Visitor Devotion



May 2019: I Need More…CONFIDENCE


Meet Doug. As he toes the line for the final game of his senior year basketball season, he wonders if his scholarship dream is going to happen.

Meet Kristin. As she graduates from college, she wonders if she’s adequate for her new job.

Meet Samantha. As she faces her second round of chemotherapy, she wonders if she’s going to live.

Meet Scott. As he says his vows to his wife, he silently wonders if his second marriage is going to last.

Have you been there? Doug, Kristin, Samantha, Scott, you and I all have one thing in common: we need confidence. Let’s face it; there are times in life that it’s easy to be filled with doubt. Doug doubted his future. Kristin doubted her abilities. Samantha doubted her treatment. Scott doubted his love.


Saturday of Holy Week

Saturday of Holy Week

Quiet. That’s how you could describe the day after Jesus died. Today was the Sabbath. It was the day of rest for the people of the Old Testament. Every believer for 1,500 years stopped working on this day and was quieted. No one was allowed to bake bread, or stitch clothes, or tend the fields, or plan a project, etc. On the Sabbath day, the people of God were to engage only in those types of activities that enhance the joy, rest, and holiness of the day. They would spend time with family, go to the Temple for prayer, sing psalms, and most importantly read, study, and discuss the Scriptures.

How distracted those early followers of Jesus must have been. For the first time in three years, their Lord was not there. We know the importance Jesus placed on worship. Luke tells us, “As was his custom, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read.”

Jesus would not be reading the scriptures to them that day. He would not be discussing the wonderful truths of God’s Word as their “hearts burned” within them.

No, that Sabbath was different. It was filled with uncertainty. Their hearts were mourning. Their stomachs were turned in knots, wondering if they would end up dead just like their former master.

In my household, we had the tradition of being quiet on this Holy Saturday. We weren’t allowed to watch TV or be rambunctious. Holy Saturday was a day of reflection and family. This was the day that our Lord’s body rested in the tomb. His work was finished. Our salvation complete. And so in a very small way we remembered the quietness of that day, 2000 years ago.

It’s interesting that the commandment dealing with the Sabbath is quite different than the others. The commandments are filled with “You shall..” and “You shall not…”. But the 3rd commandment says, “Remember…”. We are to remember the Sabbath day.

The fact that the Lord has to tell us to “remember” means that too often we forget. We forget that God is the almighty creator, the God of heaven and earth. He created the entire universe. He created all that is in it. He specially made mankind as the crown of his creation. We forget this as we get bogged down in our crazy schedules, and raising kids, and planning our futures. We forget, too often, that God is the supreme. That his love for us endures forever and that he shows this love to us as he daily provides for us.

We forget the sabbath rest of God also when we neglect his Word and Sacrament, when we fail to follow the commands of the true God. This was the entire reason that the God of the Sabbath sent his Son. Jesus redeemed us from our forgetting, from our neglecting. He rescued us from our sins by completely following those commands and then taking his perfect life to the cross, wherein his great love for us he took our sins and gave us his righteousness.

On this Holy Saturday, we don’t share the same confusion that the first disciples did. We know the outcome. We know that Jesus rose from the dead, just like he said he would. We rejoice that the victory over sin and death is now ours, for Scripture tells us, “We were therefore buried with him by this baptism into his death, so that just as he was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too would also walk in a new life. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united with him in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Romans 6:4-5 EHV)

Take time today to remember all that the Lord has accomplished for you. In a quiet moment ponder upon this verse from Psalm 105, “He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded for a thousand generations” (Psalm 105:8 EHV)



Friday of Holy Week

Friday of Holy Week

What is power? How would you define that simple and yet complex word? And after you define it, then tell me how does a person obtain it? Many would assume that power is the ability to control the actions of others. Power is seen in positions and titles. To have power there must be some sort of structure which has a hierarchy in place of who is over whom. We see this play out every day of our lives – the person taking your order at McDonald’s does not have as much power as the person who owns the place; the salesmen can’t tell his manager what to do; the general makes the command, the lieutenant obeys. This power can be used either positively or negatively. You’ve probably had good bosses and terrible bosses in your work career. Power used for the benefit of others will often result in the whole hierarchy succeeding.

