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2/19/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 9:1,2. “Jesus got into the boat and went back across the lake to his own town, where some people brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.’”
It takes a lot of faith to entrust yourself totally to someone else. There are times when we have to do this, but we often have some doubt in the back of our mind. We may not be quite sure that the person we’re going to has the answers. This is why we sometimes change our doctor. We have the nagging thought that there might be someone else who can give us better help or advice.
In our Bible verse for today, some people brought a paralyzed man to Jesus so that Jesus would heal him. What was remarkable was that they came with the firm belief that Jesus would heal their friend. There was no doubt in their minds whatsoever. Jesus was impressed by their faith, and he did what no other healer had ever done or had dared to do before. As the Son of God, he addressed the real problem before him and, in healing the man, forgave his sin. These people had come to God, and God had given as only he can give. You do not need to doubt his ability to answer any of your prayers. He even has power over sin.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, increase my faith. Help me to trust you more than anything else. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
2-18-19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 8:18-22. “Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. A scribe then approached and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ Another of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’”
Jesus is aware there will be a cost to his followers if they choose to go with him. It will not be a comfortable journey, and they will have to make sacrifices. We are never told if his two would-be disciples chose to follow Jesus or if they found the price too great.
We have been fortunate to live in a country where Christianity has generally been accepted and not persecuted. However, there are more subtle ways of attacking faith than open persecution. Think of those who use rational arguments to try to disprove the existence of God or those who attack the church as an institution which cares more for its reputation than its members. Even more powerful are snide comments mocking Christians and their beliefs, or the use of social media to seize on anything that could feed the emerging appetite for constant outrage. There may be a price for all of us who love and follow Jesus, but there is great value in living in his love and grace.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, we ask you to help us to bring your love to our life without counting the cost to ourselves but always sharing your care, your love, and your grace for your sake. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
 
 
2/14/19
 
 
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 8:5-13, “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help."Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly." Jesus said to him, "Shall I come and heal him?" The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ And to the centurion, Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And the servant was healed in that hour.
Jesus amazed; by the faith of a man who is not only not Jewish, but a man of great authority. A centurion is a powerful person. His soldiers and servants obey his every word; he is a man well aware of the power of words. He also would appear to be a man of great compassion, deeply concerned about the suffering of his servant, just one of many people under his command. However, all of his authority and compassion cannot heal his servant. The centurion comes to Jesus because his faith in the power of Jesus is so great he believes just one word from Jesus will heal his servant – and his servant is healed at that very moment. Do you have such faith? I hope so, for that type of faith gives you confidence and peace in whatever situation you find yourself, for you know God is ultimately in control.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, may we all feel the power of your word and continue to be amazed by the miracles, large and small, you continue to perform in our lives. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 

 

2/13/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 7:28,29. “When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowd was amazed at the way he taught. He wasn’t like the teachers of the Law; instead, he taught with authority.”
Ours is an age of information overload and time starvation. So fast, so much, so busy, so stressed. Everything’s urgent. Everything’s important, it seems, except you. That’s why Jesus is so surprising. He steps into this world, looks you in the eyes, and touches your heart. He sees deep inside of you, to those needs and fears and feelings you try so hard to ignore. He reveals truths that you cannot find from anyone else.
I have no doubt that you will be surprised by Jesus’ teaching. You will be made uncomfortable by Jesus’ teaching. You will be challenged by Jesus’ teaching. But that is good, Jesus will lead you to the real meaning of life here and eternity.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, it’s so easy to be impressed with everything people can do. But you surprise me with who you are. Let me be like you so that I can find true happiness and peace in this life and the next. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

2/11/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 7:17-20, “A healthy tree bears good fruit, but a poor tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a poor tree cannot bear good fruit. And any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire. So then, you will know the false prophets by what they do.”
 
Jesus wants you to be a ‘good tree,’ producing ‘good fruit.’ That means being kind and generous, patient, forgiving, friendly when you don’t feel like it, reaching out to those no-one else cares about. But it’s hard, especially when you look around you and see the ‘bad trees’ seeming to flourish. Crooks and cheats get ahead. Selfish, greedy people live in comfort and ease. They seem to be the ones who reach the top and take over everything.
Maybe you’ve even felt tempted to give up and live that way too. Don’t. Jesus says a bad tree ‘is cut down and thrown in the fire.’ Instead, follow Jesus, and you will ‘produce good fruit,’ showing the love of Jesus to those you are around.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, sometimes it’s really hard for me to live as you want. I can’t do it without your strength and encouragement. Help me to produce good fruit for you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
 
