Getting Back To What We’ve Been Missing.

Good day friends! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

I pray your Easter was filled with the joy of all that Christ’s resurrection means to those who believe. Throughout April, restrictions have been lifted and things are getting back to a new normal. As I have watched things open up, it has become painfully clear how hurting our churches are and how exhausted those who have served the church throughout the pandemic are. Let’s top up our coffees and I will share what’s on my heart and my prayer for you, me, all of God’s people, and His Church.

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:18-27

Are you starting to fill your time with those activities you have been missing throughout the pandemic? Visiting friends? Having gatherings with family and extended family? Taking vacations? It feels so good to be able to start doing all those things that we have been missing for the past two plus years! However, in all your planning to fill your time, where does your church fit in? 

I’m not talking about just attending worship service once a week, as this should be the greatest priority to the person who believes in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. For how can a part of the body sever itself from the whole body, if in fact they are a part of that body? And no matter where you are at, if you believe that Jesus is your Lord and that through his death and resurrection he opened the door to eternity by paying the debt your sins deserved, then you are an important part of his body. So if you haven’t started getting back into the habit of worshiping regularly, I beg you to start doing so, for your sake and the sake of the rest of the body – your brothers and sisters in Christ. Or if you don’t have a church home, but you say you are a believer in Christ, then you truly need to seek a Christian church home, because a relationship with Christ is not an individual relationship of itself, but exists fully in relationship with God’s people. And if after reading this you have an issue with what I have said, your issue is not with me but between you and the Lord. Take your issue to him and let him answer you.

No, when I ask what you’re filling your time with, I’m talking about the importance of living in the grace and purpose that God, through Christ, has called you. His priority for you in this world is not that you have a nice comfortable life. No, he has blessed you with gifts and abilities for which he desires you to use them to serve him and his body – the church- and, together, sharing Christ with the world. In Christ, you are not your own person. You were bought with a price and have been made new to use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

Yes, each and every one of us is called to serve the church, with the gifts, talents, abilities and, ultimately, our time with which we have been blessed. If the people of the church do not look after the needs of the church, who will? The world won’t. It is up to you and me. Therefore, as you start filling up your time with activities, consider the needs of your church. Christ has called you to take hold of the responsibilities that he has blessed you with and use them for the purpose they were bestowed. It is time to assist those who were dedicated to fulfilling the needs of the church throughout the pandemic. Personally, I know the people in my own congregation that have kept the services and church building operating and meeting pandemic requirements are exhausted. They need a break. They need help. Therefore, prayerfully ask the Lord how he desires to use you within his church, and be willing to act on it when he answers … and he will answer. If every follower in Christ honestly desired to fulfill one need within the church, I am convinced our broken, diminishing churches would experience a revitalization like never before seen since the early church. And each serving member – you and me – will experience joy beyond any vacation we could ever plan or the grandest party we could ever attend. So, let’s get back to what we have been missing and is our life’s purpose in Christ. This is my post-pandemic prayer for Christ’s church, and all Christians.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, you are the head and the whole church is your body; you are the vine and we are the branches; you are the Groom and we are your bride. My life with you is totally integrated with all your people. You instituted the church of which I am automatically a member by my union with you. As things start opening up again and as I start filling my time, please guide me to a need in my church which I am able to meet through the gifts, talents, and abilities with which you have blessed me. Help me joyfully give of my time to serve you. In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

He is Risen! Alleluia!!

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Dear friends, May you believe this with all your heart for there is no greater truth in all the world. Thanks be to God for His great love for us that He would send his Son in our place, to pay the dreadful cost that our sins deserve, conquer our death through His resurrection, and redeem us back to Himself. Rejoice on this day like no other. Glory to you, Lord! Praise to you, our Christ!

A most blessed Easter to you all, my friends!❤️

Planning A Life That Is Truly Life

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself ?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21

If I was left alone with a coffee and my thoughts, I’d have my life planned in one hour, and it would be equipped with good health, the perfect job and income leading to a happy retirement and no debt. I can and have literally wasted time considering the ‘what ifs’ of all the unknown parts of my earthly life.

God created me to be a planner and an organizer. In many ways these skills are blessings. They have helped in raising active busy children, running self employment opportunities, going on vacations and being an efficient multi-tasker. However, I have often reflected on the following questions: When is planning too much planning? When and how am I using the skills of organizing and planning in ungodly ways?

