Let’s Shine Brighter Than Ever

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

In order to be renewed and personally prepare for the re-opening of my personal and church commitments,  I will be taking a Sabbath rest for the month of August. May the words of today’s devotion linger with you throughout August and may you join me in a renewed commitment to the Lord and his Church in the upcoming months. In His love and mine, Brenda

Readings for August, 2021: Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Exodus 16:2-15; Psalm 145:10-21; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:22-35

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13

Just a couple months before the pandemic began, our pastor resigned and our church went into a vacancy. To this day, we are still without a permanent pastor to shepherd us. Thanks be to God we have had a wonderfully patient, flexible and faithful vacancy pastor who has lead us – in person or virtually -through this entire pandemic.

Being without a permanent shepherd is difficult. Trying to grow in God’s truth without the support of a church family and the leadership of a called shepherd is difficult. There is a reason the church exists and that each church has a shepherd. They exist because God created them for the sake of his people- for you and for me. God did not, and still does not, desire us to walk our Christian walk alone. We are to be in fellowship with one another, support one another, love one another, learn with one another, and commune with one another. And we are to have pastors and teachers – servants of the church- to guide and lead us in God’s word and to administer the sacraments to us.

Although the pandemic has brought many people to God’s word to seek answers and help them in their times of trouble, it has also allowed the perfect setting for Satan to beat down our shepherds and to scatter the sheep. There are a few of my friends from different denominations in different churches who have experienced their pastor leaving the church since the pandemic started. If you think Satan has played with your mind, just think how hard he has worked on our shepherds. “Get those pesky shepherds out of the way and those dumb sheep will be putty in my hands,” he’s been saying to himself. And unfortunately he’s been successful with some.

Then there are the sheep – us- who have been trying to worship virtually, without the fellowship and voices of our brothers and sisters. There are the reduced opportunities to receive communion at the hands of our shepherds while in communion with one another. Then there’s the joyous chorus of hymns sung, the baptisms, the children and young families, the elderly and vulnerable that have seemingly disappeared as the months dragged on. Yes, Satan has had a hay day in the church over the past year and a half. But as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, let us put a stop to it!

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

Whether you began seeking the Lord and renewing your relationship with him during the pandemic, or were a faithful follower before it began, I beg you to join me in being committed to a church renewal. If you didn’t have a church home before, seek one out by talking to a friend or family member you trust and respect who does have a church home. Then together we need to commit to praying for our shepherds, our church leaders, and attending worship to give thanks and praise to the Lord that we made it to this point, to receive first hand his blessings of word and sacrament, and to be enveloped by our church families with whom we will grow in God’s truth, learn to use the gifts he has blessed us with, and share his saving grace to those around us by shining the light of Christ in our lives.

Together, if we all made this commitment to be active members of the Lord’s body and to support our shepherds, then and only then can we combat the schemes with which Satan has been plying the church. Yes, Satan may have been winning many battles in the Church throughout the pandemic, but the victory remains ours in Christ, and in his strength, His Church in the 21st century can be stronger and shine brighter than it has in decades.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for bringing us through the pandemic. May the worst be behind us. Please, continue to heal our province, our country, our world. Be with our shepherds. Strengthen them like you did Moses, to lead your people in the days to come. From this day on, along with my church family, “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.” (Psalm 145:1-2) AMEN!

Clinging to Him in the Good Times as in the Tough Times

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for July 25, 2021: Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 9:8-17 Psalm 136:1-9; Ephesians 3:14-21; Mark 6:45-56

 I pray that out of his glorious riches he [the Father] may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Ephesians 3:16-19

In Ontario, as is much of the world, we are progressing through the re-opening stages as Covid 19 cases decline and the majority of the population is becoming vaccinated against this harmful and persistent virus. It feels so good to be coming to the end of lockdowns, isolations and working/learning/meeting/teaching/ worshipping only from home. Life has been difficult to say the least. However, looking back over the past 17 months, it has been through these times that I have clung to verses like today’s- the assurance of Christ’s love for us and that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us, that we are never alone and that through Jesus we have his strength and guidance to endure.

