what the other person is really saying?

It reminds me of a posting on Facebook, where the son was telling a story about his mother and learning to use modern abbreviations on text messages. She saw several people using lol.  Upon someone announcing the death of a family member, she responded with lol.  Her son said, "Mom, how rude!" The mother responding to her son said “why, I just responded with lol meaning lots of love.”  Her son said, “Mom it means Laughing Out Loud!”  How many times have you seen a response from someone and said: I wonder what that means? I usually goggle it to see what it means, I can’t keep up with all the new ones. There are several I don’t want to know what they mean or would ever use. 

Upon my first day at a postal distribution center, I was instructed by the supervisor to go help unload the scf from the bmc on to the 1070’s.  He was pointing to a direction which helped but the rest was unclear except that I was to unload something on to something. I responded with I am happy to do that; but I have no idea what you just said. He was a supervisor that spoke abbreviations for just about everything, and soon I understood what he was talking about, but it meant a lot of questions.  

Many conversation workshops tell you to listen, repeat what the person said, then ask for clarification to make sure you understood what they are actually saying. In my recent part-time work, I had a co-worker say something to me, I looked at them and said I am sorry I do not know what you said. They repeated it, and I still didn’t know what they said. It finally came down to someone else interpreting for us. We were both speaking English, but neither knew what the other was relaying. 

Emojis are another form of communication that leaves a lot to the interpretation of the person using it and the person receiving it. Is that smiley face crying a good thing or bad? Is it not bad enough we don’t all speak the same language, or have the same dialect but now we use pictures and abbreviations!   

Have you ever read the Bible and thought, I wonder what this is really saying to me? Or had someone tell you their interpretation of that passage. Thank goodness it is not all just pictures, abbreviations and emojis. Thank goodness we have a church where we can gather and learn of the meaning of the words in the Bible. Pastors to teach us what the Bible is saying to us. A place that we can gather and worship God in a better understanding. A place where we work at understanding each other and expressing our thoughts in words, music and praise to Jesus our Lord.

Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for the Pastors, the church staff, the musical directors, Sunday School teachers, and all those that help to put together a welcoming and open gathering place to worship our Lord. May we find more understanding of your messages. May we find more ways to open communication between the generations, the cultural differences and any other dividing differences. May we extend our hand to help others learn of your love.  In Jesus name, we pray. Amen

Lori Hood

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:42   

There is a scene in the movie Evan Almighty that I absolutely adore, Morgan Freeman (God) is explaining to Lauren Graham (Joan, Evan’s wife) that God doesn’t always clearly grant our prayers in the ways that we expect them to be granted. In this scene God says “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

This is such a short burst in the film but it always stays with me and I love the way it ties to this verse – if you believe that you have received what you have prayed for, it will be yours. As humans, we think about our desires, and we pray for ourselves and those around us. We ask God to be in our lives, but we are frustrated when we have to admit that his power and will is greater than our own.   

As I reflected on this verse and this scene I thought back over times when I have asked God for something and he has delivered in ways that I would not have expected.  When I prayed that my son would receive an education that would make him successful and enriched, I wasn’t ready for him to move 640 miles away, but it has been such an amazing experience for him. Years ago, when I prayed for a very ill friend to have less suffering, I wasn’t ready for his death to be so sudden, but I know that he has been released from all the pain his body experienced on earth. As part of our spiritual and emotional growth we have to accept our gifts and make the most of them and we must have faith that God will continue to provide for us in ways that we could never have imagined. Especially in those moments were we don’t get what we ask for.    

Prayer: God who knows our deepest fears and hopes, please continue to help us grow. Continue to respond to prayers in ways that are better than we could have asked, and guide us on the path that you have always planned. Amen.     

Christi Moock   

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

“Wow!”, not “so what?”

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:3

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Psalm 96:11-12

Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?  Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge? Job 37:14-16

There is a quote from the movie The Color Purple that I’ll paraphrase here: “I think it angers God if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” (This movie was originally a book, and to read the whole unedited quote, go online.) I love this quote, because I imagine it to be true! God has created a beautiful world for us, and sometimes we take it for granted.

