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

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Golden Rule

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

Envision a Denver baseball stadium, a threatening sky, the first inning just completed, some 30,000 fans. The players are called back from the field, fans in the uncovered stands are told to get under cover, and the grounds crew covers the infield. The rains came, the hail, the wind - to me a beautiful storm!

As time went on a stadium usher offered me her chair. I gladly took it. Then a dilemma. A young lady was standing near me - fine! She is young. Oh, oh, she has on a large leg cast. She walked forward and sat in the pouring rain. The only decent thing to do was to offer her my chair.

As sure as we receive a benefit, an opportunity arises to give a benefit to another. Should we keep score? That is not our assignment!

As the storm abated, a glorious red ball of a setting sun appeared in a mountain valley to the west. Thus endeth the day.

Prayer: Our Father, let us welcome opportunities to do for others. Let us also accept acts of kindness from others without guilt, for as it is written: "This sums up the Law and the Prophets." Amen.

Harold Edwards (reprinted from the Eastridge Daily Devotion Book, published in 2008)

Harold Edwards 1926-2019

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Good Servant of Christ Jesus

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4: 4-16

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

My Personal Image of Jesus

Jeremiah 29:13 “When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.”

When I was a child, my mother hung a picture of Jesus standing by a heavy wooden door with a little lamb cradled in his arms. I would sit on the back of the sofa so I could look Jesus in the eye, and talk to him. I told him everything and I had complete confidence that he heard me and understood how I felt. I had three brothers who often didn’t want to play with me and being a farm family other children were not close. So I made Jesus my best friend. However, my father was hurt in a farm accident and we sold the farm and moved to Salida, Colorado. Here father healed and after four years we moved to a ranch in southeastern Colorado. It was twenty-five miles to town so at the age of 13, I again felt alone. My oldest brother started dating a Baptist girl who took him to church each Sunday. Mother insisted that he take his siblings, too. The Jesus I met at the Baptist church was very stern and had very strict rules to follow if one were to ever see heaven. Then graduation came and I was off to college. I left the Baptist Jesus behind and did not attend any church. After college, I accepted a job at the hospital where I had trained as a Med Tech. There I met Noel who was serving a year-long internship with the hospital chaplain. The Jesus Noel worshiped was like the Jesus I knew as a child, warm and loving. However, it took almost ten years for my image of Jesus to become a reality.  That happened when I finally understood the role of the Holy Spirit. I believe that Jesus was born human but he always knew God had called him to be the person who would bring about God’s new covenant with mankind, i.e. he was to be the sacrificial lamb, without sin, who that would offer himself to God for the sins of each of us. Yes, I see Jesus as the person who died so that when I die I will take a seat behind Him and enjoy his fellowship forever. I see Jesus as my traveling companion through life. Jesus is the father who kept me safe as a child and the mother who taught me the meaning of life and how to live it. I am his willing servant.

Prayer: Thank you for giving us a “thirst” for you and setting us on our journey to claim the prize you made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We recognize that the prize of salvation and companionship was given at a great cost we cannot repay even if required of us. We know and willingly accept our responsibilities as your children. Help us to remain committed to this relationship throughout life. When we stray bring us back for the only life we want is a life shared with you. Amen.

Noel and Jane DeKalb (reprinted from the 2017 Eastridge Lenten Devotional)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

God with Us

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

During Advent, we received an art creation symbolizing “God with us.” That depiction still remains on our dinette table. It is as meaningful today during Lent as it was during Advent. 

During the season of Lent, we focus on prayer and reflection of our relationship with God and others.  As we seek a closer walk with God and a deeper spiritual life, we realize how we are connected to other Christians. We connect through our church family, community, and throughout the world. Through all times – those filled with joy, sad ones, as well as scary ones, we know that God is with us.

I recall one of my former pastors telling the story of driving himself to the emergency room at a hospital. As the medical team determined he was having a heart attack, Pastor Tom recited Romans 8:38-39 printed above. A nurse told Pastor Tom she was amazed at how calm he was.