But if that’s our working definition (and by the way, there are many more valid definitions), then who has the power on Good Friday?

Jesus stands before the Sanhedrin. He is bound and beaten; the council does the beating. Who has the power? The council does. They send Jesus to Pilate. Only he has the power to put someone to death. He commands his soldiers to flog Jesus. Who has the power? Pilate does. Pilate finds Jesus innocent of any crime, but he can’t let Jesus go because he is afraid of being called a traitor against Caesar by the crowd. Who has the power? The crowd does.

What does this teach us about power? It’s fickle. It’s temporary. It’s unwieldy. Everyone must answer to someone else. Nobody has all the power.

Except… look at this exchange between Jesus and Pilate: So Pilate asked him, “Are you not talking to me? Don’t you know that I have the authority to release you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over me at all if it had not been given to you from above.” (John 19:10,11)

Who was really in control? Who had the power? God.

Jesus, true God, was in control. But his power was hidden. He didn’t make it known as most would have in his position. When arrested the night before, Jesus says that he could call down a legion of angels to protect, but he won’t. Jesus tells Pilate that he could leave at any moment, but he is a different type of king.

Jesus had the power, but he didn’t use it to control others. Jesus used his power to drink the cup of judgment that God the Father had given him. Jesus used his power not to control but to serve. He used his power to bring victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil by allowing himself to be hung on a tree, to be judged for our sins, and to be killed even though he was innocent. That is true power. The King of the world died by the world’s hand to save mankind from its sins.

On Good Friday we see Jesus in control. We see in his power Jesus cry out, “It is finished.” And after winning our salvation, he was still in control. John tells us, “Then, bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.” Death didn’t take his spirit. He didn’t succumb to his wounds. Jesus gave up his spirit. Death had no power over him. Of course, we see this greater still a few days later, when Jesus is raised from the dead, proving that he has power over it.

In his victory, Jesus doesn’t use his power to glorify himself. He uses it for you. St. Paul writes, “For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and bring us (together with you) into his presence. In fact, all this is for your benefit, so that as grace increases, it will overflow to the glory of God, as more and more people give thanks.” (2 Corinthians 4:14,15 EHV)

May your Good Friday observance be one filled with blessing as you see the power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.





Thursday of Holy Week

Thursday of Holy Week

We call it Maundy Thursday. “Maundy” means “command” and comes from the words of Jesus: “A new command I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).  By the next day, the disciples would see in Jesus a higher standard of love than the old commandment offered, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)

Maundy Thursday shows us the faithful love of God in contrast to the failing love of man.  This is the day of the Passover celebration- that religious festival that commemorated that great act of merciful deliverance when the Lord delivered his people from slavery in Egypt and spared them from death on that night when all the firstborn in Egypt perished.  The blood of an innocent lamb on the doorposts of their homes had saved their ancestors.  Now it was time for the blood of the innocent Lamb of God to save all mankind.

So Jesus shares the Passover meal with his disciples.  God intended the Passover meal to be eaten with one’s family.  Here we see the faithful love of Jesus.  He considers these men his family.  He knows (and actually says so this night) that Judas is betraying him, that Peter will deny him, and that the rest of the disciples will abandon him.  Yet Jesus hosts them for this meal.  He washes their dirty feet before the meal, performing servant work for them knowing that, before the night is over, they will be arguing over who will be the greatest when Jesus rises to power as the earthly king they hope he will be.  He gives them his own body and blood as he institutes the Lord’s Supper, knowing that, later that night when he is arrested, they will flee into the shadows to save their own skin.  He remains committed to his Father’s will to die for them even in the agony of Gethsemane, while they show the depth of their commitment to Jesus there by taking a nap when he asks them to watch and pray with him.