The social, professional, relational, technological, emotional, and psychological trials that we were faced with due to the virus and restrictions were many. We were faced with loneliness, too much time to ‘think’, family conflicts, being separated from loved ones, and so much more. Then there were all the challenges of work life, whether needing to go to work everyday in total fear for yourself, your family and those with whom you came into contact. Or were required to work virtually from home and the challenges of isolation, being bombarded with and learning new technology in order to do your job, trying to communicate and feel connected virtually, and even being misunderstood through such communication. Then there were those who lost their jobs and the business owners who were required to fully shut down; all of whom were consumed with how to make ends meet. Finally, besides all of these life circumstances, there were the millions of people who contracted Covid and feared for their lives. For those who did survive they may continue to live with long term side effects. And then there are the families who have lost loved ones to this deadly virus. Yes, these past several months have bombarded all of us with opportunities to be overwhelmed and feelings of defeat, no matter what your Covid life looked like.

Thankfully, through it all, if nothing else, these trying days made many people- they made me- cling to the Lord even more. On days when my mind kept wanting to condemn me, the fact that I am forgiven through the blood of Jesus, gave me hope. On the days when I felt alone, knowing Jesus was with me gave me joy. On the days when household family members got on my nerves, remembering Jesus’ love for them gave me patience. On the days when work was overwhelming, trusting that I can do all things through Jesus who gives me strength, gave me endurance.

There wasn’t a day I didn’t need the reminder of God’s presence and strength in my life during these difficult months, and as we move into the world’s re-opening, I pray that I continue to crave Jesus in each and every day, the easy ones along with the difficult ones. And as a beloved and redeemed child of God, through Jesus, I pray this for you as well. May the love and trust in Jesus’ love and presence in your life, and the assurance of life with him now and for eternity through his death and resurrection, be on your heart each and every morning for the remainder of your days.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for your word through which I am reminded of your love, strength, faithfulness, and presence in my life. Thank you for being with me always, especially through the past year and a half. Now as the world moves back into a new normal, please continue to guide my heart to seek you every morning and throughout every day. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

In Memory of Precious Souls

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

This week’s devotion comes to you with a heavy heart for all our Indigenous communities and Canada. Please bear with me. May we learn from past mistakes so that they may never be repeated.

Readings for July 18, 2021: Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Jeremiah 23:1-6 Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-44

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord. “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. . . .This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.  Jeremiah 23: 1-5, 6b

The writing of this devotion comes at a heartbreaking time in Canada, especially for our Indigenous brothers and sisters, but also for all Canadians. This past week and the weeks prior, have uncovered unmarked graves of over one thousand Indigenous children in Western Canada, while further searching across all of Canada is being done for more precious souls.

Oh how this week’s reading is so relevant to the injustices that were led by Canadian and Christian institutions. We May never fully know the circumstances surrounding their deaths, but the fact that residential schools existed at all is grievous. Oh how my heart aches for all these precious children and their families.

Unfortunately, this evil is not the only travesty in Canada’s, nor the world’s, history. We can see throughout all of history that humankind is capable of horrific things; terrible things that are done to other human beings; even things that are done in the name of God. However, let’s get one thing straight. These acts are not from God. These acts are done by sinful people. No, God had no part in any of it. God hates sin and he knows humankind is steeped in it. The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:5

Yes, God sees all terrible, unloving, evil actions and they grieve him. He aches for the burdened souls at the hand of others. He despises the evil that man does. Yet, he loves his creation. He loves the human race – you and me, despite our sin. That is the whole reason Jesus left his Heavenly home to live the perfect life we needed to live but couldn’t, and then died the wretched death that our sin deserves. He paid the penalty of our sin- each and every sin of every humanbeing, no matter how big or small. Then he conquered death with his resurrection, so that all people can conquer death and inherit eternal life, as they trust in him.

Despite the misguided, convoluted, ungodly actions of others, may we trust that Jesus’ loving arms surround each and every precious soul that was at another person’s mercy. May we be able to live in the trust that God’s love in Jesus is enough and trust him when he says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:17-19

In the meantime, may we all pray for those corporate institutions and individuals to come forward in repentance. Confession and absolution is the cornerstone to healing and fellowship with the Lord. Therefore, for those that have sinned against others, may they receive God’s humility and courage to acknowledge their sin before God and those they’ve harmed. And May they receive full and unconditional forgiveness. Only then can true healing occur.