When I was a child, I had a book that showed a photograph of a fetus in the amniotic sac at around 4 months gestation. Today, we can go to our computers and search online for photographs like this and find hundreds. In the late 60s-early 70s, this was somewhat of a novelty. I had this book along once while visiting my grandmother in the hospital. My brothers and I spent many long hours in the waiting room back when children were not allowed in the patient rooms, so we spent that time reading and running around the hospital grounds. On one such day I was reading the above-mentioned book, and commented to my brother on how amazing the photo was. Another young girl in the waiting area noticed, took a cursory glance at the photo, and dismissed it, saying "So what?" As a child I was so shocked at her response that I couldn’t say a word. Shame followed; shame that I was in awe of something that was evidently mundane to others.

Today I think just the opposite: how sad that there are people in this world who don’t notice the details and beauty of the world we live in. Miracles abound! I’m going to try my best to keep a childlike wonder at my surroundings…whether it’s the way the fading sunlight shines on the fall leaves or the delicate little bird landing on my windowsill, or the miraculous human body…I want to appreciate it.  

It’s sometimes easy to become absorbed in our own dramas and issues when things aren’t going well; we have a harder time noticing life around us. During those times we need to be reminded that gratitude goes hand-in-hand with an observant nature.

Don’t be a “so what?” person; be a “wow!” person!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the beautiful world you have created. Help us notice it, and in doing so, give the glory to you! Amen.

Donna Gustafson

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14

On Sunday, I worshipped in a place of chaos. Surrounded by small children, I found it hard to concentrate on the sermon or to worship in my usual way. About to become irritated, I suddenly realized that I was lucky enough to be able to worship in the midst of the future of Eastridge church. That random thought made worship so much easier and I grinned at the small child and laughed as I thought of the burp from the preceding Sunday.

Instead of gray heads, I was surrounded by young thriving children and their parents. Dressed for whatever might come their way, they bowed their heads, listened to their children sing, and generally tried to pay attention. They were especially interested in the music and children’s moment when the time came. I remembered the passage in the Bible where Jesus says, “suffer little children to come unto me for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.”

It is so good to check on these little folk, their names never stay with me long for after all I am old. But they report on chapter books, tell me about school, stop to tie grandmother’s shoe. When my oldest child was little, she sang a song which had a phrase, “I don’t want to wait until I am grownup to be like Jesus wants me to be. I can read the Bible and pray, do a loving kindness today.” I do not remember who wrote the song or what the title was, for that was nearly 50 years ago, but I do remember a small child really believing it. Yes, the church service was nearly in chaos but the future of our church looks bright and that is still another item to be thankful for in this time of giving thanks to God for all we have.

Prayer: Thank you God for little folks, for old folks and those in between. Thank you, God, for giving us all that we need and time to enjoy it all. Thank you, God, for patience and love exhibited in young parents and grandparents and help us all to appreciate what we have. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Carolyn Olsen

Monday, November 26, 2018


I love the Lord because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Psalm 116: 1

Isn’t it wonderful that our God not only hears our prayers of gratitude for all that He has done for us, but he also hears our prayers when we ask for His help. Sometimes when I am troubled by a problem and know that I need lots of help from God, I may forget to thank Him for all the wonderful blessings that he has given to me and immediately begin my prayer by asking for His help. Do you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty falling to sleep again? It is at these times that I pray to God thanking Him for all the many blessings that he has given me and asking Him for his help for the day that will be dawning soon. These prayers help me relax and fall to sleep again.  When I awaken in the morning, I feel that God is with me and that he will be with me throughout the day guiding me in all that I do and say.

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, thank you for all the many blessings that you have given us. You are with us every second of every day watching over us as your children. Help us to always do your will and to be a witness for you in everything that we do and in everything that we say. In Your name we pray.   Amen.

Linda Douglas (reprinted from the Eastridge Daily Devotion book, published in 2008)

Friday, November 23, 2018

Giving Thanks

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 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 3:15-17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Day

What are you thankful for? Make a list...start a gratitude journal! 

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For his mercy endures forever.” I Chronicles 16:34 
“We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.” Psalm 75:1
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving - Then and Now

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:  Be thankful unto him and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100: 4, 5

In the United States, in December of 1941, through a joint resolution adopted by the US Senate and House of Representatives and signed by President Roosevelt, the fourth Thursday of November was officially designated as the date for Thanksgiving Day. It started in our land as essentially a harvest festival and a day of thanksgiving. The early Christian settlers brought with them their Christian heritage of giving thanks for God’s blessings.

The book of Psalms contains the rich and varied responses of many souls in Israel to the divine calling. It is essentially a collection of prayers and praises. A Christian cannot escape the admonition to nurture a thankful heart. It is a part of our national history and Christian heritage.