2/6/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 6:16-18, "And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, so that others cannot know that you are fasting – only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.”
I don’t know how many of you have ever fasted for 24 hours or more to bring attention for a particular cause. I have. Usually, after about 16 hours, I have a grumpy face. Anyone around me knows what I am doing because I let them know that I am grumpy for a good cause. While I will sometimes receive sympathy, I secretly enjoy the pats on the back, and the ‘I don’t know how you do it comments.
Jesus asks for something different. Yes, he wants us to help the poor in whatever way we can. Yes, he wants us to make sacrifices reaching out to others. But he wants it without us making a big deal of things. If it’s just for glory, you’re missing the point. Jesus wants us to act out of love – love for him, and love for people. Selfishness doesn’t get in the way. It’s the same love Jesus offers you. Accept that love, and live that love in your life with a laugh and a smile.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, there are so many people who suffer hunger, while others of us have so much. Help me to live my love for you by humbly serving others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

2/5/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 6: 22.23, “The eyes are like a lamp for the body. If your eyes are sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eyes are no good, your body will be in darkness. So if the light in you is darkness, how terribly dark it will be!”
 
If you live your life without Jesus, you stumble through life in the dark. Sure, maybe for a while you’ll get by. Our society flashes the bright lights of success and sex and security and tries to convince you that’s all you need. Don’t be fooled. Those things won’t save you when real darkness comes into your life, as sometimes it must. When you experience pain, or death, or failure, or you lose love, have your hopes dashed, or your fears realized, in those times of darkness, you want true light. Look to Jesus. He’s always ready to switch on the light in your life and light your way forever.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, I do my best to deal with everything myself, thus I suffer needlessly. Remind me time after time that you are the only light that can help me get through those times of darkness. Thank you for being the light of my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
 
2/3/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 6:7,8. “When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him."
Jesus says, when you pray, keep it simple. Don’t show off. It’s a conversation, so don’t mess around with fancy language; talk to God like you’d talk to a friend. Tell God what’s going on: the things causing you pain, the things that make you happy, the things you’re worried about, the things you’re grateful for. Don’t get caught up with a shopping list of things you want. God knows what you need and has already promised to look after you.
Most important of all, don’t hog the conversation. Be prepared to be quiet and listen. Then you’ll hear God respond to you, personally, in the way that’s right for you at this time in your life.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, I’m sorry for the times I bug you with my big lists of all the things I want. You already handle that. Help me, instead, to chat. And listen. And enjoy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
2/1/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 5:29,30. “So if your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose a part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose one of your limbs than to have your whole body go off to hell.”
 
Jesus is using extreme language here to make a point. The people of Jesus day, just as we know now, knew a body part does not cause that sin. They knew that sin comes from a sinful mind. With these words, Jesus reminds you that you need to cut out whatever it is that leads you into sin. Allowing it to stay in your life will finally take you to hell, where all sin ends up. There is no heavenly future where there is sin. Sin needs to be dealt with, and your Savior himself is ready to perform the surgery.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, give me a clean heart, 0 Lord, and put a new and right spirit within me. When I sin, please forgive me and help me do better. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

1/31/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 5:38-40, “You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too. And if someone takes you to court to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well.”
In today’s society, you’re taught that people are just things to climb over on the way to the top. Generosity is something you quote but avoid if possible. Forgiveness is for the weak, kindness for the naive. If you come second, you’re the first loser. Jesus demands the opposite. He wants you to love, forgive, give even when you don’t feel like it, even when others don’t seem to deserve it. And not just a token, but generously. Jesus doesn’t say it’s easy, but he set the example in what he has done for you. Forgiving you, loving you even if you’ve ignored him, giving you all you need. Join this team, and you’ll be a real winner.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, I can’t help getting frustrated when I keep falling short of your example. It seems hopeless even trying. Please forgive me and help me do better. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
1/30/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 5:19,20. “So then, whoever disobeys even the least important of the commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be least in the Kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys the Law and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the Kingdom of heaven. I tell you, then, that you will be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven only if you are more faithful than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in doing what God requires.”
 
It’s always wrong to break God’s law, and it’s equally wrong to tell others it doesn’t matter. We by nature do not like God’s perfect commands, but that doesn’t give us the right to alter or dismiss them. Remember, God has the final say. God’s laws are good, and they will never be a thing of the past, no matter what people say or do. They show us what we are meant to be and more importantly, how far away from obeying them we are.
Jesus, during his life on earth, became the perfect law-keeper. He was able to do what none of us can’t do, and he did it to perfection. By taking our sins on himself and giving himself as the perfect sacrifice for them, he now has the power to declare you perfect before your heavenly Father. That means you are now living in his perfection. No wonder the Bible calls our God the God of grace.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, your laws show me how sinful I am. Forgive me for being the kind of person I am. Help me to trust in Jesus’ forgiving love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
 
1/29/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 5:23,24. “So if you are about to offer your gift to God at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.”
In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my peace that I give you.” Your God offers you his peace. Right there at the altar, as God’s word is taught, and the Sacraments are given, he makes his peace with you. This is where you come face to face with him who is truly the Prince of Peace, and it is through him and him alone that you have peace with the Father. There is no room here for arguments or an unwillingness to forgive your fellow believer when your God has forgiven you so much.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, help me to forgive as readily as you forgive. Make me a channel of your peace. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
 