We celebrate the hope and joy that is ours when we remember that God is always with us.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your assurance that you will walk with us in all our days. Show us how to grow in our spiritual lives during this time of Lent. Amen.

Lois Poppe
(click on artwork to view larger)  

Monday, March 25, 2019

Acts 10

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:34-43

Friday, March 22, 2019

Nebraska Nice

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13. 

The snow pack related flooding this spring has been an overwhelming and often heartbreaking event for many Nebraskans. If you have turned on the television or picked up the newspaper in the last week there are countless stories – farmers who have lost equipment, animals and loved ones, retirees who researched and planned and bought land outside of the marked flood plains only to lose everything, first responders and law enforcement officials who have stayed in evacuated communities to take care of animals left behind and communicate with state and national disaster response teams. 

Over the weekend our house was abuzz with what kinds of things we can do to help. With local agencies collecting “essential” items (toilet paper, bottled water and canned food), the American Red Cross providing temporary shelter, and Lincoln’s Search and Rescue Squad working as part of the evacuation team it can be hard to think of other things that can be done.  Certainly we can pray for those affected.  We can give to local and worldwide organizations that will be available for help, like our own Presbyterian Disaster Relief Fund.  We can limit our water use, to make sure that those keeping our water clean can recover from the damages associated with the flooding, and also for the increased demand for these neighboring “refugees” who have arrived in Lincoln and other cities that have been less impacted by the flooding.  And we can put on our Nebraska Nice and make offers to those we know who have been directly impacted.      

I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave my home under an evacuation order. I can’t imagine staying in a hotel or a shelter and waiting to hear that I can return to see what is left. I can’t imagine what it is like to think about all that has been lost, a home full of memories, livestock that ranchers rely on for income, family members who were unable to get out, schools and libraries that families and communities rely on, and churches, that will now need to take their funds and invest them into re-building. There are so many challenges created by the unexpected disasters in our world. 

Prayer: All knowing God, please be with those who are distraught and afraid during this time of disaster. Help us to see the things that we can share with others and encourage our hospitality to provide for those we know who have lost things we cannot imagine and strangers who are in need of so much.  Amen.    

Christi Moock

Thursday, March 21, 2019


The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18

There are times I feel so sad and sorry for myself. Thinking of all the things I think are wrong with me, things I don’t have, people I have lost and the feeling of grief become overwhelming. I hate to admit it, but then I see a story or meet a person with so much more missing in their lives and I start to see all the blessings in my life. I have read many times that if you constantly think of the negative it is all you will see. Suggestions have been: write down something you are thankful for each day; list at least one thing no matter how minor you think it may be but thankful you have it or them in your life.

It seems so simple but everyone has those thoughts. It is not that you have them, I think it’s more how you deal with those thoughts. Either writing down your blessings, helping someone else, talking it over, however you deal with it; the most important part is to pray. Pray for others and pray for the things you are blessed with and pray that you count your blessings, pray for the comfort when you do feel overwhelmed. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the many blessings that I have. Thank you for carrying me through those times when I cannot see those gifts you have given me. Guide me to be there for others when they can’t see the light into your love. Forgive me when I stray away from your love and guidance.  Amen

Lori Hood

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.  The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 28:1-12a

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Goodbye Stale Prayers

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  (New Oxford Bible)

While driving to an appointment, I was listening to the Bott (Christian) radio network. The pastor was teaching on the topic of prayer. He caught my attention when he asked the following two questions: 1) “Are your prayers becoming stale”? 2) “Do you find yourself praying for the same things and using the same words over and over”? 

If the answer was yes, he suggested we try praying the scriptures. I wasn’t sure I wanted to listen anymore as that idea had been introduced to me several years ago and after trying it for a week or so I went back to praying in my own words. Somehow praying scripture made me feel I had lost the intimacy I feel when talking to God in my own words.

However, the next morning, I decided to give it a try. I did as the pastor suggested and prayed from the book of Psalms because as he said the whole book of Psalms is a book of praise. I started with Psalm 23 because the words are familiar and I am comfortable saying them.