In a personal devotion relating to Thanksgiving it should bring our focus not to what we failed to receive, but what we did “harvest.” Only you can count your blessings. Our culture is crowded with reminders of what we “need.”  Advertisements seek to create a “desire to own.” We are not immune to these enticements. The old hymn verse “Count your many blessings, name them one by one” may seem ancient, but is it?

Don’t expect someone else to prepare your Thanksgiving list. If we are to follow the custom of a harvest festival, we must be thankful for food that sustains us. Our land produces much grain as well as meat, poultry, and many vegetables and fruits.  Many are the threats to this food supply – drought, flood, hurricanes, diseases of livestock and poultry, etc.  Probably no place on earth can match our supermarket offerings. Yet even in Lincoln, it seems the food pantries are always in need.

Sometime during this Thanksgiving season, sit down and read “America the Beautiful.” Consider carefully each verse. Did you experience any of the things mentioned during the last year?

Prayer:  Our Father, teach us to be thankful servants.  Guide our eyes and thoughts to the beautiful about us.  Help us to recall the acts of kindness that came our way and to be thankful in our spirit.  Amen.
Harold Edwards (reprinted from the Eastridge Daily Devotion book, published in 2008)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Encouragement of Jesus’ “once-and-for-all” Sacrifice

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgement, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:24-28

I have always been intrigued by “the once and for all” sacrifice of Jesus.  In Hebrews, Jesus is seen as the great high priest whose sacrifice is fully guaranteed for all who would accept it.  No need to repeat it if accepted.  It’s been offered “once and for all!”  So, what does this mean?

I would suggest that it brings us a sense of freedom and a compulsion to act beyond our imagination – to give our all – to be fully invested.  I think of the poor woman of Mark 12:41-44 who gave two small coins into the Temple treasury.  Unbeknownst to her, Jesus was watching.  Jesus calls the disciples and uses that observation of the widow’s gift (often referred to as the widow’s mite) as an object lesson for them to be fully invested with no holds barred.  It is as if the great high priest has given us the green light to serve with our whole being!  We don’t have to worry about what we have to do.  We do it because Jesus has our backs!

So, translate that compulsion – that green light – that fully invested discipleship into a loving act of service and ministry.  Oh, think of the possibilities that the “once and for all” sacrifice opens up to us.  Even if we give just a “mite,” God will bless it as we freely offer it in the name and love of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: O God, may we have the compulsion and passion to love and serve as you have already done for us through Christ’s “once and for all” sacrifice on the cross.  Grant us the energy and desire to be fully invested in ways our Lord calls us to be involved.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Rev. Dr. John J. Duling, Parish Associate

Monday, November 19, 2018

Childlike and Too Observant

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Mark 10:13-16

I have been told by many people I have “childlike” views. I accept that; I find it helps me to continue in my life seeing the good things. I enjoy animated movies, the characters and how they express their feelings. Recently I went to see Christopher Robin the movie and was asked: don’t you feel silly going to children’s movies? No, I don’t; and whether or not I get the privilege of seeing it with my grandnieces and nephews I still attend. Listening to Pooh’s childlike views of the world and the games he likes to play gives a person the lightheartedness to balance out all the serious, stressful and tragedy in the world today. Recently I participated in the Trunk or Treat at my sister’s church.  It’s been a tradition now, I have dressed up as a Polar Bear, a Pirate, a Witch, and this year we were Animal Control Officers. I loaded my dog kennels in the car, filled them with stuffed animals, cats, dogs and had a bear driving the car.  We handed out candy and got to see all the kid’s costumes. The family next to us was Mickey Mouse house with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. The father was a great sport and dressed up as Donald. It was a good time for adults and kids to relax, have fun and not think about all the concerns of the day for a short time. 

I also love to make stuffed animals talk to the kids and become involved in the daily activities. They find it silly and fun to have the stuffed animals communicate with them.  One time we were having lunch and I made their stuffed animal ask for a French fry and my grand niece turns to me seriously and said, “you know they can’t eat right?” I said yes; but we can pretend. She said, "good", and handed the animal a French fry and laughed. What can be more refreshing than to see/hear a child laugh! We also play games when we travel; such as gathering the animals we see outside the car. The first one to see a herd of cows would say, “my cows”.  Each collecting their animals until we arrive at the destination. Which leads to another comment from friends, you are way too observant! You see things outside the car and mention it in conversation. I guess this goes back to my childhood travels with my parents where we would point out different sights: windmills, animals, shapes in the clouds, buildings, etc. I can’t imagine traveling and just sitting in the car and never enjoying the sights. It may not be the destination, but isn’t it the travel there that makes it a memory with those you are traveling with?