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us! You created all people and we are to build up and love one another. We are to show Jesus’ love and sacrifice through our own lives. Forgive us for all those times we fail. Please bestow humility and courage upon those institutional representatives and individuals to truly repent of any unresolved sinful action and that forgiveness be extended, so that all peoples and families can begin healing. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Making Things Straight

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for July 11, 2021: Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Amos 7:7-15; Psalm 85: (1-7) 8-13; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29

The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. Amos 7:7-8

My son and father-in-law are carpenters. Over the years as I have watched them work, I have learned the importance of making things straight. If the first board of a wall or the starter strip for siding is not straight then nothing will be straight. The use of a plumb line is essential to making things straight and plumb.

When God was talking with Amos, he had had enough. The Israelites had strayed so far from his truth that he was letting Amos know that he was going to set things straight. What was coming was a whole demolition and rebuild for the Israelites. Yes, the Lord was going to set the Israelites straight. And after they were demolished and taken into captivity, they were going to be rebuilt through King Cyrus. “I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah 45:13

However, there was another plumb line that the Lord was setting in place. This plumb line was going to show the way to the cornerstone on which his church would be built, and which would last forever. This plumb line was foretold through the prophet Isaiah in the midst of the Israelites’ captivity. This plumb line was John the baptizer. He was thevoice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5

Yes, this plumb line pointed us to Jesus, the Saviour of the world. The one who would pay the hefty price in order for God’s people and their ways to remain straight, to remain right, with God. For God himself says, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (Isaiah 28:16) Therefore, “as you come to him, [Jesus], the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5) So, stand firm on the only foundation that will make your ways straight, as you are built up with the whole body of Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for sending John the baptizer to show us the way to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Please help me to always stand firm in trusting Jesus no matter what may come my way. For only in him will my ways remain straight and right. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Good Morning, Lord!

Readings for July 4, 2021: Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Ezekiel 2:1-5; Psalm 123; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Mark 6:1-13

 [God] said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. Ezekiel 2:1-2

When I was actively serving in children’s ministry, there was a song we taught the children called Good Morning Lord. It went like this:

Good morning, Lord. It’s a beautiful day.

Good morning, Lord. I’m going your way.

Open my eyes and let me see someone who needs a friend like me.

I know that I can surely be loving, caring, always sharing.

Good morning, Lord. It’s a beautiful day.

Good morning, Lord. I’m going your way.

I always liked this song as it reinforces our need, as God’s people, to help and love others. What a great lesson to instill in our children. However, over the years, as I have sung this little ditty as a personal song of praise, I have found there’s something that just doesn’t sit right.

Although I do desire to have my eyes open to see someone in need, I do not know that I can always be loving, caring, sharing, and give these people what they need. In fact, I know I cannot! It is only with the help of the Holy Spirit that I can be loving, caring, and sharing, let alone ‘always sharing’. Yes, only with the power of the Holy Spirit working in me can I be whom God needs me to be.

I then began to think about the burden we set on our children. Telling them that this is how they are to be but with the command that expects them to always be loving, caring and sharing. But what about when they fail? And they will fail. Oh the burden of our inability to live and be all that God desires for us to do and be. Perhaps they may feel the need to put on a ‘perfect’ façade because they’re ashamed of their failure. Or worse, they make excuses and judge others in order to justify their inabilities and failures. No, the full lesson we teach our children, in and of themselves, should not be that they can and should be the perfect children and helpers to others.  

Instead, the lesson should be that despite our inabilities and sinfulness, God can and does, through the Holy Spirit, strengthen us and give us what we need to help and love those he leads us to; those things which he has prepared in advance for us to do. Just like in today’s passage, when God called Ezekiel and told him to stand, he didn’t wait for Ezekiel to fumble his way to his feet. In reality, the Holy Spirit did all the work. The Holy Spirit lifted Ezekiel to his feet. It doesn’t even say that Ezekiel was an active participant. It just implies that he was attentively listening to what God was saying and God was doing all the work. Wow! To have it be God’s power working in us to fulfill his desires. No, it’s not about me being left to myself to do what I know God would want from me, but God working in me. What a burden lifted! What a freedom! What a privilege!