Jesus has a lot to say to them that night (John 14-16). I recommend you read it.  If I were Jesus, I would have been able to think only of myself and what I was about to endure.  My mood would have been self-pitying.  But Jesus is thinking about his disciples’ needs.  They have no idea what heartache, grief, fear, and doubt is waiting for them beginning this night. But Jesus knows what they will need, as he is aware of your needs even before you are and always gives you what you need.  So in faithful love, he gives them words of comfort to get them through the next difficult days:

John 14:1-3 Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

John 14:18-20 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

John 14:27 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.

John 16:22  Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

More than that, in faithful love he gives them his body and his blood (“poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”- Matt. 26:28), so that the guilt of their failure to show committed love to Jesus this night does not drive them to despair.  It’s why he gives his body and blood to us too.  He knows our love for him often falters and fails in the most shameful ways, just as the disciples’ love did that night. But in faithful love he keeps coming to us in his supper to assure that his love, his mercy, and his forgiveness are unfailing. 

One more thing, Jesus spells out for them this night how the world will hate them as much as it hates him, and he goes into specifics about how they will be persecuted by people who think killing them is doing God a favor.  (John 15:18-16:4)  “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray,” Jesus explains (John 16:1)  How we need to hear those words.  It is tempting to go astray, to dismiss those teachings of Jesus that are unpopular in our culture, or to live a covert Christian life so we can avoid being potential targets of ridicule or hate for Jesus’ sake.  But distancing ourselves from Jesus and his truth is not the answer.  This is: “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. ” (John 15:5,8)

Remain in the Savior whose love remains faithful even when ours falters and fails.  Assured of his love and forgiveness over and over in his gospel in word and sacrament, you and I will find always find the comfort and strength we need to keep following him and bearing our crosses on the path he has blazed to eternal glory.


Wednesday Of Holy Week

Wednesday Of Holy Week

Wednesday of Holy Week is a quiet day.  Jesus stays away from Jerusalem.  The big event of this day is Judas, one of Jesus’ own disciples, meeting with the religious leaders in Jerusalem to arrange for Jesus to be seized under the cover of darkness on Thursday evening.  For this reason, this day has been called “Spy Wednesday.”

In Matthew’s gospel, he places this meeting after the account of Mary anointing Jesus in Bethany- an event that actually happened the night before Palm Sunday.  Matthew intends to contrast Mary’s actions with that of Judas.  So in his account, Matthew 26:1-16, it goes like this:

1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away– and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. 5 “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” 6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

14 Then one of the Twelve– the one called Judas Iscariot– went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Mary got it.  She understood that Jesus’ purpose was to die for the sins of the world.  That is why she honored him while she could, anointing his body with a perfume so expensive that it cost what a common laborer would make in a year, probably tens of thousands of dollars today.  But Jesus was worth that much to her.  For he was the sinless Son of God, willing to give up his life for a sinner like her, in order to give her the priceless blessings of being certain, through his sacrifice, that God loved her, that her sins were forgiven, that she was reconciled to God, that heaven was her home.

Judas got it too.  He heard Jesus say that Mary had anointed him for his burial.  Judas realized, maybe much more clearly than the other disciples, that Jesus was actually going to go through with what he had been talking about for weeks- letting himself be killed by the religious leaders in Jerusalem.  So in that moment Judas made the decision to cut and run, to cash in while he still had the chance, to betray Jesus for what he could get out of it. 

Money was really Judas’ god.  For in John’s account of the anointing of Jesus in Bethany, it is Judas who objects to what Mary is doing, ranting about how that perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.  John tells us that this objection was just a front, for the truth is that Judas had the habit of stealing money from the communal funds of the group.  Judas was mad that night, not because the poor were being neglected, but because he was going to have less money to steal. 

Wednesday of Holy Week, therefore, is a good day to ask ourselves, “What do I really value?  Is Jesus my greatest treasure?  Is he worth so much to me that I eagerly give him lavish love for his love for me, lavish thanks for my salvation, lavish worship for his grace, lavish obedience to his word, lavish offerings for his mission, lavish trust that he will take care of me?  Or do my attitudes and actions often reveal that I love and trust what money can give me or do for me too much?”  