Well, God has been teaching me the answers to these questions. I have been learning first hand that when I try to plan my life and trust in that plan to come to fruition more than trusting God for my future, then that’s a problem. He has been teaching me to be content with the present day; to seek Him in His Word, and lay before Him my thanksgivings, my needs, and the needs of my loved ones each morning for that particular day only. Of course, each day includes doing tasks that are for future activities, but I am learning to let those things fall into their proper time and place, and not letting them consume my thoughts or my time. I have been trying to avoid my desire to drift over to pondering the ‘what ifs’ or the ‘wouldn’t it be great ifs’ more than to plan how to live out the will of the Lord, to seek Him that day. Focusing on the day at hand has truly helped me in avoiding the many distractions that have normally drawn me away and taken up precious minutes of my prayer time.

As Christ shared in the parable above, we never know when our earthly life will end. All my daydreaming and self-centered planning is all for nothing if I am not first seeking the Lord for my life for each and every day. In 1 Timothy, Paul instructs Timothy to tell the children of God – you and me – “to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6: 17b-19) We are first told to put our hope in God, our Father, and he will provide all we need for our enjoyment. It pleases Him to provide for His children as they put their trust and dependency in Him. Then, everything else listed in the passage concerns our behaviour and actions towards others that we will meet or decisions we will need to make that day, which we don’t necessarily know about when we wake up in the morning. Many of them are things that fall across our path throughout the day, like that person to whom we are to do good, and another to whom we are to be generous. These are the things that I am now praying about and asking the Lord to make my mind, heart, and hands ready and willing to be all that He desires me to be for those souls that He will put in my path that day, today, all the while trusting that He is looking after everything else for my good.

Although these prayers, thoughts, and actions may seem contrary to the world’s way of thinking and planning for the future, I am so much more at peace, and I desire to strive to receive and live the life that is truly worth living. So as we walk through each day of April – which will take us through the hallelujahs of Palm Sunday, the pain of Christ’s suffering and death, and the rejoicing of His resurrection – may we all give thanks each day for all that Christ has done on our behalf; paying the penalty of our sin, conquering sin and death, and reuniting us with our Heavenly Father, which allows us to lay ourselves and our lives at His feet trusting in His provisions. May you too trust Him with your life and seek to be His hands, voice, and feet to those He puts in your path every single day, striving to obtain the life that is truly life, now and for eternity.

Prayer: Dear Lord, it is so easy to get caught up in planning out my life and all its events. Please forgive me when I place my planning before seeking Your will for my life, my days. Please forgive me when I deny being generous and doing those good deeds which you planned for me to do. Help me to be your voice, hands, and feet to those you put in my path each day. Dear Lord, I desire to live the life that is truly life; the life that you have planned for me now and for eternity. In Jesus’ name. AMEN!

Lenten Sacrifice: Love One Another

Good day friends! I pray your February was filled with our Lord’s grace and blessing upon you as you sought Him in your life. For the month of March and the first couple weeks of April, the Church will be in the Holy season of Lent. What a beautiful time to reflect on all that Christ has sacrificed for us, and may we attempt to sacrifice as he did. In our current days, may our sacrifice be letting go of our own selves and loving others as Christ loved us.

Please note, for those on the frontlines of battle against an evil, uncalled for war, our prayers are lifted high continuously for your strength, wisdom, and protection. May Christ and his angels be among you all.

Although the situation in Ukraine is unprecedented in our lifetime, and while our own situations are minuscule compared to what they are going through and our hearts ache for them, may you read and reflect on this devotion for your own personal life. Let us top up our coffees as I share what’s been on my heart regarding my personal relationships and this season of Lent.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

If you have been with me through the years, you will know that, after my family, I love my friends. I cherish my friends. Over the past little while, I have experienced many of my friends going through a multitude of things: cancer, heart attacks, kidney failure, accidents, illnesses, breakups, natural disasters, loved ones caught in war, and deaths of loved ones, alongside differing views surrounding all the different components of Covid or other tensions on our municipal, provincial, national, and world stage. In the midst of them all, I am drawn to biblical truths that I have been clinging to as I desire to be whom God needs me to be for each of these precious souls in my life.