Yes, besides loving and caring for others, this is the lesson we need to teach our children. This example of humility and the awareness of our own weaknesses due to sin in us that has us give thanks to Jesus, our Saviour, for all he has done for us, is what’s important. It is living out the reality of the Holy Spirit within us to be his lights in the world that we need to teach our children.

If we started living our lives and raising our children with this humble reality and need for our Lord, then perhaps the heaviness our sins and guilt, of which we are so aware, would not cause so many people to turn away from the Lord, thinking that to be his child is unachievable. But instead, it would redirect our thinking from focussing on all our doing to focussing on and trusting God’s power in us. What an awesome lesson and truth about God to teach our children.

Therefore, to ease my conscience, I have rewritten the lyrics of Good morning Lord to reflect these truths.

Good morning, Lord. It’s a beautiful day.

Good morning, Lord. I want to go your way.

Open my eyes and let me see someone who needs a friend like me.

Holy Spirit help me be loving, caring, always sharing.

Good morning Lord. It’s a beautiful day.

Good morning Lord. Help me go your way.

Prayer: Good morning Lord, it’s a beautiful day. Good morning Lord. I want to go your way. On my own I am unworthy and incapable of answering your call to love others. Forgive me and help me to turn to you for your strength. Only in you can I be all that you would have me be. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

The Goal Is Equality

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

This devotion is the 200th devo. Wow! Thank you for reading and supporting me! <><

Readings for June 27, 2021: Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Lamentations 3:22-33; Psalm 30; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. 2 Corinthians 8:13-15

In this week’s scripture reading, Paul is telling the Corinthians about how the Macedonian Christians, although poor themselves, were exceedingly, and surprisingly, generous towards the collection that was being taken to provide for the poor in the church at Jerusalem. Paul is trying to encourage the Corinthians to give as well with the ultimate goal being that all people are cared for and that equality is achieved among all the churches.

This passage is for us too; that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we should support one another so that one does not experience poverty while another experiences plenty, but that together we support each other and have all that we need. Funny isn’t it; that this is exactly the type of thing we are hearing over and over again, in the media, these days? We are bombarded with how there is so much inequality for so many different groups, demographics, and cultures these days. However, the blame is always shifted to this organization or that, to this government party or that leader.

Perhaps we should take Paul’s words to heart for ourselves. Instead of laying blame on others for the inequalities, what about if each of us became accountable to being the agent of change for another person. Whether it be a phone call or social distant visit for socialization, a meal to sooth hunger pains, clothes to help dress, a card to encourage, or money to help cover an expense, think about how you can provide a little bit of equality to someone who is living in want. Let’s stop placing the blame elsewhere, and be the people Christ calls us to be by being part of the solution to bring equality to those around us. In Christ, this is our privilege. Let it also be our goal.

Prayer: Dear Lord, in so many ways you have blessed me. Show me who is in need of something you have exceedingly blessed me with. Open my heart to give willingly, like the Macedonians, in order to raise others up and lessen life’s inequalities. Be with all of your followers that we may care for each other and those around us. To you alone be the glory! In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Do You Still Have No Faith?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for June 20, 2021: Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Job 38:1-11; Psalm 124; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41

. . . A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 37-41)

Have you ever found yourself in a scary position like the disciples did in this story? I know I have. My fear-filled moments didn’t occur on a boat in the middle of fierce waves and winds, but they remained fierce storms for me, none the less.

The thing that gets me about this story is that the disciples were in the physical presence of the one who could rescue them from the storm. They were face to face with Jesus, the long awaited Messiah, yet they remained frantic and feared for their lives. I wonder if they would have reacted the way they did if Jesus wasn’t there. I wonder if, despite their fears, they would have spent time in prayer asking God for protection from the storm and a safe return home. I wonder if they would have acted more like Daniel when he was faced with the lion’s den, or like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, when they were faced with the fiery furnace. For these people, their faith in the Lord gave them the assurance of knowing, without a doubt, that no matter what they were faced with, their God could deliver them. And even if they weren’t spared, God was still worthy of all their praise and loyalty. So despite all things, they remained faithful to the Lord and trusted him to get them through all of life’s stormy trials.

