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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Heal This Nation

The foolish shall not stand in thy sight; thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Psalm 5:5 The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Psalm 53:1

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

“Build Your Kingdom here, Heal This Nation, Win This Nation Back” are the words of a song we sang at an Eastridge service a couple of weeks ago. 

When I was a kid, we were able to do Christmas programs in our public school. When I go to my granddaughter’s seasonal programs, something dear to me is missing. Her teacher has been a member at our church, and I have seen the children sing songs directed by her in our church. The children shout out with joy about our Lord Jesus’s birth.

It doesn’t matter how she has the kids moving, singing, and playing musical instruments at their public school, they don’t have the same excitement and joy as when they sing the plain old songs “Jesus Loves Me” or “The Bible Tells me So.” Maybe this is because I am a Christian and I love these songs. But there is more to this.

We have let others remove our faith from where our children learn. The foolish have grown more numerous. Lawyers and judges have been outlawing God in our culture. Many children no longer know the Founding Fathers of our nation built our country on a faith in God. Our Constitution guarantees our right to worship God at work…and school.

“In God We Trust” is written over the southern entrance of the U.S. Capitol. “Praise be to God” is inscribed in the capstone of the Washington Monument. The Ten Commandments are engraved in bronze on the floor of the National Archives, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are displayed. They are also on the outside of our Supreme Court.

Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive us for turning away from You. Give our leaders strength to stand up and bring You back up into our culture. Help us to follow the Constitution and bring You back into our and our children’s daily lives. We know, Lord, that You can give us the strength to heal our nation, win this nation for You and build your kingdom around us. Please help us be a part of building up Your kingdom here. Amen.

Sandra Hilsabeck

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Thank You to Eastridge Volunteers

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:42

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Matthew 10:8

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:35-40

And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Luke 3:10-11

Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:33-34

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…” John 15:12

After reading through the scriptures above (my online search was: “scripture about helping others”), my thoughts about this devotion started to change. Instead of only writing it as a thank you to those of you who step up to volunteer in many ways here at church, I thought I’d also include (prompted by Luke 12:33-34) some insights from the Crossbound Lenten study that my Wednesday morning bible study did this year.

It’s difficult to imagine giving away ALL our possessions. In our Wednesday group, we’ve discussed how we can follow Christ by giving what we can…whether that’s our time, possessions, and/or financial help to those who need assistance.

I believe God will prompt us when He wants us to step up and do more in whatever situation is in front of us. And I believe that many of our Eastridge members do heed that prompt, and step up to help when we call on you. 

We are thankful for your volunteerism at Eastridge, and couldn’t be in ministry without you!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for volunteers. Remind me to show my appreciation when others reach out to me, my church, and my community. Show me where you would have me shine your light. Amen.

Donna Gustafson

Monday, July 29, 2019

Gloom and Joy

Depressing days put us all in the doldrums. The gloom outside only accentuates our bad mood. The continuing cloudiness is debilitating and puts us in a blue funk, that is not easily dispelled. The joy of one small beam of sunshine through the clouds buoys our spirits beyond measure and makes all of us realize God’s infinite greatness. His presence in that stream of light gives all the earth the lift it must have to grow. Flowers, trees, grass, our very souls need the reassurance of His being, and sunshine seems to exemplify what He means to me. Being outside in all that brightness and life does more for my spirits than all the vitamins the world could produce and gives me such a feeling of love and gratefulness for Him that my joy knows no bounds. I feel like flying. If only I could. Just to look around at all the wonders of the earth, just to be alive and thankful for all he has given me makes me a believer, once more, in His infinite wisdom and grace.

The earth exudes for me an effervescence quality. I want to shout or sing at the top of my lungs to release the exhilaration I feel.  

Prayer: Dear God, I wish there were some way to bottle these days, then pull the cork when we are so down that the tears flow for no reason. Help me to remember these days when gloom and depression take over my heart and mind!  

Elizabeth Evermann (reprinted from the 1972 Eastridge Devotional Book)

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Wonders of Sex

“Where are your visitors? Send them out, so we can have sex with them!” Genesis 19:5 

Death is the punishment for having sex with an animal. Exodus 22:19

Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. Song of Songs 2:7b

Beloved. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-for your love is more delightful than wine. Song of Songs 1:1-2

My lover is mine and I am his: he browses among the lilies. Song of Songs 2:16

The Bible warns against the wrong uses of sex. Our laws are constantly putting people behind bars because of the misuse of sex. The first thirty or so items that come up when you go to Bible Gateway and type in sex, are ones that talk about sex as a sin. Sometimes I wonder, are we teaching our children anything about the Wonders of Sex? Have you seen an article written lately that describes the Wonders of Sex as used by parents in a family?