The first truth is that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33b) This world we live in is filled with sin and trouble, all people are filled with sin, and I am filled with sin. That I and those I love have troubles and anxieties should be of no surprise to me, to them, to you. Yes, there will always be trouble, sin, and hardships. However, Jesus did not stop with simply acknowledging that the world has its troubles. But, he continued with saying that no matter the difficult times we endure, that he has overcome them. That through his death and resurrection, in Christ we can walk through whatever we are faced with, even death itself because in Christ, even though we die, we will live. So, we need to keep our eyes focussed on Christ and pray for his strength and wisdom to get through each day, for ourselves and for each other.

The second truth is that, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) In these days, there are so many elevated emotions. People struggling with pain and loss, people feeling strongly one way or another about so many different things. We see people lashing out at others, organizations, and even friends and loved ones. It is so easy to get caught up in it. However, as children of the Light, it is so important to know that these feuds with one another, these arguments between employer and employee, and even the conflicts within churches, just to name a few scenarios, are exactly the things Satan wants us to be focussing our attention on. He wants us to be at each other’s throats. No. No matter the reasoning we want to use, we need to pray for wisdom to see beyond the physical situations and fight the spiritual battle of Christ’s love and truth in this world, not with defensive hateful words or inappropriate behaviour, but with prayer and in the Holy Spirit’s power. Despite my own earthly desires and positions, my prayer is that I am a light of Christ in all I say, do and think. I continue to pray that my family and friends in Christ too, no matter their position, fight the spiritual battle by being strengthened in God’s Word and truth, and together we are united to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, [and] put on the full armor of God, so that [we] can take [our] stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:11) None of us have the knowledge to know fully what is the best way, but God does. So as we all live with conviction in this earthly realm, may we hold fast to God’s guidance: “Whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” (Romans 14:22)

The final truth is, Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:36-38) As I face these words head on, I must acknowledge that I am guilty of the desire of judging others, and I need to live in a state of repentance and reliance on the Lord, continually asking for forgiveness and forgiving others. This concept of being forgiven by the Lord as we forgive others, is so important to Him that Jesus even put it in the Lord’s prayer. Yes, I need forgiveness for judging and condemning others, for neglecting to do the good works that He prepared in advance for me to do because I was caught up in my worldly troubles. For the Lord is the only judge, and as his children, we need to trust that he is guiding each of our hearts, as we seek his will, and his will alone. He will never contradict himself. Only He will guide us to the finish line. “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The unbelieving world will continue in the chaos that Satan would have us live in, but if we, His children, keep our sights on Him and live by His instruction and in His love, we will make it through to the end. 

Therefore, as we enter this season of Lent, instead of looking at others, may we take the time to look inwardly at ourselves, and evaluate our own actions to those of Christ – His life and sacrifice on our behalf. And then lift our families and friends up in prayer, no matter where they are at and what they are going through, trusting that God is strengthening them, and working in and through them too to His glory. Let us leave all the unknowns and judgements to the Lord and sacrifice ourselves to love as He loves.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, these are scary and worrisome times. Help us, Your children, to keep our eyes focused on you and trust that You will get us through all our trials and tribulations according to Your will. Help us to love one another and to trust that You are guiding the hearts of all Your children that seek You. May we all be seeking Your will to be done. In Your name alone, we pray. AMEN!

Uwaga‼️ PODAJ DALEJ 📌 Note

Uwaga‼️ PODAJ DALEJ 📌
Jeśli ktoś z Was lub Waszych znajomych,przyjaciół czy rodziny ucieka przed wojną do polski,możemy pomoc Wam w następujący sposób:
Jeśli jesteś na granicy UA🇺🇦-PL🇵🇱 i potrzebujesz transportu w głąb Polski
kontaktujcie się bezpośrednio z
Michał Wojciechowski +48698995124
przetransportujemy Was bezpiecznie busami.
Jeśli jesteś już w 🇵🇱 Polsce (Warszawa i okolice) i potrzebujesz noclegu lub innej pomocy proszę o kontakt bezpośrednio z Katarzyna Izydorczyk tel. +48665 505 005
Jeśli potrzebujesz tłumacza chętnie pomogę,mówię po rosyjsku,angielsku i polsku Remi Kuliberda +44 7896107293
Pomoc jest oczywiście bezpłatna,w ramach sąsiedzkiej solidarności.
Drodzy Sąsiedzi🇺🇦,nigdy nie będziecie szli sami‼️

