Friday Psalm 31:9-16

Prayer:  Gracious Lord, your Word inspires me to serve you more, in Christ. Amen.

The time of your life

15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

In the mornings, for the last week or so, I have been observing two crows building a nest in the Live Oak tree across the creek from my home. This tree was severely emaciated in last year’s hurricane. So, what was once a symmetrical tree, now looks lopsided. Why did the crows pick that tree?  There are better looking trees, bigger, and with more leaves and branches.

Anyway, the nest building has been long and arduous.  I don’t have time to watch them all day, but every morning they are flying by with twigs and little sticks. How routine and monotonous it must be to take so long to build a nest. Especially without hands.  Our devotion writer mentions how boring it can be to attend meetings and listening to minor complaints.  He would rather be hiking in the mountains or lounging on the beach.  TV programs and commercials show people loving life as they camp and hike or run on the beaches. It makes one jealous.

But today’s psalm speaks to real problems. It is about real risks of life, grief, being hated and his life threatened. In the face of a life of distress, the psalmist has a lot to deal with. Our devotion writer writes; “He is not facing traffic jams, annoying coworkers, long lines at the grocery store, or any of thousand small headaches we face daily. No, he is overwhelmed by the scorn, betrayal, scheming, and opposition of the people around him, friend and foe alike. The psalmist’s one hope is in God, who…holds each of his moments and days with steadfast love.”

14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”

Prayer: “Great Lord of love, hold me in your steadfast love today. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.”


Psalm 31:9-16

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;     my eye wastes away from grief,     my soul and body also. 10 For my life is spent with sorrow,     and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery,     and my bones waste away.

11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,     a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances;     those who see me in the street flee from me. 12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;     I have become like a broken vessel. 13 For I hear the whispering of many—     terror all around!— as they scheme together against me,     as they plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O Lord;     I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand;     deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 16 Let your face shine upon your servant;     save me in your steadfast love.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thursday Isaiah 50:4-9a

Prayer: Let your Word speak, O Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sustaining the weary

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.

The words of Isaiah are reminding me of the life of Jesus. It is also reminiscent of how Jesus was shown about human life and what it means to be weary and persecuted.

Our devotion writer tells it well; “We cannot give away what we do not have. Jesus learned through his short human life what it means to be weary—to encounter resistance, misunderstanding, faithless friends, and determined adversaries. He knew the heaviness of meeting endless human need and the exhaustion of spending oneself to meet that need. Jesus had ‘the tongue of those who are taught’ from life’s hard experiences, so that he could ‘sustain the weary with a word.’”

Are you feeling worn down and weary? Jesus, knows the feeling.  Turn to Him for help.  He will help you through it and help you up.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, I come to you with all my weariness. Hold me, help me, and sustain me this day. In your name I pray. Amen.”


Isaiah 50:4-9

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication

The Lord God has given me     the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain     the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens—     wakens my ear     to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear,     and I was not rebellious,     I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me,     and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face     from insult and spitting.

The Lord God helps me;     therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint,     and I know that I shall not be put to shame;     he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me?     Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries?     Let them confront me. It is the Lord God who helps me;     who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment;     the moth will eat them up.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wednesday Mark 10:32-34, 46-52

Prayer: Lord Jesus, let your Word be my guide. Amen.

Being present

49 Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.”

Sometimes, I am not listening. Like our devotion writer, I can get so involved in something that when others, loved ones even, try to talk to me, I am not exactly hearing them. Sometimes it is hard to put aside our own agendas for the sake of another.

Look at Jesus in today’s text. He is on His way to torture and the cross. He must be consumed with thoughts about what is in store. He has tried to tell His disciples, but they don’t get it. In verses 35-40 James and John try to get Jesus’ favor, but He has to tell them again that what they want cannot be given and what they do get will be unpleasant. This caused angry exchanges among the disciples.  What Jesus really didn’t need at this time.

Then they come across Blind Bartimaeus.  When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by, he had to call out to Him. He had heard about what Jesus had done for others.  Jesus stopped and amongst all that He was dealing with, He listens to this blind man and takes the time to heal him.

52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Our devotion writer reminds us; “Miracles can still happen when we stop and carefully pay attention to the people we meet along lift’s way.”

Prayer: “Dear God, save us from fixation on our agendas and send your Spirit to lead us to freely give ourselves to those in need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”


Mark 10:32-52

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

A Third Time Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; 34 they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”

The Request of James and John

35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41 When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42 So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus

46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tuesday John 12:34-50

Prayer: O God, let your light shine from your Word through me, in Christ’s name. Amen.