There is so much sadness and unhappiness in the world. The tragedies, illnesses, hurt, and hate that we face each day. We need to bring God back into our lives and enjoy the time we have on this earth with thanks and praise to Him for all he has given us. To bring imagination and wonder to those around us, to spread the joy and gladness that we are so blessed with.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for all the wonderment of the world and its uniqueness. Thank you for designing each leaf, each snowflake, and each human individually with their own characteristics and beauty. Thank you for the sounds of a child’s laughter and may we each remember our childlike vision, imagination and hopes to share with others. Help us to take the time to enjoy your blessings each day no matter what age we may be. Help us to spread that happiness to others around us. Amen.

Lori Hood

Friday, November 16, 2018

Judging Others

Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make will be judged, and the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-3

Recently I was asked in Bible Study what do you need to work on in your life? I said judging others and situations. In this scripture, Jesus teaches about judging others. Jesus says do not judge. If you judge others in your head, or talking to others, you will be judged. Jesus says why do you see the speck (a blemish or something you find objectionable) in your neighbor's eye but do not see the log in your own eye? Do we judge to build ourselves up? I am making an effort not to judge others and/or situations and to make an effort to build up others.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, be my constant reminder not to judge others and to build up others. Amen

Susan Taylor

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It’s all in how you look at it

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of the disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down. “There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, give thanks and distributed to those were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. John 6:5-11

This story reminds me of the phrase “is the glass half full or half empty? It’s all in the eyes of the beholder”. Now, the disciples didn’t understand yet about the miracles Jesus could perform, and they were being very realistic about their abilities to feed 5000 people. But where Jesus saw opportunity, they saw only defeat.

How many times do we, with our realistic attitudes miss the opportunities? This story also reminds me of a recent drive down “A” street with my son on our way to church. We’ve always had an agreement that for every dandelion he brings me, he gets a kiss. In the springtime he can arrive home from the bus stop with over 30 dandelions and receive 30 kisses. We both love it and I look forward to a fistful of dandelions and realize that it won’t be long before the idea of 30 kisses from his mother will make him cringe. But on this day as we drove by Roberts Park and I saw the entire park covered with yellow blooms my thought was, “Oh, what a mess that’s going to be for the neighbors in a couple weeks”. Mitchell’s alternative thought was “Wow, that must be worth about six million kisses.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, Each day, starting today, help me to see opportunities where I see problems and barriers. Open my eyes to the wonders of your world and the miracles you perform. Thank you for the many stories of the Bible and the way they keep teaching me new things! Amen

Lori Snyder-Sloan (reprinted from the Eastridge Daily Devotional Book, published in 2008)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Thank you to Pastors and Staff

As they (Paul and Barnabas) traveled from town to town, they presented the simple guidelines the Jerusalem apostles and leaders had come up with. That turned out to be most helpful. Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size. Acts 16:4-5

Pastor Dr. Melodie Jones Pointon and Pastor Thomas came to Eastridge and have presented the guidelines to be worshipers of Christ, the Son of our Almighty Lord. Eastridge is becoming stronger in faith and larger in size.

Thank you for all the planning, the research and the presentations of “I can’t Believe This is In the Bible” and the sermon series of “The Apostles’ Creed.”  I love seeing so many great friends and worshipers after each service in the Welcome Center. Sometimes I don’t see how you do it all, but I think your work is very exciting and if I was young, I would think about being a pastor. The reason being that you meet people where they are, how they are, and provide the love of Jesus in a world that elsewhere doesn’t seem to acknowledge Christ’s existence. What better work can there be?

Sandra Hilsabeck

Monday, November 12, 2018


"There is no one on earth who does it right all the time and never makes a mistake."  Ecclesiastes 7:20

Yes, read that again! Sometimes when we make mistakes we think we are the only one to make a mistake; and we feel bad about ourselves, embarrassed, defeated, a failure. Yet, making mistakes is part of the reality of being human. Being human is to be fallible, that is, capable of making a mistake, capable of failure. The word fallible is often used to describe human error. No person is infallible.

So, such pressure this reality(to be human is to be fallible) should take off me!  I can't be perfect. Ever. Period. No one can, not anyone we admire or love; nor anyone we disrespect or do not even like. We are all human.