Хай живе Вільна Україна🇺🇦🇪🇺
увагу‼️
Якщо хтось із вас чи ваших друзів, друзів чи родичів втікає до Польщі перед війною, ми можемо допомогти вам у такий спосіб:
Якщо ви перебуваєте на кордоні ОАЕ-PL, вам потрібен транспорт до Польщі
зв’язатися безпосередньо з
Міхал Войцеховський +48 698 995 124
ми безпечно доставимо вас автобусом.
Якщо ви вже перебуваєте в Польщі (Варшава та її околиці) і вам потрібно залишитися на ніч, будь ласка, зв’яжіться безпосередньо з Катажиною Ізидорчик, тел. +48 665 505 005
Якщо вам потрібен перекладач, я з радістю допоможу, володію російською, англійською та польською мовами Ремі Куліберда +44 7896107293
Допомога безкоштовна, як частина добросусідської солідарності.
Шановні сусіди, ви ніколи не підете самі‼️
Хай живе вільна Україна🇺🇦🇪🇺

💕 Note‼ ️
If any of you or your friends, friends or family flees to Poland before the war, we can help you in the following ways:
If you are on the UA🇺🇦-PL🇵🇱 border and need transport deep into Poland
contact directly with
Michal Wojciechowski 48698995124
we will transport you safely by buses.
If you are already in 🇵🇱 Poland (Warsaw and its vicinity) and need accommodation, please contact Katarzyna Izydorczyk directly, tel. 48 665 505 005
If you need a translator, I will be happy to help, I speak Russian, English and Polish Remi Kuliberda +44 7896107293
Obviously, the help is free, as part of neighborly solidarity.
Dear Neighbors, you will never go alone‼ ️

Please pray!! From Ukraine….

Dear friends, brothers and sisters from different parts of our world.
We turn to you in this dark time for all of us, when black clouds from explosions cover the sun over our capital.
Tonight, elite special forces of the Russian Federation together with Chechen units will storm one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the world, the spiritual capital of Eastern Europe – the city of Kyiv.
Street fights are already underway in Kyiv, and all those who can hold weapons have defended the capital, even pensioners, students and schoolchildren.
The coming night and tomorrow are critical, at stake is everything that the whole civilized world has believed and built so far. With tears in our eyes, we ask you, no matter what time zone you are in, to spend all this time fasting and praying to God. Pray to the Lord to protect us from the mad hordes who want to mock the faith and truth of God.
Please send this message to all your friends, family and friends in Europe, Asia, America and around the world!
Prayer is stronger than the strongest enemy🙏🙏🙏!
With love and hope in the Lord.
Your brothers and sisters from Ukraine💙💛.

Resolving to Remember

Epiphany greetings friends!

I hope your January was a month of joy and peace, grace and mercy as you rested in God’s love for you through Jesus our Saviour.

It’s so great to be with you. Let’s fill up our mugs and enjoy this time together.

In His love and mine,

Brenda Ryan

I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3

Do you have bins of old photo albums from decades ago? If you are like me, you also have inherited bins from parents or other close family members when they died. So many bins!

On the other hand, now-a-days we are privileged to take photos every second of every day; capturing every precious moment and storing them all on one little usb stick. What a space saver! However, the problem with these photos is, we never get to see them. Once they’re downloaded onto a usb or hard drive, who takes the time to find them and leisurely wade through them all? Our memories are lost in the abyss of multitudes of files. So disheartening.

Well this year, I had had enough! I wanted to remember 2021 and to reminisce over the events of my loved ones. So, I decided to create an annual photo book. Throughout January I gathered all the special events and memories through the 2021 photos on my phone and created a printed photo book. That compact little book is so easy to grab and begin a time of remembering. I love to be reminded of how the kids and grandchildren have grown and changed, of the special events and precious family memories that God has blessed me with throughout the year, throughout my life. Oh how I love to view the photo book to help me reminisce and give thanks.

Thanks be to God that He doesn’t need any reminder of events of the past or what His children were like years ago. In fact, He knows each and every moment of each and every child’s life – of yours and mine, fully. Yes, even though I know him only a little bit right now as I walk this earth, I have always been fully known by Him. We all have. Although this can be a scary thought with all our selfish deeds, hurtful words, and sinful thoughts, there is comfort in knowing that there is nothing we can hide from him and nothing He isn’t waiting to forgive in the name of Jesus, as we lay those sins before Him in humility and repentance.