Personally, I would much prefer to have the faith of Daniel and his three buddies, than that of the disciples as displayed in this story. I would much prefer to know I can go to my Lord in prayer at any point of any day, lay my requests and pleas before him, and trust that he will answer me according to his will, instead of fearing that just because I am not in his physical presence or that he may not be physically paying attention to me, that perhaps he doesn’t know what’s going on. I would much prefer the blessed assurance of knowing that my God is worthy of my praise and thanksgiving despite what is happening to me in my life’s journey, instead of feeling like I have to question him and his intentions because he’s not acting the way I think he should; “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Yes, I would much prefer to have faith that makes others question why I do things, than have the Lord question me, “Do you still have no faith?”

Well, the awesome thing is that after Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples did have a solid faith in our Lord, just like those faith-filled people of the Old Testament. With the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives, we too can have that faith that trusts the Lord above all things and in every circumstance. Yes, the disciples may have had the opportunity to see and spend time with Jesus physically, but it wasn’t until Jesus ascended into heaven that they depended on all that Christ had promised them, of proclaiming him as Saviour of the world, and clinging to the assurance that he now lives in his heavenly home, preparing a place for them, for you, and for me.

Yes, the disciples may have seen Jesus, “but blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b) So, let go of the old adage, ‘seeing is believing’, and live your life in the assurance that ‘believing is not seeing’, and know without a doubt that Jesus has conquered sin, death and the power of the devil, and trust that he will get you through every and all of life’s trials, as you call upon him, no matter how big or small they are. He lives to guide you through your days on Earth and into eternity according to the will of his Father. He remains the only one who can still the storm, shut the lion’s mouth, and stand alongside you in all of your life’s fiery blazes. To him alone belongs all glory and praise!

Prayer: Dear Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Please do not let my actions and giving into my fears make you question my faith as you did the disciples. I pray that your Holy Spirit strengthen me to live a life of faith and trust in you, as Daniel did. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

No More Regrets

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for June 13, 2021: Third Sunday after Pentecost

Ezekiel 17:22-24; Psalm 1; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (11-17); Mark 4:26-34

Blessed is the one whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1: 1a, 2-3

Do you have regrets? Most people have regrets. Making life decisions are difficult. It’s hard to know which way to turn sometimes in life. Then there are those decisions you’ve made on a whim or based on your feelings or pressures from others. In many such cases, the outcome of those decisions may not have been for your good because you had no guidance to know what would be the best for you. Maybe they were enjoyable and good decisions in the moment, but the long term effect of the decisions has been detrimental to you, your relationships, and maybe even your life as a whole.

While you can never go back and erase your past, you can stop and begin to seek the truth and guidance that will be for your good both now and in the future. This guidance comes from the Lord. This guidance is written in his Word. This guidance is for you because of his love for you. He created you and he desires what is best for you. Yes, it includes his Ten Commandments, but there is so much more. Take time to get to know God’s truth for you in his word in order to make solid decisions which will take you into the future with assurance of His presence and blessing, and no more regret. For his words are truth and by living in them, you will be as it says, “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”

But just to be clear, by following his Word and his laws for your own life does not mean that the execution of your decisions will be perfect, that you will never fall on hard times and that you will never sin again. In fact, it is for this very reason that Jesus came to redeem us- you and me- to pay the price that our sins deserve because we can’t do it ourselves. So when we do fall short, we can approach God and ask for the forgiveness that Jesus has won for us on the cross, and we can start again, trusting that God will continue to shape us, and guide us to walk in his ways to his glory and our own good. In fact, through the gift of repentance and forgiveness, we can even address those past hurts and regrets, and the Holy Spirit will cleanse our hearts and lift the weight of regret that has plagued us for years. In the Lord, there need be no more regrets, only a life lived to its fullest.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your word and your guidance for my good. As I trust in your ways, I will not fear regrets. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105) In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

What’s Inside That Worn Out Tent?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for June 6, 2021: Second Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 3:8-15; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. . . . For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Corinthians 4:16, 5:1

The older I get the more precious this passage means to me.