Only God does not ever make a mistake. He is all knowing, all good. He is all loving and all forgiving also, especially when we do make mistakes. What should I strive for then? To be God-like, loving and kind and tolerant, accepting of others, especially in today's world where there seems to be much hatred and a lack of acceptance of those who are different from us.  

I must also strive to be forgiving when others make mistakes, and hurt me or hurt someone that I love.  I need to be more tolerant and patient.  There is no right way to live other than God's way, that is, with a merciful, compassionate and loving heart. 

Prayer: Father God, thank you for creating me, even though I can never be perfect. Thank you for loving me, even though I can never be perfect.  Guide me to live by the grace you have given me so that I do not have unrealistic expectations for myself or for others.  Guide me to follow your word and Christ's example and strive not for perfection but to be loving, forgiving and compassionate.

Connie Barry

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Word from Colossians

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel  that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,  so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:3-14

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Not for Our Own Glory

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3
If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else. Galatians 6:3-4
When we do something great, we enjoy the applause more than we’d like to admit. I think it’s ok to feel good when we’re praised, but we have to be careful how we respond. When someone gushes over us, it becomes all too easy to start thinking too highly of ourselves. We start to believe that the great things we do (or the great way we look) define us and make us great people, we may even view ourselves as better than others in comparison. As Christians, we know how important it is to be humble, but regretfully, we sometimes let those prideful thoughts take hold anyway. How easily we forget that everything we are and every good thing we do is a gift from God. So instead of expecting attention from others, we should be expressing our gratitude to God for what He has given us. He deserves the glory, not us!  The basis of our self-worth is our identity in Christ.  Only in Him are we valuable and capable of doing great things. Therefore, we shouldn’t need to look to others for approval or comparison, for we will always have a source of joy within us.  When we evaluate ourselves by worldly standards, talents, achievements, learning, rank, wealth, looks, etc., we tend to think too much of our worth in the eyes of others, and miss our true value in God’s eyes.  Instead, we should evaluate our worth based on our Christian character; that’s all that really matters, after all. Does our devotion to Christ show in all that we think, do and say?  If so, then we can take pride in that, being careful to remain humble.
Prayer: Dearest God, forgive us for the times we think too highly of ourselves. Help us as we learn to be your humble servants. And thank you so much for the many gifts you have given us. May we always strive to use them for your glory and not our own. Amen
Sharon Irvin (reprinted for the Eastridge Daily Devotion Book, published in 2008)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


“I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”  Genesis 22:17-18

But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28

And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 2 John 1:6

Sometimes obedience doesn’t look the way we may think.

Years ago, I volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels in the small town in which I was living. One house on the route stood out on this bitterly cold winter day. It was tiny, basically a shack. Paper-thin walls, windows frosted over with no insulation. The elderly woman living in it kept warm with a wood-burning stove or something similar, I can’t recall. I do recall thinking: this woman can’t be comfortable here. It’s too cold. This seems unsafe.

As the day went on, I thought more about her. As evening approached and it became even colder, I felt a nagging sense of unease, thinking about her circumstances.

I thought I needed to check on her. I'm not sure what I would’ve found, or what I would’ve done having found it, but I felt called to get in my car and go see her. Never mind that she had probably survived many cold, bitter winter days in her little home…today was the day that I noticed her!

It was so cold.

When I arrived, she was warm, cozy, and pleasantly surprised, maybe even amused, to see me. (Notice that I said SHE was warm and cozy…it still seemed too cold to me.) Feeling a bit foolish for having ventured out to check on someone who was doing just fine, I got in my car and went home, doubting my “message” from God that I was to go check on her. Even though my visit felt unnecessary, I was, however, glad to see that she seemed comfortable.

In our Pauses for Pentecost study (a word a day), one day’s word was: Listen. The author refers to a biblical scholar who had studied over 1,500 Biblical references and came to the conclusion that God’s biggest complaint is when we don’t listen. When I shared this story with my Bible study group, they assured me that I WAS obedient. The way they saw it, I was following God’s call…it didn’t matter that I didn’t swoop in to “save the day”, I was simply doing as God had asked. Maybe, they argued, I was called to simply let this elderly woman know that someone cared.