Yes, God knows our weaknesses. He understands our limitations, our forgetfulness, and he has provided a means to help us know and remember Him. Just like my photo book, God too has given us a book. His Book not only helps us be reminded of his love for us, but through it, His Word becomes alive in our hearts, by the power of His Holy Spirit – more alive than any memory that any photo could trigger.

So during this epiphany season while God Himself – in the flesh- went to weddings, walked on water, healed the sick, and raised the dead, may you take the time to view God’s Book, be reminded of all He has done because of His love for you, and give thanks!

Dear Jesus, as I reminisce over photos of my loved ones, may I be reminded that Your love is the greatest love ever. Please help me to take the time to open Your Book – The Bible- and to reminisce over your acts of love and sacrifice on my behalf throughout your earthly days! In your name I pray. AMEN!

Happy New Day 2022!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, friends!

I know it is not the first Monday of the month, however, I’m switching things up again. Since I am writing only one devotion each month, I felt it more fitting to post it on the first day of the month. So, whether you read this on the first day of the month, or the first Monday of the month, the last day of the month, or in another month altogether, Thank you for sharing this time with me!

God’s blessings to you and yours this Christmas and Epiphany Seasons!

In His love and mine,

Brenda Ryan

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:13-17

This past month, just prior to Christmas, good friends of ours announced that he has been diagnosed with aggressive advanced prostate cancer. They are in our group of fifty-somethings, with grown children and a gaggle of young grandchildren. They are active, successful, and full of life. And in a blink of an eye their life changed. Yes, their life as we see it has changed, yet, in Christ, they continue steadfast with their focus on the Lord and their family, as they face this journey head on. They have become beacons of His light to the rest of us.

Yes, in the same way, in a blink of an eye, the focus of all those who know and love them has changed. It has affected not just how we desire to support and love this family. But it makes us reflect on how we see our own lives, our mortality and the great gift that Jesus is in the midst of such situations. It increases our appreciation for the relationships of those we love: our parents, our children, our grandchildren, while diminishing the importance of our ‘stuff’, our activities, and our personal, and at times self-centred, endeavours.

All these emotions, thoughts, and opportunities to reflect were piled upon my recent desire to realign my own life’s focus, as was the theme for last month’s devotion. God seemed to be solidifying for me the importance of letting go of my own personal desires- a position I thought I wanted but would not have permitted me to enter this time of personal reflection and realignment. Through all this pain came an even greater blessing. I came to realize I was striving for my wants, not God’s, and I was choosing earthly treasures, while denying my heavenly treasures and God-given blessings.

Well, needless to say, December has been a month of letting go of my own schedule and saying ‘yes’ to the needs of my loved ones’ schedules in the form of special one-on-one time with each of my sons, babysitting my grandchildren or simply helping out my daughter with the little ones, taking time to take over meals to support neighbours in their loss, or singing christmas carols to and praying over our friend recently diagnosed with cancer. It’s meant learning to say ‘no’ to my own schedule and to say ‘yes’ to others in my life. It has also meant learning to let go of the need to have my days, weeks, months planned out, and is teaching me to live in the moment and to appreciate what today holds. I still have a lot to learn, but I am trying to let go of needing to control the reigns of my life, while letting God direct each day, and in so doing, I am experiencing greater appreciation for the blessings in my life- my precious family and friends, my church and my service to them, my work and my colleauges, my home and my community. I am experiencing greater gratitude for the simple things, the unplanned things, the God-planned things, and in so doing, experiencing greater peace.

As a result, I have come to realize that I have been denying myself the opportunity to be totally thankful for today however it unfolds. So as I enter 2022, I pray that the Holy Spirit help me to remain focussed on the reality that the only assurance I have for each day is my dependence on the grace of God through Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, and His promise to love, protect, and guide me through each day. I pray that he guides me to accomplish his will for my life as I keep seeking him, until the day He calls me home. May this be your prayer and realization for 2022 as well.