Though Jesus knows what Judas is doing on Wednesday of Holy Week, Jesus washes Judas’ feet the next night.  He hosts Judas and the others disciples at the Passover meal that is meant to be enjoyed by those you consider your family.  Jesus receives Judas’ kiss of betrayal later that night.  And the next day Jesus dies for Judas and his sins.  That is what Judas was worth to Jesus. 

That is what you are worth to Jesus too, despite the ways you have valued him too little.  Remember that today.  Rejoice in the value you have in Jesus’ willing death for you, and in the value you have as a forgiven sinner today because of his death for you.  And in all the opportunities to show how much you value him as your Savior today, let thankfulness and love guide your response. 


Tuesday of Holy Week: Devotion

TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK (Matthew 21:18-25)

Tuesday is the last day of Jesus’ public ministry, and it is mostly teaching in the temple courts.  The chief priests and elders question Jesus’ authority and are stymied when Jesus tells them he will tell them where his authority is from if they can tell him if John the Baptist was from God or not.  Jesus fends off questions designed to trip him up from both the Saducees (a liberal sect of Judaism) and the Pharisees (a conservative sect of Judaism). 

Jesus teaches about the folly of rejecting him in the parable of The Two Sons, the parable of The Tenants, and the parable of The Wedding Banquet.  Jesus calls out the Pharisees’ for their hypocrisy and condemns the city’s historic rejection of the prophets God sent to call them to repentance. 

Jesus witnesses a widow giving her last coin- all she has to live on- to the Lord in her offering at the temple.  Jesus notices in her gift the love she has for the Lord and the trust she has that he will take care of her. As Jesus IS the Lord, her faith and love had to be encouraging to him, surrounded as he is in the temple by the religious elite who hate him and want to kill him.

Greeks request to see Jesus.  The desire of these Gentiles for Jesus and his gospel is also encouraging to Jesus, and he states that their coming signals that it is time for him to be glorified by his death for the salvation of all the people in the world, Jews and Gentiles.

In private, with his disciples, Jesus speaks bluntly about Judgment Day.  He tells them what signs will precede Judgments day, and in the parable of The Ten Virgins and The Talents he teaches them how to be prepared for that day and how to live as those awaiting that day.  He tells them how the Son of Man will separate the believers from the unbelievers, giving believers eternal life in heaven and consigning unbelievers to hell.

Have you ever thought of how hard it was for Jesus to teach these things on Tuesday of Holy Week?  In the story of The Tenants, he is the son who gets murdered by the evil tenants.  He tells that story knowing the day of his death is just three days away.   How his heart had to break as he warned the people of Jerusalem yet again that destruction would be their fate if they did not repent, knowing how often they had spurned his love and his prophets for centuries and how this week would not be any different. Imagine his pain as he talked about Judgment Day, knowing that, even after his suffering and death for all people, so few would care, so few would believe, and so few would end up with him in  heaven.  But as difficult as it was for him to talk about these things, he had to.  He loved his disciples, the people of Jerusalem, and even the religious leaders who wanted to kill him.  How could they repent, how could they believe and be saved, if they did not know what was at stake in trusting in him or rejecting him; if they did not understand why they needed him and why he had to die for them.  So he spoke about these things, as painful as it was for him to do that.

His Tuesday teaching is for me and you too.  It confronts us with the folly of thinking we can blow off God and live for the here and now, and get away with a faith-life that is window-dressing hypocrisy.  It reveals to us the compassionate heart of a God who does not easily give up on us, but who loves us enough to keep warning us not to go the wrong way and who loves us enough to be the way back to God and life forever in heaven with him, even when that means the way of the cross for him.

No wonder we sing hymns with titles like “What Wondrous Love Is This?”  May that wondrous love be on your mind today, and may it always be the source of peace in your heart and purpose in your life.