After I prayed the first line: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” I stopped. Then in my own words I praised Jesus for shepherding me through a difficult time. I moved on to the next sentence: “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters; he restores my soul.” Then I thanked Him for the necessities of life especially a home in which to find solace.

With each line of the 23rd Psalm, I found that I could stop and add my own words of praise, thanks or petition. This was definitely a new way for me to pray. It allowed me to maintain that closeness that I had missed in my previous attempts to pray the scriptures.

My long range plan is to choose each morning one of the many names there are for Jesus and the scripture describing that name, i.e., Shepherd, Light of the World, Savior, etc. Now I’ve said good-bye to stale, repetitive prayers.

If you find that your prayers have become stale and repetitive, perhaps praying the scriptures would be of help to you, too.

Prayer: Father, we praise you for the beautiful words in the Holy Bible, and we thank you for hearing our prayers in whatever words we say them when they come from our hearts. In your Son Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

Judy Welch (reprinted from the 2017 Eastridge Lenten Devotional)

Monday, March 18, 2019


“Here is what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace…The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (Matthew 6:6,21 – The Message Bible)
My husband’s favorite place is on a mountain top, whether hiking in Colorado or skiing in the U.S. or Europe. I copied the verse Pastor John Duling used in his devotion on March 12, 2019 above. Not having skied before I met Bryce at 50 years old, I tried it with his encouragement. I had climbed a small mountain or two by Estes Park, but had never been on a tall mountain, especially in winter with everything white all around. Wintertime on a mountain is spectacular beauty almost beyond human comprehension.
John is right, the silence on the top is momentous and transformative. I learned to love the tops all over Colorado, Canada, Spain, France and Switzerland. I would think of God each time I arrived on top by lift or gondola. And I thanked Bryce for the new experiences.
The book of Ezekiel keeps mentioning the high places where Judah and others worshipped. Many worshipped idols there. Pastor Thomas Dummermuth mentioned that in Bible times, before airplanes, many thought the earth met heaven on the mountaintops.
The ark came to rest on the mountain in Genesis. Psalm 36:6 says righteousness is like the mighty mountain and Psalm 98.8 says let the mountains sing together for joy. (I felt joy each time on top). Isaiah 55:12 says the mountains and hills will burst into song. Jesus was transfigured there, probably leading to more belief heaven met the top of the mountain. Much of Jesus’ ministry was on the mountainside.
My granddaughter was sleeping when we entered between the mountains at Estes Park one time. She was eight years old and had not seen the mountains. She awoke, looked out the window, and said, “What is that, where are we?” You can imagine her thoughts. She was blown away.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the mountaintops and for all the places where we can focus on you, feel your power and sense your grace, and be in the place where your treasure is. Help us to find our quiet places daily where we are remembering the mountain tops. Amen
Sandra Hilsabeck (photos below shared by Sandra)

Friday, March 15, 2019


Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No!” Jesus replied, “seventy times seven!”

Many years ago as I was walking the halls of the Sunday School rooms, I saw a large piece of paper on the wall. A class had written the word “forgive” on the sheet seventy times seven. The paper remained on the wall for many years and it caught my eye whenever I passed by. I hope it caught the eyes of others that passed by. Did Jesus mean that we should keep track of how many times we should forgive anyone? I think he meant we should forgive anyone who sins against us, no matter how many times. We need to remember to never stop forgiving others. Keep that word, forgive in your head. You will have a new lease on life when you forgive others.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, help us to never stop forgiving others in our life, no matter how many times they sin against us. Amen.