Throughout my thirties, I served as a deaconess to a beautiful congregation.  During my years as their deaconess, there was a retired pastor who was a member of the congregation. He had great wit and humour and always had something off the wall to say like, “Eat your prunes!” I remember on many occasions, with a little chuckle he would say to my husband and I, “Enjoy your health. What a blessing it is! It doesn’t last forever, you know.” My husband and I would give a little laugh and wish him a good day, all the while not giving his words much thought.

Well, now that we are in our fifties, we have begun to experience the loss of the healthy, vibrant, strong bodies we once had. Aches and pains have begun to take hold. Although this pastor went home to be with the Lord a couple years ago and is enjoying his new spiritual home, his words still put a smile on my face every day. He was right. Health is a blessing and we don’t realize how precious it is until it starts slipping away.

But why do we act as if it is a surprise. This aging process has been part of our lives since the fall into sin with Adam and Eve. Our earthly bodies were never meant to last forever since the fall. It is for that reason God set in motion a plan to redeem us and call us back to himself. You see, it is for this reason that God promised a Saviour to Adam and Eve, and all of humankind, in order to draw all people back to him for eternity, like he first desired. This world is not the be all and end all. Oh no, not at all!

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash

So as we put our hope in Jesus’ saving grace, and his Spirit renews and strengthens us every day through God’s holy word, may we become more dependent on his strength and less dependent on our own, especially as we see ours slip away. Let us continue to inwardly grow, and blossom in Jesus as we fix our eyes on him and the joyous spiritual body that awaits us, free from aches and pains, and filled with joy and peace to overflowing.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you for the health of my body. On those days when the aches and pains seem more than I can bear, let me rest in you. Let my soul rejoice and my heart sing your praises for all your goodness to me through my loving Saviour, Jesus, in whose presence I shall one day be. In his name I pray. AMEN!

Thank-you Lord For Sending Them

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for May 30, 2021: The Holy Trinity

Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Acts 2:14a, 22-36; John 3: 1-17

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:5-8

At the time of writing this devotion, the pastor that has had the most influence on my life has just gone to be with the Lord. This man of God was such a tremendous influence on my life. He was my pastor and teacher during the two years of confirmation when I was in grade 7 and 8. I still remember him trying to guide the class, a bunch of young people, to be pure. In particular, I remember him saying that, as young people, we should abstain from kissing. Well, that really stuck with me throughout my teenage years, and guided my actions when dating. However, I did feel I was being a bit of a rebel when I did kiss a boy.

Our Wedding Rehearsal

Then 6 years later, there was our wedding which he officiated, as well as, the marriage classes that he guided me and my now husband of thirty-three years through before the big day. We were young but he was always supportive and kept guiding us back to the Lord and his will for marriage. He emphasized that a marriage takes three – husband, wife, and God. This truth has gotten us through- the Lord has gotten us through- many situations over the years. He even guided my husband through adult confirmation classes. His patience and wisdom won my husband’s heart, as well. Yes, this man of God was a servant of the Lord and you couldn’t help but love him and know that his words were true.

Then years later he was God’s instrument through which I learned about the Diaconate – the role of a Deacon in our church body. As the District President, he was in our home to help guide our church council through the start of our congregation’s vacancy when I learned about deaconesses. He was patient with me as I asked many questions about the diaconate and delayed the relevant outcome of the meeting. However, I knew that same night that becoming a deacon was what I was being called to do. Even through the obstacles for me to take the required schooling – taking seminary classes, finding babysitters, having the academic institutions across Canada work together on my behalf, etc. – he walked with me through it all. Yes, God used this faithful man to guide me to answer the Lord’s call in my life with, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” I thank the Lord for sending him to me in order to help me hear God’s call for me and my life.

So, if there is someone in your life that has been influential to drawing you to the Lord and learning of his ways, his love, and his will for your life, take time to thank God for them and if possible, send them a thank-you for being faithful servants of the Lord. May we all answer God’s call like Isaiah, with repentant hearts and a resounding ‘Here I am Lord, Send me.” And then, patiently walk beside others on their life’s journey with the Lord, this side of heaven.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for  (name a faith mentor in your life). Please keep them in your care. Help me to be as faithful. This day, there is someone who is seeking you. Here I am Lord. Send me to them. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN!

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