Monday of Holy Week: Devotion


Jesus and his disciples have stayed overnight at Bethany, and leave in the morning to go to Jerusalem, a couple of miles away. The fig tree they come upon has leaves, which means it should also have the first crop of fruit that grows from the previous year’s shoots.  But it doesn’t.  It cannot provide breakfast for Jesus and the disciples. Jesus curses the fig tree for its lack of fruit.  That tree symbolizes the spiritual fruitlessness of the people in Jerusalem.  God has sent them prophets and they have rejected and killed them.  God has sent them his Son and they will reject and kill him. The people of Jerusalem have brought God’s judgment on themselves.  But Jesus will continue to Jerusalem and let God’s judgment for their rebellion fall on him as he suffers and dies on the cross on Good Friday. 

Jesus and his disciples arrive at the temple and here is what happens:

(Matthew 21:12-17) Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'” 14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” 17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

Jesus makes it clear that the temple is really his and all about him.  His actions show he has the authority to say how things should be done. He is the object of praise at the temple, as he receives praise from the children there.  He is the source of blessing, as the blind and lame find healing from him there.

The church is still to be all about Jesus today.  His word is still the authority.  We don’t change what we believe or teach as our culture changes.  We don’t want to be self-serving or manipulative in the way we operate as a congregation.  The goal is to glorify Christ and serve others.  The church is still intended to be a place where broken sinners, broken relationships, and broken lives find healing and restoration in Jesus through the gospel; especially healing from the power and condemnation of sin through forgiveness in Jesus and restoration with the Father.

It is interesting that the religious leaders are most upset, not about all the revenue they will be losing, but that Jesus is being praised as the promised Savior- God come to earth to save his people.  This is always the real issue:  Am I willing to acknowledge Jesus as the one with authority, or do I have the right to determine for myself what is true, good, and right?   How easy it is to act as if we are the authority; to question or even be dismissive of certain teachings in the Bible or to rationalize attitudes and thinking and behaviors that we have that are contrary to God’s Word.  

But that is why Jesus had come to Jerusalem: Because you and I and the entire human race needed rescuing from our foolish and selfish rebellion against the authority of God.  His mission is only beginning as he reveals who he is there in the temple on Monday.  He is headed for the cross of Good Friday to provide us with the forgiveness we all need, and turn our hearts from seeking what we want for our self-gratification to seeking what he wants for his glory.

Praise him for such amazing mercy and grace today!   Seek that grace not only for the forgiveness you need, but for the will to live for his glory in genuine thankfulness!



I Need More

After several attempts of twisting and tapping, the lid just wouldn’t budge. “Honey, can you open this for me?” Her teenage son is eager to flex his muscles. He opens the jar and hands it back to his mother.

Life is sometimes like that jar, isn’t it? Sometimes we just don’t have the strength we need to tackle what’s in front of us. Not the strength it takes to move a piano or change a flat tire, but the strength we need to raise our children or stay married to someone who is difficult to live with. We need the strength it takes to go to work and deal with people who are rude, inconsiderate, and lazy, or to walk to the mailbox that contains bills we’ll have difficulty paying.

I need more strength!

“Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).

What should we do when we need more strength? Hand that jar over to the LORD. He has all the strength we need and so much more. After all, he is the One who created the earth and everything in it. More than that, this strong, wise, loving God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. The all-powerful God came in human weakness to rescue us from sin and death. He was condemned and crucified. Weakness, right? No! Strength! Jesus used his strength to remain on that cross until every last sin of ours had been paid for. His empty tomb proves it. “Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). Death has been defeated! The guilt of sin before God has been removed! By trusting in Jesus, life in heaven is waiting for us.

Need more strength? The One who created the earth has it. The One who died and rose for you has it. He is the One who gives us the strength to face each day with fresh confidence. Find that strength in his Word. And then be ready to soar. Be ready to soar on eagles’ wings with renewed strength and through every challenge of life! Be ready to soar on eagles’ wings to the home that Jesus has prepared for you in heaven!