Susan Taylor (reprinted from the 2017 Lenten Devotional)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Fill Me with Awe

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 3: 3-4
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1: 14-18

My favorite moment of 2018 occurred in Yellowstone National Park on a very dark night a little after midnight, with two of my favorite people – my husband and my son. We were standing alone in silence in the chilly night along a river after everyone else was sleeping. The Milky Way and about a gazillion stars were visible. Mitchell and Jon were taking photographs, but I was just watching the stars. I haven’t seen the Milky Way in decades, and there it was, center stage in a purple sky. I was speechless and amazed to the point of tears at this gift from God. It was awesome to be in such a place with such a view. And then another awesome thing happened. My 27-year old son hugged me and said, “Thanks for giving me the love of this, and the chance to see it”, and that added to the awesome-ness of a night that will stand alone in my memories. 

I’m afraid that in our modern society, so little brings about awe for us. With all the amazing things we see created in media, the special effects of technology, and the miracles of medicine, we are immune to awe. Everything seems possible at the hand of mankind. With this lack of wonder, how often do we miss the opportunity to thank God for the work of creating the world, the beauty of our world, the miracles that happen every day, and the beauty of relationships? How often do we pass up the chance to give thanks, to worship the God who created all the beauty and awesome-ness we encounter? How often do we fail to be speechless in wonder? How often do we miss the opportunity to share the wonder at a moment with others and add to their wonder?

In spite of all that mankind can accomplish “on our own”, we need to stop and give thanks for the knowledge we have, the technology that has allowed “miracles” and beauty and connections. We need to pause as we applaud ourselves and our world for things God has made possible, and we need to step back and marvel at the beauty of our world.
Prayer: God, sometimes we barely miss a beat at a miracle of technology or medicine that would have astounded people just a generation ago. We have become so self-sufficient that we fail to give thanks, and in our self-sufficiency, we fail to give you the glory. Even a resurrection isn’t as impressive as it once was. Slow our thinking, increase our awareness, and fill us with a wonder and worship of You; our Creator and our Savior.
Lori Snyder-Sloan (reprinted with permission)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wait Before Speaking

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 ESV
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6 ESV  

This week was a week for anger. Or, this week was a week for impatience leading to anger. Or, this week was a week that frustrations led to impatience, which led to anger. I think I wanted to blame it all on the weather. In any case, I let my mood(s) get the better of me a couple of times. Here were the situations:

Following a blizzard, my family and I (and all of Lincoln) was anxiously awaiting the snowplows on our residential streets. The residential parking ban was in effect, and my two adult children who park in the street were aware of this.

My son came home from being snowed in another state to the east, and arrived home to quickly take a shower and head into work. His car was in the path of the snowplow, heading down our street not five minutes after his arrival. Yes, I was angry. Angry that my son didn't pull his car into the driveway briefly as I had suggested. In fact, I felt like a caricature of anger, red face and steam blowing out of my ears. However, since my son was in the shower I had a few minutes to calm down.

Later, my husband put down ice melt in an area that my pets walk in and I was tempted to loudly voice my disapproval. However, it was early morning, no one else was awake, and as time passed, I calmed down.

In both instances, I was given the gift of time (inadvertently). We’re not always so lucky…in most cases, we need to stop and think before speaking.

Today’s devotion from the First 5 app was titled “When Words Fly” and started off with this prayer: “O Lord, guard my mouth, help me to see the significance of quiet, deliberate, unhurried words.” The author went on to use this scripture: Proverbs 29:20 (ESV) "Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him." She also offers this in her commentary: “In a world that glorifies fast talkers and biting comebacks, this can seem countercultural. Our society rarely values silence and slowness. Yet the Bible tells us to be "slow to speak [and] slow to anger" (James 1:19); and “To think before we speak … this is how we look like Jesus.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, when I’m quick to become angry, help me to stop, take a deep breath, and not use harsh words. Help me remember that kind words are always welcome, and speaking out in anger does not solve problems, or make me feel better. Remind me that I can turn to you for peace, instead of lashing out. Be with those for whom anger is an ongoing issue. Amen.
Donna Gustafson

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A Lenten Devotion

“Here is what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.  Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.  The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace…The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (Matthew 6:6;21 – The Message Bible)

I was finishing at Seminary and had a summer free to travel before I would begin my internship in San Diego.  I would be ordained the summer of the next year as associate pastor of the same church.  Meanwhile, the summer vacation was at hand.  