My parents, in the late 1950’s handed me a book by a popular singer rather than talk to me about sex. I can’t remember anything the book said, good or bad, instructions or restraints, legal or illegal actions of sex. I do remember they were very upset when their friends’ daughter became pregnant and the couple had to get married. Yes, that is what happened when someone got pregnant when I was a teenager. Or, the girl was quietly sent to relatives out of town and the baby was given up for adoption. The topic was not discussed, just gossiped about.

Here, I want to talk about the Wonders of Sex. It brings two people together in a bond within marriage, where it is legal and expected. This bond is greater than any other human bond. The husband and wife feel a closeness that can only be expressed as Solomon does by saying their “Love is more delightful than wine.” Or, Solomon, one of the wisest in the Bible also talks about a woman in love by saying “My lover is mine and I am his.” This feeling of possession of another human is greatly enhanced when it produces children with likenesses of each parent. I want to talk about the wonderful gift God gave us; this is the sex I want to express to all.

Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, please open the dialogue of parents to children so the children will know sex is not bad. Let them know that if they wait until marriage, it is a delight. Thank you, Father, for your wonderful gift because of the way you created us. Amen

Sandra Hilsabeck

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Time to Pray

             I got up early one morning and rushed into the day
          I had so much to accomplish that I didn’t take time to pray.
 Problems tumbling about me and heavier came each task.
          “Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered,
          He answered, “You didn’t ask.”
          I wanted to see joy and beauty
          But the day toiled on gray and black.
          I wondered why God didn’t show me.
          He said, “But you didn’t ask.”
          I tried to come into God’s presence
          I used all the keys at the lock.
          God gently and lovingly chided,
          “My child you didn’t knock.”
          Sometimes I’ve been on the mountain top,
          And pause; before entering the day
          I had so much to accomplish
          That I had to take time to pray.

          The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof
          It speaks of His greatness, it sings of his love,
          Each day at dawning I lift my heart high
          And raise my eyes up to the infinite sky.

R.H. (reprinted from the 1972 Eastridge Devotional Book)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Green Branch

Keep a green branch in your heart,

And a singing bird will come.

I had been intrigued by these lines and while driving into town that day, I tried to enumerate what they meant to me.  A green branch certainly implies alive, growing, pliable, working (doesn’t the green plant convert carbon dioxide into oxygen?), graceful, object of beauty. A singing bird implied uncontained, proclaimed joy. How then do these combine in my heart? Conversely, if I try to clear away the dead wood of prejudice, the harboring of grudges, hurts, disappointments, and the refuse to venture into new situations and responsibilities; if instead I keep the green branch of willingness to reevaluate persons and procedures with an open mind, forgive and forget the unpleasantness of the past, venture into new areas of possible growth with eyes and an awareness of all the blessings which are already ours to enjoy; to meaningful call the Holy Spirit, to convert the disappointments, fears and frustrations with an awareness of all the blessings which are already ours to enjoy; to create meaningful friendships, the glory of sunsets, star studded skies, restored health after illness, savory food, fresh air, the beauty of a single flower, the touch of a loved one, the satisfaction of a job accomplished, the song of a singing bird. 

Elisabeth Knappenberger Elm (reprinted from the 1972 Eastridge Devotional Book)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Do Not Worry

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:22-34

Thursday, July 18, 2019

God’s Presence

I used to think that God lived on a mountain peak. The natural beauty and rugged terrain around Seattle gave evidence of His creation as I hiked along narrow trails, through sun-struck meadows and past spring-fed streams. At the end of a torturous climb, exhausted and giddy in the thin mountain air, I sat on the mountaintop in awe of all that was around me. Far below the forests stretched in all directions, and I could see other mountains thrusting their peaks through the clouds.  All was quiet and the presence of God was everywhere, as I silently thanked Him for helping me over the perilous places and for sharing this beautiful quiet moment.