1/28/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 5:14-16. “You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead, it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way, your light must shine before people so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.”
Before you know of Jesus, everything you spiritually see is dull and clouded, even though it might not appear that way to you. When you know Jesus as your Savior, his light enables you to see things as they are. Without him, you have no clear picture of yourself as a fallen person in need of help, and you can’t recognize him as the only one who can save your life.
And this is where he brings you into the picture. He says, ‘You are the light for the whole world. I have made you to be like a light. Let your light shine brightly so that others can see too and can praise my Father in heaven.’ Isn’t it amazing what he has empowered you to be?
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, Lord Jesus, give me the courage to let your bright light shine through me so that others can see your power and goodness. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
1/25/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 5:7-9.
Happy are those who are merciful to others;
God will be merciful to them!
Happy are the pure in heart;
they will see God!
Happy are those who work for peace;
God will call them his children!
 
We all want to have a happy life, so we try all kinds of things, many which are harmful in the end. The people of Jesus day also were searching for happiness. Jesus tells them and us today how happiness is achieved. Be compassionate, see good in others, and work for peace. In other words, live like Jesus. Do these things and you will find satisfaction in your life, and this is what produces true happiness.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, I know that true happiness lies in your loving me and my response to that love. Thank you for the happiness you bring me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
1/24/19
 
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 29:1-3:
 
Praise the Lord, you heavenly beings;
praise his glory and power.
Praise the Lord’s glorious name;
bow down before the Holy One when he appears
The voice of the Lord is heard on the seas;
the glorious God thunders,
and his voice echoes over the ocean.
People, even those who don’t believe in God-from the astronomer who studies the heavens to the marine scientist who studies the depths of the sea-marvel at this world of ours and the way it functions. What amazing feats of power and majesty the Lord God displays for us in his creation. We receive wonderful blessings from him every day as he continues to watch over us and keep us safe. Let’s praise him.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, I marvel at the complexity and beauty of your creation. Help me to praise you in everything that I do and say, for you are indeed good and loving to us, as shown by the willing death of Jesus on our behalf. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
1/23/19
Today’s devotion is based on Jesus’ first recorded miracle as it is recorded for us in John 2:6-9. “The Jews have rules about ritual washing, and for this purpose, six stone water jars were there, each one large enough to hold about a hundred liters. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill these jars with water.’ They filled them to the brim, and then he told them, ‘Now draw some water out and take it to the man in charge of the feast.’ They took him the water, which now had turned into wine, and he tasted it.”
The six large stone jars were plain, ordinary and serviceable, yet they performed the important function of providing water for the household. Blessed by Jesus, these vessels became part of something extraordinary. Jesus used them for a miraculous purpose. He turned ordinary water into extraordinary wine.
We are like those stone jars; just plain and ordinary. But, by filling us with the Holy Spirit, God makes us extraordinary. When the Holy Spirit fills our lives, we allow God to use us to do his will. We become vessels of God’s love, living extraordinary lives, sharing the warmth of the Spirit and the joy we have in knowing who we are in Christ. And in doing so, we offer others the taste of the sweetness of God’s love.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, I pray that you use me today to share the warmth of your love and forgiveness in an extraordinary life lived for you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

1/22/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 3:16,17. “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and landing on him. Then a voice said from heaven, ‘This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased.’”
God, the Father in heaven, was pleased. His Son, Jesus, was embarking on an earth-changing event. It was something the Father very much wanted his Son to do, and it had been planned since the fall into sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God was happy to say, ‘This is my Son.’
When you were baptized, your Father in heaven happily said about you, ‘This is my son/daughter.’ Be thankful that you can be the child of such a kind and good Father.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you for claiming as one of your children in my baptism. Keep me in the faith, so that I will live my life in such a way that you are pleased. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
 
1/18/19
Today’s devotion is based on 1 John 5:13-15, “I am writing this to you so that you may know that you have eternal life – you that believe in the Son of God. We have courage in God’s presence because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will. He hears us whenever we ask him; and since we know this is true, we also know that he gives us what we ask from him.”
 
A small child confidently approaches a parent asking for a drink. The child mightn’t even have enough language skills to construct the question, but the parent instinctively knows what is being asked and readily grants the request, knowing that it’s for the child’s good.
In the same way we, as God’s children, can approach our heavenly Father, ‘because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will.’ Even more wonderful is the fact that, since we know and believe that ‘he hears us whenever we ask him’, we also know and are reassured ‘that he gives us what we ask from him.’ What a generous Father! He sees into our hearts and knows our needs, and he is waiting to hear from us.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, you know my heart and my needs, and you provide for me above and beyond what I ask for in my need. Help me to appreciate your loving mercies. Amen.

 

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