FROM THE PASTORS DESK

Please read the devotion and click on the link at the bottom to access the song, where you will be redirected from this website so you can listen and watch a video of the song's performance.  

I have prepared songs for the coming days.  If there is a hymn that speaks to you, I would welcome suggestions. 

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Wednesday, March 03, 2021 - Scripture: Ephesians 4:32 to 5:2;  Song:  “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus"
 
Another one of my favorite hymns was sung in our in-person service last Sunday as well and it fits well with our theme of serving others that I started in Monday’s song devotion.  It is “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus.”  It starts out this way, “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus, Follow his example pure.”   It then continues “Ever in his footsteps treading… Full of faith and hope and love.”  Sounds like good advice during these bummer times- pandemic, economic downturn, restrictions that are so frustrating, family problems, illnesses and more.  The hymn gets us away from our problems as it advises, “Let us do the Father’s bidding, Faithful Lord, Abide with me, Savoir lead, I follow thee.”  In these times when it seems like nobody can get along and that many folks’ main goal is see how they can hurt each other by being self-centered, we ought to follow Paul’s advice to the Ephesians in chapters 4 and 5 of his letter, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  The second and third verses of the hymn talking about suffering and dying with Jesus and we gladly do that, knowing it is all temporary.  In a worldly way, walking with Jesus and following his example might not appeal to many, but to those of us who know what Jesus went through for us, how can we do anything else?  Then the last verse of the hymn reminds that we also live with Jesus, not only now but forever in heaven and God willing, through our walk with Jesus, many will also believe and come with us to heaven.  So, in these selfish times let’s listen to the hymn and in response to his great gift of his life for us, walk with Jesus and serve others.
 
 

"Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus," by the Lutheran Quartet

Monday, March 01, 2021 - Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-14;  Song:  Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service"
 

Yesterday, in our in-person Worship service, our opening hymn was one of my favorites and one I wanted to share with you in today’s hymn devotion.  If you weren’t able to be there, it was “Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service.”   When the pandemic first hit Lots of people, it seemed that people were concerned about others.  There were phone trees to check on others, cards were sent to those who couldn’t get out, and for a little while, folks sopped thinking that it’s all about me.  As the pandemic winds down, I’m not sure it’s still that way.  It’s more like, when I am going to get my rights to go to restaurants in person back, when am I going to get my next stimulus payment back, even, when I am going to be able to go back to church being the way it was, with food and fellowship and a host of other things we’ve been missing.  As things open up, we should be thinking, how is this freedom from all these rules going to allow to serve others?  The hymn points us in the right direction.  It starts by mentioning how Christ gave the ultimate service by going to the cross for us.  Then it points out how we, with both voices and hearts, can respond in service as well.  Paul got it right when he was writing to Timothy is his first letter, chapter 1, verse 12-14: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”  Paul knew what Jesus had done for him and he was motivated to respond by serving the one who served him.  As the last verse of the hymn shares, we look for the needs and burdens stirring us to endless striving, Christ’s abundant life to share.  Now is the time to get over ourselves and start preparing for ways to serve Jesus.  There are many needs and burdens and God gives us the resources and talents to share His love by helping others.  Listen to the hymn and start your planning.  Our time to serve is coming soon.

Lord Whose Love Through Humble Service - YouTube
Friday, February 26, 2021 - Scripture: Galatians 6:14;  Song:  “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
 