It was a time to remember for it is not often that we can feel that close to God, and yet, He is always there to help us over the perilous places, if we will only be quiet long enough to listen for His voice, and to seek His guidance in living. It is not necessary to climb a mountain. There are many challenges and problems that face each of us every day, and we can all use a little help in solving them. A confidence and sense of fulfillment can come from realizing that God is always near, His presence ever with us.

Bob Thomson (reprinted from the 1972 Eastridge Devotional Book)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Word from James

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,  whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower.  For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created. James 1:2-18

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


Testimonials don’t come easy for me.  In fact, I’m not sure that I have anything worthwhile to tell you.

Certainly, there has been no experience of sudden Christian revelation in my life. I have never been rescued from impending disaster (as far as I know) by either fate or divine intervention. Oh sure, I’ve faced some tough decisions and even asked for God’s help in making the right choices. But if God helped me choose, he was mighty subtle about it.

Sometimes when I read of the Christian Experience of persons affiliated with physical disease or mental suffering, or murderers who find salvation on death row, or of others who find Christ under conditions of adversity, I’m tempted to believe that God is merely man’s way of handling matters that are too big for him.

But not all Christian experience is dramatic or instantaneous. If we are perceptive enough, we can see persons around us who grow steadily in faith, love and understanding. Their growth would be hard to attribute to personal diligence or intellectual training, but it does occur—and without any definite turning point or spectacular leap.

Certainly, God in his infinite wisdom should not be expected to enter into and affect each of our lives in the same manner.  And which of us has not learned the difference between what we wish or expect and what is best for us? Perhaps the greatest wonder of our wonderful Lord is his willingness to transcend our petty expectations, specifications, and dissatisfactions and to continue to work in our lives. It must sometimes be very tempting for him to give us what we ask. 

Anonymous (reprinted from the 1972 Eastridge Devotional Book)

Monday, July 15, 2019

Amazing Grace

“He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. Ephesians 1:7 New Living Translation

What this bible verse says to me is Grace. Jesus gave up His life to prove to the human race how much we are loved, valued, and chosen by Him. We are His children, his creations, and He gave His very life to save us from ourselves. We are, as humans, destined to be imperfect, flawed, and stray from the love of Christ. When I was at the lowest point of my life, the one thing I looked to for a ray of light, a glimmer of hope, a beacon for guidance, was God’s Grace. Just the words, “God’s Grace” can put a smile on my face, and warm my soul.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending us Your son to save our souls. Thank you for Your Amazing Grace. Help us all to find the light we search for in dark times through Your eternal love. Amen.

Brandi Phillips

Friday, July 12, 2019

Think Deeply – Speak Gently – Love More

“Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in all things.” 
2 Timothy 2:7
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“We love because he first loved us.” I John 4:19

A family member gave me a pair of decorative kitchen towels. Both towels display many butterflies. In addition, one towel’s words remind, “Think deeply” – “Speak gently” – and “Love more”.

“Think deeply” can involve being open to God’s word as we read Scripture. We can meditate on a phrase or a word, and listen for God’s message for us. It can involve being grateful for God’s blessings. We can study Scripture with one or more other persons. “Come, let us reason together.”  Isaiah 1:18.

“Speak gently” – can be hard when we are assaulted with angry words. As a teen-ager, my son served as a youth leader at a church camp. Arriving home after a week, the adult leader who served with him told me, “Your son is a gentle man.” I appreciated the comment. However, I knew my son, being human, was not always able to be a gentle man. II Timothy 24-25a states, “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness.”

“Love more” –  How do we grow in our love for God and others?   “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27. Often we spend our time on unimportant details rather than caring for persons and our world. “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8. 

These simple words “Think deeply” –  “Speak gently” – “Love more” – help me focus on how I can listen for God’s direction. They can help me offer words of encouragement to those I meet along life’s path.

Prayer: God, you know how I am tempted to take the easy way and hurry past people who are searching for God’s love and attention.  Help me to listen for your encouragement. Amen.

Lois Poppe

Thursday, July 11, 2019

“I’m not a robot."

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book! Psalm 139: 13-16 Living Bible

At my part-time job I frequently need to refer to a website for specific information used in my assessment. As the website opens, you are given a choice that says, “I’m not a robot”. Then you have to prove it by checking off pictures of crosswalks, storefronts, stop lights, etc. I suppose technology has reached the point that only thinking humans are allowed to check this website, not robots.