March 2019: I Need More…GOOD NEWS

Indeed, we live in frazzled and frustrated times. Just turn on the nightly news. So frequently we are given reports of events that have devastated property and lives; are told about individuals that have deviated from law and order; and hear of other stories that dampen our spirits. On a regular basis, most of the news is not good news, and a depressed sigh first finds solace in the silence of a turned-off television.

Turns out, though, that we don’t have to turn on a TV to know that. We don’t even need to be near it. As our consciences rerun the past, we see where our own deviations have had a devastating impact. As a direct result, our spirits are dampened and depressed. Even life-long Christians feel the sting of past sins as their consciences cry a guilty testimony. That’s the “news” we know by nature. That’s God’s Law on sinful hearts, and that’s why stricken hearts crave more good news.

The calm to the craving is not attained by turning off; we get it by tuning in. The answer is not in blocking out God’s Word or dulling our consciences by making poor excuses. The solution is still found in what God’s good news says to every individual—even to you. The calm, promise, and solution remain the message of the gospel! Hearts are calmed at the message of Christ for us! And it’s in that message the apostle Paul, a very real sinner, would have sinners still take comfort and confidence. As he lifted Timothy’s eyes and heart to the grace of the cross, so he lifts ours: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Craving more good news? Forgiven sinner, tune in to the Savior who carried your every sin! See him in his Word! Redeemed believer, tune in to the gospel—God’s good news that quiets sin’s accusations! Hear that saving message! Beloved child of God, tune in to the trustworthy message of the Bible and let your heart sigh with thanksgiving. Jesus came to save sinners. Jesus came to save you! That’s the good news! Crave it. Enjoy it. And stay tuned in!


February 2019: I Need More…FAITHFUL FRIENDS

A friend is someone who knows all about me and likes me anyway. Have you heard that description of a

friend? How would you define what a friend is? Are you happy with the friends you have? Do you wish

you had more friends or different kinds of friends? That your friendships were healthier or more



January 2019: Jesus is the One and Only Savior

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

A common resolution at New Year’s is to lose weight and improve fitness. There are various ways people seek to reach that goal. Some strive to improve their diet, either eating smaller portions or switching to healthier foods. Others focus more on exercise, building up their strength or following a cardio workout plan. Picking any or all of those options can help a person reach a weight loss and fitness goal.


December 2018: Will I go to heaven?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

I saw my name on Santa’s list!  I was so excited.  I didn’t think it would be there.  I got mad and hit my sister on Thanksgiving Day.  I admitted my fault.  Since then, I was very well behaved.  After all, Santa brings good things to good boys, right?  I saw MY name!  I was getting a puppy for Christmas!  I did it!  I made up for my sin.

Christmas came and no puppy.  I was crushed.  I thought I deserved one.  I thought Santa loved me.  Was the name on Santa’s list someone else with the same name as mine?  Did Santa think my apology was insincere?  Was hitting my sister such a horrible thing that he would totally reject me?  No puppy that Christmas.  (It would be another 29 years before I got a puppy.)

What if God treated us like that?  We would never be sure we are going to heaven.  But God does not treat us like that, and we can be sure we are going to heaven.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” 

Notice what God did not say.  “God so loved the ones that don’t hit their sisters…”  “God so loved the good ones… the top 50%… those who help themselves.”  No, God loves sinners, all sinners, you and me.  He loves the whole world.

God gave us the greatest gift of all.  Jesus, God’s Son, came at Christmas to save the world from sin and hell.  God gave us a gift only he can give—eternal life.  God did that by sending Jesus into this world to live a life without sin.  Jesus never hit his sister.  He never even thought angry or insulting thoughts about anyone.  Jesus was punished for all our sins, in our place.  Jesus rose from the dead to guarantee our sins are paid for.  He did this for the whole world.  That includes you. 

Jesus is the greatest gift ever given.  Trusting him as your Savior, you can be certain you will go to heaven.  Enjoy God’s gift of Jesus this Christmas.