Here is a prayer I start each day with. May you find it beneficial as well:
Dear Lord, on this day when the work of my calling begins anew, I pray that you create its beginning, direct its continuance, and bless its end. That my doings may be preserved from sin, my life sanctified, and my work this day be well pleasing to you. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. AMEN! Thanks be to God! (Now go joyfully to your work.) (Taken from LCMS Morning Prayer)

Realigned Focus

Good day friends!

As you will learn from today’s devotion, I have been reflecting on all those things in my life which I give my time and attention, or lack of. One such activity is my CoffeeTime with you. I love our time together, and wish to continue. But, starting now, I will be posting only once a month. It is my intention that this change will provide me with the much needed time to attend more attentively to my growing family, my church family, and other writing and speaking opportunities to extend Christian encouragement. I truly hope you will continue to join me for CoffeeTime with Brenda Ryan on the first Monday of each month.

If you are looking for more regular daily/weekly devotions, please check out Lutheran Hour Ministries’ free daily devotions at https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?

Finally, please know that I am only a comment or email away if there is ever anything you wish to share.

God’s blessings to you this Advent and Christmas Season!

In His love and mine,

Brenda Ryan

Photo by Steve Hruza on Unsplash

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Have you ever been faced with the pain of having something you’ve put your hope in, worked towards, and dreamed of for a long time be squashed and stepped on, never to become a reality. It literally saps the energy and excitement out of you. You feel drained. You feel betrayed. You feel like an idiot.

Well, I have recently endured such internal turmoil and grief – emotional, physical, and psychological. I was informed that I was not the successful candidate for a position that I have been working towards for well over seven years. Despite my acceptance and understanding of the outcome, I still experienced the grievous feelings and emotions that the death of such a longing would have on anyone. I was not immune to any of it.

However, in the midst of working through these raging and swirling emotions, I was continually brought back to the reality that no matter what, God was in charge, and he was working through it all. Besides myself, I knew that an army of others were praying for God’s guidance through the whole process: for the management team interviewing, for peace and clarity for me while being interviewed, for all interviewees and God’s guidance to provide for all of us no matter the outcome, and that the best person for the position be hired for the good of the organization. Yes, I knew God was true to answering each and every one of those prayers. So it kept me returning to him on my knees praying, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Lord, I trust you. Help my distrust.” 

So, this most holy season of Advent has become a time of deep personal reflection. A time to ponder what truly is important. To refocus my priorities to align better with God’s will for my life. To be content with what I know he has given me: my family, my friends, my home, my current work, my church- and to focus my attention on those things that are worthwhile. And right now, those things that can be anticipated with sure and certain hope – the love of God in the form of a little baby. 

Yes, no matter what this world may hold for us, that little baby Jesus will come to us in the midst of the turmoil, the pain, and the grief. He doesn’t shy away from it. He doesn’t ignore our pain or try to avoid us because of the discomfort of our situations. Oh no, he comes in the thick of it all. He comes to be born in order to walk with us through the pain, to heal our sick hearts, to calm our racing minds, and to cleanse us from all those known and unknown sins and desires that keep us living contrary to his will.

So this December, no matter what you are living through- anxiety, grief, pain, or loss of any kind- focus your thoughts and attention on the Christ child and find your assurance, comfort, peace and joy in him. For he himself says to each of us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (John 14:27, 16:33b)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for coming as a little baby to bring me peace. Thank you for being my Lord and Saviour. Forgive me, cleanse me, and help me to walk according to your will for my life. In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

Go: Happy Thanksliving!

Good day friends! November is Thanksgiving month. Ready, Set, Go! Go! Last we were to Go and give thanks by telling our stories to others, sharing our salvation with others. This week we will GO even further.  

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Even more effective than telling people things, is showing them. There’s an old saying that goes something like, People don’t care what you know, until they know you care. In other words, people won’t necessarily take to heart what you have to say, until you have shown them that you truly care for them. Actions speak louder than words.

So, although we could shout from the rooftop all that Jesus has done for us, and how he continues to show his presence in our life, it may still come upon deaf ears. However, how we live can display our never ending gratitude to our Heavenly Father, and people will remember your actions. 

The Holy Spirit changes us from living for ourselves, to living a life in gratitude to God by gratifying others. We have the privilege to turn our thanksgiving into thanksliving. So let us not quench the Holy Spirit but by Him live a life of praise and thanksgiving. Happy Thanksliving!

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