While on my spring birding trip to Texas—Christi and I visited the NASA Center in Houston. There we saw a number of robots busy learning to do specific jobs in preparation for space travel to Mars. Some were just big industrial arms moving things and putting things together, while others were sort of shaped like humans, and were actively participating in problem solving. The uses for artificial intelligence were amazing until we watched a robot learning a new activity –opening a car door. Now we do this simply—however,  the robot was not able to do it even after numerous tries.

I could not help but think of the scripture above. We were wonderfully made to be wonderfully complex. What marvelous workmanship God has given us. Even the smartest of computers and robots cannot do the things we can. Artificial intelligence is the hope for tomorrow, but it can’t easily identify simple pictures that our children excel at.

Prayer: Thank you, God, our creator. Your love for us is evident in all our being. We are not programmed robots, but thinking, breathing, individual beings. Robots may be used to pave the way for astronauts to go to Mars, but the journey will not be complete  until man resides there. We are truly wonderfully made. Amen

Nancy Hall

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


...for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:23

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, and this is smaller than all other seeds; but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches. Matthew 13: 31-32

When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me a necklace with a tiny glass pendant on it. Inside the glass was encased a mustard seed. She told me the parable of the mustard seed and its significance. Whenever I wore it, it sparked many conversations. I remember it often, and think how ironic it is that small things, even children, have endless potential. 

I did not fully come to be in wonder of this until I started following the stages of a young friend who recently became pregnant. Even at a few weeks' pregnancy, with the baby in its most rapid stages of growth, it was merely the size of a sesame seed. Yet in that thing barely visible to the naked eye, is the germ of a human being. 

This spring I planted a number of seeds, and most of them have been larger than sesame seeds; but they have grown into amazing flowering plants that will never be as large as I am. Yet that sesame seed-sized baby will become a fully developed human. (Please do not take any of this as an expression of a political or legal view.)

I believe that size does not matter in God's world. There is no limitation conferred on things in God's eyes. Little and big have no meaning to the God who counts the hairs on our heads or creates the universe. Little things truly do count. Small pleasures, moments of enlightenment, tiny miracles that advance us in our growth; because growth does indeed matter, even when size does not.  

I am fascinated, in the spring and summer, watching the stages of growth in nature. It is encouraging to believe that I am capable of infinitesimal growth during any moment on this earth. That, to me, is what being alive is all about. Seeds and atoms and other minutiae are the building blocks of life in the natural world, and their transformation, by growth or by gathering in community, is revolutionary. The process is exhilarating and powerful.

"For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction."   Cynthia Occelli

Prayer: God in whose hands are many seeds, help us to understand big and small things beyond the condition of their size. Help us to see what matters, and to grow in communion with all the sacred things that flower in your world. Thank you for the miracle and wonder of transformation and growth, and help us to experience those gifts as we grow in the true knowledge of your boundless creation. Become the smallest thing at our center, and the largest thing all around us. Amen.

Mollie Manner

Tuesday, July 9, 2019


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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  John 14:27  

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

I read two devotions in the Upper Room devotional recently, and they put my mind at ease, thinking of the peace that comes when we have anxiety about something. God reminds us that we only need to trust in Him. 

I was thinking specifically of an upcoming wedding photography job that seemed to be more challenging as the big day approached. That day has since passed as I’m writing this, and it did, indeed, go well. But what if it hadn’t? What if something bad had happened, like several blown lightbulbs or an automatic focus acting up? God is STILL with me, helping me to keep my perspective, and affording that peace that only He can give.

Prayer: Dear Lord, if we only trust in you and your sovereignty, we can have peace. Help us to remember this today and always, even when feelings of anxiety try to push that peace aside. Amen.

Donna Gustafson

Monday, July 8, 2019

Field of Weeds

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

The field in front of my house is not really a planted crop but the beauty of it is enchanting. 

There is a mixture of wild plants including large dandelion seedlings, milkweed, lead plant and much of what I am not sure of the names. There are butterflies and little yellow moths flittering over the top from flower to flower. The grasses are so tall that hidden inside you may see a rabbit, skunk or other small animal peek out from inside. Due to the many weather changes and other delays this grass field waits for the farmer to cut. But although it is wild and mostly weeds I find its many colors, textures, and hidden secrets a calming thing of beauty. I think I will feel saddened when it is gone. 

