March 29

We are living as Easter people!!  The old has passed away and the new has come!   This isn't only true about how we will spend eternity, but it is also true about our lives now.  I am amazed at how events in our lives can seem at first to be terrible, but turn out to be blessings.  Pain that we have experienced can later be a source of renewal and new life.  The cycle of "things" dying and new life arising repeats throughout our lives.  Isn't it joyous how much God can do?!

Almighty Savior, thank you for dying and rising that we might have life.  Help us to claim that life today and every day.  Fill us with your Spirit. Amen.


March 27

                       Happy Easter….Christ is risen!
On Easter morning, our church alter displays a host of Easter lilies. These sweet offerings remind us of God’s blessing for each of us. Tradition associates the blooming of the flower where Christ’s sweat fell to the ground while on the cross. We too are like the Easter lily, leaving the darkness behind and blooming in the way of Christ. Give your darkness of struggles, challenges, and fears to our savior and rejoice in hope everlasting. Look upward to Christ, ask for his presence and grow in the light. Blessed are the Easter lilies!

Easter morn with lilies fair
Fills the church with perfumes rare,
As their clouds of incense rise,
Sweetest offerings to the skies.
Stately lilies pure and white
Flooding darkness with their light,
Bloom and sorrow drifts away,
On this holy hallow’d day.
Easter Lilies bending low
in the golden afterglow,
Bear a message from the sod
To the heavenly towers of God.

             -Louise Lewin Matthews

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March 25

“”If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you… If they persecute me, they will persecute you… but they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” (John 15:18-21).


March 23

Dear Father,
I know that the most important thing about me is the way I think. My thoughts affect the way I see and understand everything.

Is there anything You want me to rethink today?

So many forces in the world compete to form my thoughts. I hardly know what to believe and where to find the truth.
The magazine in the grocery store checkout line wants me to think that my husband will probably have an affair if I don’t lose 10 pounds. The advertisement on television wants me to think that I am a bad mom if I don’t feed my children a certain brand of peanut butter. An unhappy friend wants me to think that I am a thoughtless person because I couldn’t fill her emptiness.

These confusing thoughts leave me uncertain. They affect how I approach Your Word and how I filter Scriptures to make them more comfortable. These thoughts affect how I interact with You.

Help me, Father, to change my world view and my religious paradigms so that I might truly understand Your Kingdom. Help me to change my thinking so that I will know You better and become the person You created me to be.

What do You want me to rethink today?



March 21

I received an evaluation for an event which I recently attended and it made me pause.  How often do I evaluate what I do?  I tend to review what I have done or said, usually I'm hard on myself in the process.  But, do I evaluate?  Do I clearly try to find good as well as not so good in what I have done, or in what others have done?  It is so easy to tear down.  It is also easy to build up, but sometimes we go straight for what needs improvement, instead of celebrating what is wonderful already.

Gracious and loving God. please help us to see the good in who we are and what we do, the good in who others are and in what they do.  Help us to build one another up with encouragement and love. In Jesus' name, Amen.


March 19


            Once upon a time, a woodworker brought several pieces of wood into his workshop. He left them there as he went off to design his latest project. All the tools were eager to get to work on the new project. The one who was most eager was the sandpaper. He was rough and tough and ready to take on the wood. He also was not shy about letting the other tools know that he was rough and tough. Among the tools, he was somewhat of a bully.
            Sandpaper bragged about how much he was going to rough up those new pieces of wood. Just let the woodworker come back and pick him up. Then he would show them all how tough he was!
            Eventually, the woodworker did come back, and he used his tools with all the skill he had acquired over many years of experience. Finally, it came time for Sandpaper’s turn at the wood. Just as he said he would do, he roughed up the wood, and he took great delight in using his grit to wear down the wood.
            As time went on, though, Sandpaper noticed he was having less and less of an effect on the wood than he had when he started out. He was losing his edge, and no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t keep it up anymore.
            Finally, the woodworker knew that Sandpaper had lost his effectiveness, and that all he was good for now was the trashcan. Too late, Sandpaper realized that he would be long gone, and the other tools would still be working away on the next project. All his bragging had gotten him a one-way ticket to the garbage. As for the wood, it became a smooth, beautiful rocking horse for the woodworker’s grandchildren, something to be treasured and loved.
            To look at this tale another way, we are like those pieces of wood, God is the woodworker, and the sandpaper represents troubles – people or incidents – in our lives. God never promised us that we would be trouble-free for the rest of our lives, but He can use those troublesome things to shape us for the better.

            In other words, we can look on our past troubles as sandpaper. Though it may not seem like it at first, if we let God use it, the sandpaper will eventually be worn down and discarded, and we will end up smooth and polished, yet another masterpiece in His gallery of creation.


March 17

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Gracious and mysterious God, You are the creator and sustainer of all things.  You know all that has been, is, or ever will be.  As you held a young Patrick in your protection as he tended the Irish flocks, hold us in your protection- even when it seems that we are all alone.  As you directed Patrick to leave and be trained for your service, help us to discern and follow your leading.  As  you strengthened the ministry of Patrick, returned to bring Christ to his former captors, help us to be strong in love toward all those we meet.  In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.


March 15

So, today, I felt like: Help, I'm drowning!!

"Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus.  But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened.  As he began to sink, he shouted, 'Lord, rescue me!' Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying, 'You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?' When they got into the boat, the wind settled down."        Matthew 14: 29b- 32


March 13

We are quickly approaching Holy Week.  Next Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday, when we begin our observance of this, the holiest and most profound seasons of the Christian year.  The church in which I grew up usually observed Palm Sunday, not adding the Passion to the worship.  We waved palms and sang joyous songs.  We heard the scripture of Jesus riding humbly into Jerusalem and what a juxtaposition that was for the Messiah.  We didn't hear about the Passion part of the story.  We would hear those scriptures read and preached on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  And we did.  We went to church on those days and experienced the sorrow and pain of betrayal and death.  Easter seemed the sweeter and more joyful because we had lived again those sad stories.  Jesus' death and resurrection flowed over several days.  We had time to absorb the roller coaster of emotions that are contained in Holy Week.

Almighty God, your love fills us with awe.  You gave yourself  for us out the the abundance of your love.  We thank you and praise you.  Amen.


March 11

Thank you, Lord, for putting other people into my life, particularly those who challenge me.  I may be uncomfortable, but I learn a great deal about myself, about the world, and about God.  I am kept humble by the realization that my view of the world is so limited and can be so different from the views of others.  We are all experiencing the same moment, but we experience it in much different ways.

Gracious Lord, help me to be open to the opinions and hearts of those around me.  Help those others to be open to me.  May we all be open to learning more about you and about how you want us to live our lives.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


March 9

Learning to trust in God is not easy, and actually it can be quite challenging.
The disciples were continually having experiences where they had to choose
between faith and fear. One example is when they were out in their boat on the
Sea of Galilee, and a storm arose. They were very frightened, then Christ appeared.
Peter wanted Jesus to verify that it was Him, so he asked Jesus to help him walk on
the water. Peter was able to walk on the water, while he was focusing on Christ. When
he lost his focus on Christ and let his fears take over, Peter began to sink. When we face
difficult circumstances, do we choose to give in to our fears or step out in faith?
The more times we choose to step out in faith and trust God, the stronger our faith

Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will
strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

  Isaiah 41:10  (NLT)  


March 7

When I walk my dog, I sometimes feel handicapped by my lack of ability to smell what he smells.  He knows about our neighborhood in a far different way than I do.  He pulls toward a certain spot next to the neighbor's mailbox and gets excited, spending what seems to me an inordinate amount of time sniffing the ground.  To my eyes, there is nothing much there.  To his nose, something amazing left traces in the area.  There is so much more in the universe than I could ever know, see, smell, touch, or comprehend.  God is the creator of an immensely complex world!

My plans aren't your plans, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my plans than your plans."  -Isaiah 55:8-9


March 5

Martha and Mary
of Bethany

In the Lent Devotional our church is reading this Lent, Faithful Facts for Lent by Paul L. Maier, today and tomorrow's personalities from the Bible are Martha and Mary.  These two women have grabbed my attention for years.  

Rev. Nancy Nedwell, when she was the associate pastor of our church, taught the Wednesday Morning Bible Study and spent a half year on the Gospel of John.  Before I participated in this class, my favorite gospel writer was Luke.  He was a physician, a regular guy who was educated in the everyday, non-religious, world.  Luke describes Jesus and the issues around Jesus in ways I could relate and understand.  I could research Luke's details and find them in historical writings outside the Bible - making the Bible more real to me.  Nancy introduced me to John.  She gave us the definitions of his words as they were defined when John wrote them.  By the end of the session, I concluded that Jesus and Mary of Bethany loved each other - have you heard the saying, "loved her so much, worth dying for?" well, I could feel that in John's writing.  It's this kind of love that Jesus has for us, too.  And, I believe, Mary felt that compassion from Jesus.

Martha wanted her sister to help her prepare food and serve the guests at their house.  But when Jesus was their guest, Mary spent the visit sitting on the floor at Jesus' feet, listening with complete attention.  Even though Martha complained, I think she knew.  She loved Jesus, too, but it was different.  She had the gift of serving and hospitality.

I wonder what happened to the siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany after Jesus ascended to heaven?


March 3

            I’ve always liked the verse of the psalm that declares “…the Lord God is a sun and a shield” (Psalms 84:11). But a recent week’s series of encounters with the qualities of the sun gave new depth to that passage.
There were in that week bright, sunny days—the kind of winter days I love when the sky is blue, the air crisp, the temperature sharp but not frigid!  It seems on those days like the sun is what makes it all work to make you feel good. Then there were several days of rain—wet, dreary, no sun shining on you with sparkling rays.  They were  the kind of days when you knew that behind  the heavy clouds and pelting rain there was a sun that was impossible to see, but that very knowledge kept you going. Then one day that week it got abysmally foggy—you could scarcely see more than a few feet ahead of you.  The one comfort was that you knew that you could not see even that far were it not  the sun beyond all that fog, emitting light of such intensity that some got through and you could at least see to move forward with caution, and in time that same sun’s heat would burn off the fog.

It all gave profound meaning to the psalmist’s declaration that God is like the sun.  God’s love and light make cold and hot days alike alive with zest. And on those days when troubles and perils make for stormy, even fearful living, it is the fact that the things that imperil us like a torrential rain are not greater than the light and promise of God’s loving providence.  And when we can’t see through the fog of moral confusion, God is still the light that enables us to see far enough to keep going, and we know that, at last, that light will overcome the fog we can’t resolve.

Give thanks that God is so-o-o like the sun and more! His light never fails.