Prayer: Dear Lord, sometimes it’s hard to know what you’d like us to do. Sometimes it’s crystal clear. Help us to listen to your voice so that we can discern your will. Forgive us when we miss it. Help us to understand that sometimes it’s the small moments of obedience that add up to a life lived serving you. Amen.
Donna Gustafson

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NASB)

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Non-Game

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Honor your father and your mother. Exodus 20:12

Nebraska is a unique place. Our football team, after being used to winning nine games a season and having five national championships, lost their first six games in 2018. Yet, our coach is humble, the fans are patient, show signs of kindness and self-control and are faithful for sure. Ninety thousand showed up for the seventh game.

The players won that game and doused our first-year coach with Gatorade after the win. At the post-game interview on television the coach said he didn’t deserve that honor from the team because they just won one game. I know what he meant. When the tennis boys doused me after winning the conference championship, I was elated. We had earned it.

The football games in Nebraska unite us all in one. It doesn’t matter if the whole country is divided in politics, when we gather at Memorial Stadium, we are one. I have a new mission statement for our family-We are all Separate but we are One. My son and his wife turned fifty this October and I offered them a trip somewhere to celebrate together. Guess what, they chose coming to Nebraska. We were able to get tickets for eight of us to go to the game that was never played. Yes, lightning, which no human can control, stopped the game. Did that ruin the night for us? No, not one bit. We had gathered together as a family; sixteen of us had a great time. The memories of running to the car in the rain, not having seen a game and meeting the rest of the family that had watched it NOT happen on TV will be a lasting memory for us.

The highlight for my sister’s family, after her daughter and family traveled to Lincoln to be together and attend a Nebraska football game, was to see our new coach win the seventh game. As mothers, we found joy in having our families together. It does not take the win to feel the true Spirit and love of family.

Prayer: Oh Lord, God of all, thank you for giving us all these wonderful things which are against no laws. Thank you for our families and the joy we have being together, mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Amen.

Sandra Hilsabeck

Friday, November 2, 2018

Claiming the Tree of Life

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.  Psalm 1:1-3

Many of us have been in grief and horrified by the shooting at the Tree of Life Synogogue in Pittsburgh on October 27th.  A friend and I attended a memorial service at Tifereth Israel Synogogue in Lincoln. It was reassuring in the midst of this tragedy that so many from many faith traditions were in attendance at this memorial service. It was a united voice – a concert of voices that would agree that hate has no home in this community or elsewhere in the United States. 

One point made a profound impression on me: the Tree of Life as portrayed in Psalm 1. It is descriptive of those who walk in the way of the Lord – who meditate on the Law of God --- God’s Word every day and night. They are like a tree planted by streams of water. That tree is a tree of life that bears fruit and will prosper. My encouragement is that we find the solace of this fruit bearing tree – of God’s Word – God’s Spirit Who ministers not only to this community, but more so, to the Pittsburgh community and to those directly impacted by this tragedy. Yes, God cries with us and we with each other. God is with us in this  as Emmanuel – God with us in Jesus Christ. May we find comfort, strength, and a voice that has the courage to say, “No more!”

Prayer: Most gracious God, keep us nurtured and strengthened through Him Who is our Vine and we are His branches. Fortify us with Your Spirit. May we bring words and deeds of life to a world that is so encumbered by death. Let this day be a day for living in the name of Him Who is the Resurrection and the Life, Jesus Christ. Amen
Rev. Dr. John Duling

Thursday, November 1, 2018


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Today is here! Start with a smile and resolve to be agreeable. Do not criticize. Refuse to waste valuable time.

Today has one thing that is equal with everyone—time. We will draw the same salary in seconds, minutes and hours.

Today-do not waste time, because the minutes wasted yesterday are as lost as a vanished thought.

Today-refuse to spend time worrying about what might happen. Spend time making things happen.

Today-refuse to spend time worrying about what might happen, Spend time making things happen.

Today-be determined to improve yourself for tomorrow you may be wanted, you must not be found lacking.

Today-be determined to do things you should do. Determine to stop doing the things you should not do.

Today-Begin by doing and not wasting time. In one week you will be miles beyond the person you are today.

Today-Stop saying” If I had time for you will never find time for anything—if you want time you must “take” it.

Today- Do not imagine what you would do if things were different. They are not different. Make success with what material you have.

Today-act toward other people as this might be your last day on earth.

Do not wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come.

Prayer: O God be with us as we begin another day. May we look upon this day as another day of opportunity. We thank you, that your love is not measured by an inventory of our progress, but in Christ Jesus, his life, death and resurrection. Sustain us all with your strength and love. Amen

Delbert Olmsted (reprinted from the Eastridge Daily Devotional, published in 2008)