I find the field like the many weeds or non-expectant occurrences in my life that pop up and grow without my planning it, expecting it, or nurturing it can be a thing of beauty and have many hidden blessings. I find some events that happen in my life as a deterrent to what I am trying to accomplish. That people may step in and have demands on my time that I didn’t plan for, financial expenses that I didn’t plan for that cause me stress and delay reaching goals I set for myself. But like that field if I step back and look at the whole picture the beauty of the many blessings I have in my life I would not have if I had not taken the path set before me. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, remind me to step back more often to see the whole picture of my life. Remind me that it’s okay for me not to achieve every goal set in my timeline. Remind me to accept what is set before me and have patience to trust and count my blessings of what I have in my current life instead of always looking in the future.  Amen

Lori Hood

Friday, July 5, 2019

Words from Hebrews on Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. Hebrews 11:1-29

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Inadequate Faith

Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightaway the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.”  Mark 9:23,24

I often pray, wanting to believe, but find that my belief is tempered with “reality” or “reason”. The father referred to in the scripture had watched for years, as his son was tortured with seizures and disability. The demons that plagued the young man caused much physical suffering. We can well imagine that this father had been to countless doctors, tried countless remedies, all to no avail. He must have been told many times that a cure was foolish hope. He was certainly reasonable in believing that nothing could be done. Yet when he was faced with the idea of one more opportunity for help, he cried out immediately that he did believe, yet knew that he could not believe enough. His prayer was an eloquent entreaty to God for belief that was beyond reason. He asked for faith. God healed the son, but perhaps the greater gift was to the father who received hope, assurance, and humility.

Prayer: Powerful God, forgive our inadequate faith. Your mercies to us are without limit. Empower us to give without reservation and to believe in spite of reality. As we receive your gifts to us, let us return the honor and glory to you. Amen.

Deb Kilian (reprinted from August 2012)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I was watching an old movie about believing in God.  It got me thinking about my own upbringing and how the stories of the Bible were taught, how I attended Sunday school, vacation bible school, and the many songs and prayers my parents would recite with us. I read about so many that haven’t been as fortunate to feel the comfort and protection from knowing The Father, Son and The Holy Ghost.  

I can’t imagine not being able to know that there is always someone to talk to, to know whatever happens there is someone by your side and that even if you fail all your sins are forgiven and you shall have eternal life.  

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Lori Hood

Monday, July 1, 2019

Faith and Mystery

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?  They are higher than the heavens above – what can you do?  They are deeper than the depths below – what can you know?  Their measure if longer than the earth and wider than the sea. Job 11:7-9 

There are so many unexpected moments with faith.  Some we can see and feel and enjoy being surprised by, while others come quietly, almost silently, sneaking up on us in a way to make us wonder if we are perceiving them. In April, I took my mom to Houston for the spring “drop down” migration. In the spring, between 300 and 350 different species of birds fly back to the United States from Central and South America and may have to travel an entire day without stopping to get across the ocean. Upon arrival, the birds refuel and prepare for the next leg of their trip. For some this break is a few days and then they are onward to northern destinations. For others, they find a mate and spend the summer in Texas or Florida preparing the next generation to migrate in the fall and return again in the spring. 

We saw thousands of birds, enjoyed the ocean, caught a glimpse of an armadillo and saw the long lasting devastation of hurricanes on the Texas coast. On our second day in Houston we visited the hatchery, a protected wetland space with manmade islands for nesting. The number of birds present was jaw dropping. If you have studied birds and wildlife you may know theories that our modern birds are likely related to dinosaurs and that some species that we see today are reflective of species from 50-60 million years ago. Looking through the sunroof our rental car at the roseate spoonbill in flight definitely felt like being transported back in time.

For me, seeing these birds resting, preparing for travel, knowing their path and following it every year, in spite of all the changes that mankind has made to their environment felt like one of those unexpected faith moments. I knew that we were going to see something amazing and mysterious, but I had no idea that it would feel so magical. These birds migrate every year with the faith that there will be a place for them to rest, food for them to eat and space for them to mate, raise a family and restart the cycle. What a wondrous moment to see God at work.

Prayer: Maker of heaven and earth, thank you for all the opportunities to see and feel you among us. We know that your mysteries are far beyond our understanding and that your limits are immeasurable by human standards. It is amazing to live in the world that you created for us. Please continue to grow my faith and provide surprises and wonder in my human experience.  Amen.      

Christi Moock