Blinded by the light

46 I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.

Our devotion writer tells about getting up on the middle of the night and turning on the patio light and seeing a raccoon clinging to the birdfeeder. When the raccoon saw the light, he ran away into the darkness.  I can relate to that as I have had similar encounters.  We all know that raccoons are creatures who typically we do not see during the day and should be careful of getting close to them in the daylight. Sometimes they are sick, or desperate.

In today’s text, Jesus tells us that He is the light. That the light He brings is a gift and shows us the way. So we can be “Children of the Light.”  Our devotion writer explains that this light can be startling; “Why? Jesus’ presence banishes the darkness around us.  His light reveals our thoughts and actions, and we are reminded of our sin. Jesus’ light also reveals his mercy and his grace:”

I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. (v. 47)

With Jesus’ light we not only see more clearly right and wrong and see a path to follow as He leads the way.

Prayer: “Light of the world, forgive my sins and let me live this day as a child of the light. Amen.”


John 12:34-50

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

34 The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”

The Unbelief of the People

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. 37 Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

“Lord, who has believed our message,     and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

39 And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,

40 “He has blinded their eyes     and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes,     and understand with their heart and turn—     and I would heal them.”

41 Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. 42 Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.

Summary of Jesus’ Teaching

44 Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47 I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, 49 for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a

Prayer: Guide us, O God, through your Word, in Christ. Amen.

Joseph, Guardian of Jesus

21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

How would you think if you were Joseph? Your fiancé became pregnant and you were certainly not possibly the father?  Then in a dream you are asked to overlook it? Your human wisdom would see cause to raise doubts.  Well, Joseph was bothered by the news, but he did what the angel told him.  Our devotion writer declares; “Joseph’s faithful obedience in a situation ripe for skepticism, not unlike Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel, helped to make possible God’s plan of salvation for a broken and sinful world.”

Most of us don’t have visits by angels sent to guide us through difficult situations and decisions. We try to live lives faithfully and obey what the Bible and God’s Spirit tells us, but we often get in our own way because our own wisdom is faulty.  This is why we make the effort to worship, read the Bible daily, spend time in prayer and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

We can all thank Jesus for taking our sins upon Himself. It makes our guilt less painful.

Prayer: “O Savior, precious Savior, help me prove faithful today as I seek to follow you. In your holy name I pray. Amen.”


Matthew 1:16-24

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,     and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunday John 12:20-33

Prayer: Gracious God, I am humbled by your Word and the love you have shown through it. Thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Fifth Sunday in Lent

21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

It is believed that Jesus had just recently entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as this scene takes place. Jesus was causing quite a stir among the people.  The Greeks, or also called Gentiles, were curious and many of them followed the Jewish beliefs but were not Jews.  Since it was Passover week, there were crowds of visitors.

This was also very disturbing for the Jewish leaders. People were still thinking that Jesus was the Messiah, but the fact that he rode in on a donkey was not encouraging those who expected a political leader. Jesus couldn’t be the kind of king they were looking for and that meant trouble. Something would have to be done to stop Jesus.

So, Jesus began teaching about what was to come and what it would mean for those who wanted to follow Him.  He also tells about what was to happen to Him and the dread that He felt, but He knew that He had to go forward.  He also knew that many who would follow Him would be subject to suffering in similar ways, but their reward would not be in this world.

25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Prayer: “Grant, O Lord Jesus, that we may be Spirit-filled and follow you this day, laying down our lives for those in need. Amen.”


John 12:20-33

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Some Greeks Wish to See Jesus

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

Jesus Speaks about His Death

27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Saturday Hebrews 5:5-10

Prayer: O God, my sins are great and your love is greater. Guide me by your Word, in Christ. Amen.

Love and suffering

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;

There are a lot of mysteries in God’s methods and plans. In today’s text we read about thy mystery of how Jesus became God’s Son and His appointment as High Priest to intercede for us for our eternal salvation.

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

Our devotion writer explains; “Our relationship with God is a mystery too, with both gift and grit. That we belong to God is sheer gift. But in becoming all that God intends for us as the body of Christ, there is also grit—hurt, heartache, struggle, and suffering.”

As we walk towards the cross in this season of Lent, we remember the pain of our sins and the pain of our Lord who has paid the highest price for our salvation. We discover once again that we are hopelessly condemned without the power of God’s love that flows in us and through us.

Prayer: “God of mystery, as we remember the suffering of your Son for our sake, remind us of your love for us. We pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”


Hebrews 5:5-10

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

“You are my Son,     today I have begotten you”;

as he says also in another place,

“You are a priest forever,     according to the order of Melchizedek.”

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment