January 29

When the Jewish people were starving in the middle of the desert in desperate need of food and water, they called upon God for hope. God gave them hope. He have them manna from heaven, and water from a rock. God did not lead them to starve; he led them to the promised land of milk, honey and water. However, they quickly forgot God. The Jewish people thought it was they who worked so hard to get there. As soon as they settled in, life went on as normal, with little thanks to God

In your life, when you get a surprise promotion, you may think "wow I've earned this, I've worked hard all year". And that may be true. But also remind yourself of the higher power that protected you from harm all year. Remember to be thankful to God for the job that you have, the family that you may have supporting you, and the country of countless opportunities that you live in. Remember God when you get a good job. Remember God when you lose a good job. Remember God when you've had the same job for the past 5 years. Everything that happens to you is a gift from God.


January 27

A new heart? How does God use ‘grace’ to change our hearts? As we begin the month of February and hearts, explore how grace has changed your heart. How has God made your heart stronger, healthier, more forgiving, tender, open, and loving?

God provides opportunities for us to change our actions and apologize. He shows us ways to change behavior. He will always love us even in our moments of deep regret. He remains steadfast as we realize HIS direction is best.

Check your pulse… Don’t skip a beat…


January 23

Everywhere I turn in this new year, the word relationship seems to pop up. The magazine headline at the grocery wants to know what kind of relationship I have with my husband. The television news anchor talks about France’s struggles to be in relationship with its Muslim population. Amazon boasts an endless array of self-help books with relationship in the title.
At home, my daughter works to do all the right things to build a loving relationship with her young son who, in turn, is learning the skills to be in peaceful relationship with his peers at daycare. Personally, I struggle to find common ground in my relationship with a new neighbor who is pushing the boundaries of our property lines in his desire to expand his home.
According to, relationship is the way in which two or more people or things are connected. But, relationship struggles seem to be everywhere. We know that God loves us and created us to be in relationship with Him through our love and faith. He wants us to open our hearts to Him and to trust Him to get us through each day. It is our connection with Him that forms the foundation for all of our other relationships.
If we connect more strongly with God and then bring Him into our other relationships, wouldn’t they be stronger, too?

The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3


January 21

"Your hand will guide me and your strength will support me." Psalm 139:10

January is a hard month. You would think the beginning of the new year would have us relaxed and ready to take on new challenges and goals. But the busyness of this new year, the coldness of the weather, along with the demands put upon us by others and ourselves, we start another year with stress directing our path. Lord, why do we not put our trust in you?

Lord, help us to begin each day asking for your guidance to direct our day.  Help us to fully rely on you. Give us guidance and nudge us when we stray. Help us to remember you are our strength and to hold out our hand and reach for you to direct our paths.


January 19

  I recently came across a Facebook posting with the subject as an open letter to the Church about why people are leaving it. After reading that post, the two things that struck me were: 1) it seems that the Church is attempting to imitate the world’s standards, in which style means everything and substance means nothing; and 2) even if the local small-c church is willing to embrace its roots and mission, there’s a great deal of inertia in the big-c church to overcome in order to get the change going.
            People, as a rule, just don’t like change. I know; I’m one of them. But change happens all throughout the Bible. For example, the story of Peter just before he meets the Roman Cornelius in Acts 10. He has three visions, the upshot of which is that the Gospel is for everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike, and not just for a certain group of people.
            That was a big change for Peter, who had grown up as a Jew, and whose feelings for Gentiles were at best a form of mild contempt. Yet despite his initial resistance, he allowed himself to feel the change and to embrace the message of love to all. To rework the old saying, “God said it; I believe it; that settles it,” I think the message we should all be heeding is, as author Barbara Johnson said, “God said it; I believe it; that settles it…but God may be trying something new here, so I think I should listen to this.”
            The Gospel is for all of us. The question is not, “Who are the people chosen to receive the Gospel?” The question is, “How can we spread this knowledge to others…and make it real to everyone?” In other words, let’s not just say it…let’s do it, too.

 Lord, help us to remember and practice the saying of St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” We know we need to do it and not just say it. Grant us the courage and wisdom to do just that. Amen.


January 17

I usually try to remain pretty upbeat, but I seem to be attending a lot of funerals lately.  It is hard to be optimistic in the cold and dark of winter, standing in the midst of those mourning a loved one.

Gracious God, be with all those who mourn this day.  Help us to know that you welcome your children into your presence and to find comfort in that knowledge.  Grant us comfort and peace and the strength to live from day to day so that we can experience joy in living.  In the name of him who knows our grief, Jesus Christ, Amen.


January 15

Someone mentioned to me that this year is the "future" in the movie, "Back to the Future".  How can that be?  Didn't that movie just come out?  I'm kidding; I know the movie came out long ago.  But, it does seem astounding that we have now arrived into the future that seemed so far away at that time.  Time- such a malleable force.  A day can seem to last forever, but at the end, it seems to have slipped away in a moment.