I decided to go to Canada – Jasper and Banff National Parks.  It was a trip of a life time and transformative in many ways. Perhaps the most awesome moment was when I was in Jasper National Park.  I came to a place where a Gondola/Lift would transport people from a Visitor’s Center up the mountain – from 8 thousand feet to 12 thousand feet.  Once we got off the Lift, we could walk up another 2 thousand feet to a 360* vista which saw all over the Canadian Rockies.  If that wasn’t awesome enough, another thing struck me immediately – Silence.  I walked a further distance so I could relish the sight and silence.  I just sat down on a rock with the mountains all around me and complete silence in prayer. I would sing a praise song and recall scriptures – psalms of praise and scriptures of creation. It was momentous and transformative!

I share that experience and the scripture from Matthew 6 for two reasons – 1) A place where you and I are close to God; and 2) an expansive heart.  Consider these two points this Lenten Season. 

First, a place where you are close to God need not be a mountain top, but could be your favorite chair in the living room or den.  It could be a place of refuge at Camp Calvin Crest.  Wherever that place is, is where most want to be and end up being.  Claim that space for God during and long after Lent.

Second, pray that God will use this Lenten Season as a time to expand your heart – as if it were a 360* panorama. Where in your heart are you finding a searching question – a hunger of love and compassion for another? Lent has been stereotypically a season of giving up something. Well, why not make room in your heart for Lent? Pray God to expand your heart of affection and compassion with a vista of grace seen though the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ Whose grace expands to eternity.
Prayer: Lord God, let me find my peace and silence in You this Lenten Season.Open my eyes to the vistas of Your grace in Jesus Christ so that my heart may expand to the never-ending vista of love through Jesus Christ.  Amen.
Rev. Dr. John J. Duling, Parish Associate

Monday, March 11, 2019

Deepening Prayer and Relationship

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18 

The details are long forgotten, but the words of John 3:16 have been memorized in my head and heart since middle school. In Marion, Ohio I visited the church of my best friend since elementary school, Kathy, and all of the youth that day learned this verse. 

The second verse, one of my favorites, I see every day on the mirror in our bathroom. I am trying to talk to God more each day, trying to see his wonders all around me, if only I would stop and take time for Him.  My daily living would be so much more fulfilling and less stressful if I would be in communion with God continually. I want to learn how to discern God’s will and really listen for his voice; to be still instead of continuing my own words in prayer; and most importantly to deepen my daily personal relationship with Him.  That is my Lenten focus this year.

Prayer: Dear Father, forgive me for neglecting spending time with you. I use my busyness as an excuse. But as the patient and loving Father you are, you wait for me and I am truly thankful. The precious gift of your Son allows me this personal relationship with you and I so want our relationship to deepen and grow ever since my own baptism and memorizing John 3:16 many years ago. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. [Psalm 51:10]  Amen.

Cathy Schapmann (from Lenten Devotional 2017)

Friday, March 8, 2019

Prayer Requested

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to Rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Watching “Gran Torino” gave us an unsteady feeling about gangs. The papers and other media sources show gangs in near cities and around our country. We regularly thank God for the safety we feel here in Lincoln.

Praying for our friends, other people we know, and for specified prayer requests come easily for us because we know that God can do all things. We have even learned to accept “No” for an answer; but have had many prayers answered. My neighborhood Bible Study has lists of answered prayer.

Because of turmoil and divisiveness in our country, we pray often for our government leaders to make wise choices. However, this verse reminds us we need to pray for other governments too. I have prayed for other nations’ people to have food, clothing and shelter; but I don’t regularly pray for other countries' rulers to rule well. Let’s do it.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, please intervene in the countries where rulers are hurting their people with their desire for power. We give these rulers over to you and know you will judge them with your great wisdom. Please remove those who will not lead with your guidance and put your qualified rulers in their place for the good of their people. Amen.