Lord, please help me to be fully present in each moment.  Help me to really live in the time I am given, instead of longing for the past or anticipating the future.  Help me to savor the gift of now, which you have given.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


January 13

My kids like to play with my computer's desktop background.  They are much better and quicker at it than I am, so I will request certain pictures or images.  I get bored with the background and ask them to switch it to new images, for example, close ups of flowers or woodland pathways.  They do a wonderful job, but they add little surprises for me.  I will be busy with something while images of beautiful oceans fade in and out, then suddenly my screen is filled with the image of their latest favorite movie character, or a cartoon.  Because these are backgrounds, it may take me a few days to notice.  They wait patiently, enjoying the moment when I discover their surprise.  It is a fun and loving connection.

I think that God does the same with us.  God fills creation and our lives with delightful surprises and enjoys our joy as we encounter them.  But, just like me and the backgrounds, we can get busy or distracted with other things and miss those delightful surprises, sometimes for a long time.

Lord God, you are ever patient and kind.  Please help us to notice the beauty and delightful surprises that await us if we only take a moment to pay attention.  Thank you for creating a world of wonder and filling it with people who can surprise us with generosity and joy.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


January 11

Another day of thinking about how to organize my schedule around the weather!  After all these years of dealing with weather in the winter months, I should probably not feel so frustrated about it. Inconveniences, interruptions, and other little things can loom so large sometimes!

Patient Lord, please help me to rely on you to keep me on an even keel.  Help me to see the true meanings in life and not to be overwhelmed by the little things.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


January 9

      A positive way to begin the new year is to try to give thanks in all circumstances including situations that irritate us. It is a real challenge, but I believe it is worth working on this concept. Complaining about situations that are irritating, such as standing in long lines when shopping, sitting in beltway traffic, being interrupted when working on a project, etc. is not helpful to anyone. God can use these situations to teach us and others certain lessons. Responding in a positive way to frustrating situations shows others how Christ wants us to live and treat others. Through prayer and reading God's word, we can see God working in these situations. Then we are able to give thanks in these situations.

Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's
will in Christ Jesus.     I Thessalonians  5:14


January 7


     I was a bit stunned to hear that Pope Francis recently gave an address to the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in which he urges them to confess their “sins” in today’s language.  He mentions “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, excessive activity, gossip and chatter, a “funeral face”, hoarding, and money and power among other diseases and temptations which also endanger every Christian.  

    The pope goes on to say that the same God who “is born in poverty in a cave in Bethlehem to teach us the power of humility was welcomed not by the chosen people but by the poor and simple.”  He went on to say that those in the church cannot live without having a “vital, personal, authentic and solid relationship with Christ.” 

    These are inspiring and challenging words which point to the spiritual underpinnings of every Christian and every church.  We sometimes say that “church is a business”.  That is true, however it is much more than just a business.  It is to be a sign of the presence, promise and power of God in the world.  The church is the potential for good where goodness is in short supply. It is the hope of new life in Christ in the midst of despair.   

    We can sometimes feel deflated when the actuality of any organization including the church does not appear as advertised.  We can become disappointed or even disgusted at what is occasionally done in Christ’s name.  We need not get stuck there!

     I find it refreshing the the pope is calling for confession by church leaders. Confession offers a way to get back to the basics of our faith. And confession is good for the soul. Why not find some time in these first days of 2015 to confess whatever keeps you from the joy of Christ?  What do you feel moved to confess as this new year dawns?   


January 5

First Task of the New Year

It seems the first task for this new year is to clean up -- taking down the Christmas tree and the Christmas decorations; collecting the recyclable boxes and paper from the giving season and getting it in the proper places; and vacuuming up the pet hair and holiday crumbs.  It's a sad time.  But it can be a refreshing time to begin again.  My grandson suggested we move the furniture around, so we did.  Its a new look with our old stuff -- feels good because its different.

What else can we clean up?  Is there something in our daily living that has gone stale and needs to be freshened up?  Maybe there is a program or project you have been putting off and now is a good time to see if it will fit into your life.

There are a lot of ways you can include God in your new year:  besides personal prayer, have you considered a mission project?  Is there a soup kitchen that could use your help?  Is there something at church you'd like to try?  Would you like to walk pets at your local pet shelter?  Maybe you can join your local volunteer fire department's auxiliary?  You may check into your local elementary school to see if you can read to children.  Is there someone or something in God's world that needs you, or better yet, you need?

Let's pray for each other that we not only clean up, but get a fresh start in God's awesome world this year!


January 3

Every new year starts with noise---fireworks,  shouts wishing each and all a “happy new year”, parties that celebrate the turning of the page  on the calendar like at no other time of year!  Among us all is this welling up of the  desire that the new year will be at least as good as the last, if, indeed, the last was a reasonably good one for us; and even more powerful, the hope that the new year  will be better for us than the old one if it was difficult and unsettling.

            But amid all the noise, perhaps most helpful are the moments of silent reflection on how we have been sustained and guided through the old year and that the new year will not be good by chance or wish, but because of the presence of God.  No wiser thought or action can mark our beginning of a new year than this admonition from Psalm 46:10—“Be still and know that I am God.” In doing that, we embark on a blessed new year.  We begin our year 2015 as the Psalmist began this Psalm—with the foundational thought that “God is our refuge and strength.”