Sandra Hilsabeck 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Desperation on a Friday

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. Proverbs 19:17  

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35  

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7  

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 1 John 3:17 

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4

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  

It’s a Friday afternoon, and it’s quiet in the church office. I’m the only staff member present, and I’m finishing tasks, thinking ahead to the weekend. Perhaps I’m wondering where my family and I may head for dinner that evening…or thinking ahead to the coffee I’ll enjoy Saturday morning while reading. In any case, as most Monday through Friday folks can attest, by the end of the day Friday most of us are ready for the weekend.

In the Eastridge office, we field calls from Eastridge Food Pantry clients, people wanting “gas vouchers”, people asking if we’ll help them pay their rent or help them with the electric bill. Requests other than Food Pantry calls are not frequent, and most of the time those calling are thankful for the assistance of our Food Pantry. However, some situations are different…some calls more desperate.

When a call comes in from someone desperate for help, it just feels different on a Friday.

I’m not sure why. Is it because I’m thinking ahead to the enjoyment of the weekend, and someone’s misfortune doesn’t quite fit? Is it because I know that this person may need to wait for Monday before help of any sort arrives, and I feel guilty because I don’t share those problems? Is it because, for me, weekends mean rest and relaxation, but for some, the hardships they face daily don’t take a break on the weekend? In fact, if it’s a family with children, it may be harder to feed everyone when the students in the household can’t enjoy a daily school lunch.

For some reason, when desperate people phone the church on Fridays, it feels different to me than if it occurs on a Monday, or any other weekday.

Is gratefulness enough? Should I hang up the phone and say a quick prayer: thank you, God, that my life doesn’t include asking for this kind of help…?

Maybe on a Friday, the above thoughts come together to make me realize: this desperate person on the phone could be me. I could be sitting in my house on a Friday afternoon with no heat, no lights, no air conditioning. I could be the one with half a loaf of bread left on the pantry shelf.

When I searched for scripture regarding helping those in need, over 100 verses were listed (some of which I included above). However, there’s no one answer to helping others. God wants us to notice them and reach out in whatever way we can. Thankfully, I can offer a food box to anyone who calls asking the church for financial assistance. Eastridge supports many entities locally and globally that give to those in need. However, sometimes those calling the office want more than I (Eastridge) can offer, and, instead of being able to give them what they want, maybe just a kind word, a sympathetic ear will help in some way. We underestimate the power of kind words and deeds. Can we offer God’s love to them? Absolutely, every time.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to notice those in need, every day of the week. Encourage us to help when we can, and offer a kind word, a smile, and loving support when we can’t offer monetary assistance. Remind us to be thankful for what you’ve blessed us with, every day of the week. Amen.

Donna Gustafson

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Multitasking and Minimalism

“Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which can not be taken away from her.”” Luke 10:38-42 

And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for ones life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15

In the Biblical scripture of Mary and Martha, listed above, someone suggested that Martha might have been multitasking. Do you identify with Mary or Martha or both? We worry about all the items on our “To Do List.”  I considered multitasking as a recent idea. But in the Lincoln Community Playhouse portraying of Erma Bombeck - At Wits End, she mentioned “Doing Two Things at Once.”

It isn’t easy for me to multitask. I don’t think I get more done when I try to multitask. It can even be dangerous as in driving and talking on a cell phone or texting.

Perhaps being a minimalist is the way to go. When we live intentionally, we are not distracted by the world and what it values. We are called to be focused on our purpose, on God, and on the people in our lives. When we focus on what really matters, we reduce stress and simplify our lives.

Jordan Lee Dooley states, “God always has a bigger purpose for us than we have for ourselves.”

(Quote from ”Purpose, Breaking Through Insecurities, Expectations and the Pressure to Prove.”)

Prayer: God, we ask you to guide us as we seek to simplify our lives. Help us to discern your purpose for us. Amen.   

Lois Poppe

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


I was asked if snow appeared in the Bible. I couldn’t think of a single incident, so I decided to look it up. Here are some instances. However, I do not see where snow is a problem for the people of the Bible. Snow must have fallen in Bible times because the people seemed to understand what “White as Snow” meant. I did not see an incidence where snow was used by God like rain or hail to warn or punish people as in Noah’s time or storms used in Ezekiel.

Since we are setting records this winter and could set one for the most snow in a winter in Nebraska, I thought we should see what the Bible says about snow. One report said that we have had more snow already than we have had in the last sixty winters.

Exodus 4:6 

Again, the Lord said to Moses, “Put your hand inside your coat.” So, Moses put his hand inside his coat. When he took his hand out, his hand had a skin disease flaky like snow.

Psalm 51:7 

 Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean;
    wash me and I will be whiter than snow.

Isaiah 1:18 

Come now, and let’s settle this,
    says the Lord.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they will be white as snow.
If they are red as crimson,
    they will become like wool.

Matthew 28:1-3 

 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb.  Look, there was a great earthquake, for an angel from the Lord came down from heaven. Coming to the stone, he rolled it away and sat on it. Now his face was like lightning and his clothes as white as snow.

Proverbs 31:21 

She doesn’t fear for her household when it snows,
    because they are all dressed in warm clothes.

Proverbs 26:1 

 Like snow in the summer or rain at harvest,
    so honor isn’t appropriate for a fool.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, please be with all the folks, including Pastor Melodie, who have suffered from the slick ice and snow this winter. Thank you for healing power that you have built into our bodies. Thank you that you are consistent, and we can believe the warmth of spring will come in 2019. Amen.

Sandra Hilsabeck

Monday, March 4, 2019


Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

When growing up I was always amazed at my Dad’s knowledge of things most wouldn’t even think of checking.  If we came home from being gone, my Dad would sometimes comment, “looks like someone has been at our place.” He explained when asked, “look at the tracks in driveway“.  He could tell this any season, wasn’t just in the winter. He could usually tell you right down to the type of vehicle they drove.  He could spot something out of place instantly from a quick glance around the farm; and he wasn’t the type to have everything in its place, either.  He could tell by the change in weeds, grass, tree branches usually what they had done if they did anything beyond drive in and out.  “Looks like they must of ran out gas”; and that’s before he checked tanks.  I learned a lot from his skills.  And then recently I drove into my driveway and thought to myself “hmm, looks like someone had been in my driveway “. 

In life we need to remember the tracks we are leaving in our path of life.  The Father knows where you have gone, what you have done. 

Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, watch over us as we go through our journey in this life.  Help us to leave tracks of Peace, Hope and Love.  Amen

Lori Hood

Friday, March 1, 2019

The New Covenant

Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was put into action at Jesus’ death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, canceling the old obligations and accompanying sins, and summoning the heirs to receive the eternal inheritance that was promised them. He brought together God and his people in this new way.  Hebrews 9:16-17 (The Message).

A will is defined as "a legal declaration of a person's wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property or estate after death; especially : a written instrument legally executed by which a person makes disposition of his or her estate to take effect after death."  Merriam Webster Dictionary.

In the legal system, there are a number of laws regulating wills and trusts. All of them are intended to govern what happens to our money and property after we die. It’s unfortunate but somewhat common for families to fight about the wishes of one of their loved ones. We’ve heard the stories. There may be children disputing their parents' wills or more distant relatives attempting to get a share of an estate. We may not know how the parties got along previously, but it seems pretty clear that they probably won't be having family get-togethers when the matter is resolved.

A will is a covenant-- an agreement or promise between two or more parties.  Jesus Christ made a covenant with us that he would die on the cross for us so that we might have eternal life. As the passage from Hebrews states, Jesus' death put our covenant with him into action. Through him, we are forgiven.  Can you imagine filing a lawsuit to make sure the covenant is followed?  We need to ensure that we are carrying out our part of the agreement, so that we can receive the eternal inheritance promised by Jesus. 

Prayer: Dear God, Your son, Jesus Christ, sacrificed himself for us, and brought us closer to you. We pray you will help us to always remember the covenant.  Thank you for sacrificing your son for our benefit. Amen.

Robin Hadfield