It’s Friday again and the last devotion for February already.  Often times on Friday, we look back over the week and try to assess how well the week has gone.  What did I gain?  Did I make more money?  Did I get ahead at work?  Do I have more friends?  Did I impress people this week?  And often it is very depressing because we don’t measure up, even to our standards.  Today’s hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, sung a bit more contemporary maybe than you are used to by Mercy Me, talks about this.  The writer of the hymn knows that doing the things I have been talking about on Friday, or any time for that matter, is futile.  God’s standards are much higher than ours and the hymn writer realizes that we can never measure up.  Thanks be to God though, He sent Jesus to the cross for us as the hymn points out.  And again, as the hymn points out, instead of looking at our accomplishments as way of measuring up, we can only boast in the death of Christ.  The song writer is echoing the words of Paul from Galatians 6:14, our Scripture passage for today.  Paul writes: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  Nothing else matters.  The pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to share this message for our world.  For a long time, all the things we loved and measured ourselves by- our work, our sports prowess, our vacations, and more- were all taken away.  But Christ was not and will never be taken away.  As the hymn says, “My richest gain I count but loss.  And pour contempt on all my pride.”  So, this Friday, and every day for that matter, when you start to compile that list and how you did this week, and you fail again, think of the words of this hymn, and be comforted by the fact that you don’t have to measure up, in God’s eyes at least (and isn’t that who counts most?), instead boast in what Christ has done for you.  For when God looks at us, he doesn’t see our sinful and messed up selves, but he sees Christ and what he has done for us.  That’s great news, on the last Friday in February 2021, and every day.
 

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross - MercyMe (Lyrics)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - Scripture: Luke 19:10;  Song:  “My Savior and My God”
 
It’s already been a week since Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  5 more weeks to go until we get to Good Friday and Easter.  For some of you, it may seem to be going fast and for others, especially those who are fasting at times in Lent or have given up something that you really enjoy for these six weeks which has been a tradition in the church for a long time, it may seem like it is taking forever.  The tradition of giving up something for Lent helps us to, in a very small way, realize what Jesus went through in coming to earth for us.  He is the Son of God and normally sits at the right hand of God, having participated in the act of creating us and daily watching over us.  And then, just like that, he was a baby in a manger, growing up to suffer and die for us.  He came not to be glorified, but to humble himself for us.  Today’s song, “My Savior and My God,” by Aaron Shust helps us understand what that means to him and us.  He sings “That he would leave his place on high And come for sinful man to die.”  That’s right, he didn’t come only to be our example, or to teach us the right way to live, but to die for us.  Jesus himself explained it this way in our Bible text for today from Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  He came to rescue us from our sins.  That is the main message of Lent and the center of our Christian faith.  Shust goes on to sing: “You count it strange and once did I,” referring to Jesus coming for us, and then he goes on to point out that even before he knew Jesus, he was Aaron’s Savior, and yours and mine as well.  So, if Lent gets you down because you know you could never make up for your sins, and you can't figure out a way to get past the pandemic, and your family is all messed up and you can’t fix that either, remember this, Jesus death and resurrection means that He has won the victory over our sins and all those other things as well.  They are only temporary.  Heaven waits and what a blessing that is.  So, listen to the song and be comforted, and then join us for our virtual service this evening as we look at prayer as a way of returning to the Lord.  It will be posted on Facebook shortly after 5 tonight.  God bless you today and always!
 

My Savior My God (Lyric Video)

Monday, February 22, 2021 - Scripture: John 4:13-14;  Song:  “Come to Calvary´s Holy Mountain"
 
We are almost a week into Lent and I still have a long list of hymns and songs to keep us going.  As I said, Lent is time of repentance and reflecting on what we have done that sent Jesus to the cross.  We are heading toward the tragic day we call Good Friday and then three days later, the triumph of Easter. Today’s Lenten hymn, “Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain,” reminds us of what Lent is about and why we need Jesus and His cross.  It starts out, “Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain, sinners ruined by the fall,” and then gives us the remedy for our ruin as it continues, “There a pure and healing fountain flows for you, for me, for all, In a full perpetual tide, Opened when our Savior died.”  Jesus’ blood, spilled on Calvary for us, washes our sins away.  What a blessing that it is.  Then in verse 4 we return to this theme of washing as we hear, “Take the life that lasts forever; Trust this soul renewing flood.”  It echoes the words of Jesus in our Bible text for today from John 4:13-14 where Jesus is talking to the woman at the well and said about the well water, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I will give them will become in them a spring of water welling to eternal life.”  God did not leave us in our sin but through Jesus’ death and resurrection we are cleansed, we are forgiven.  So, think of Lent as a blessing rather than a bummer.  We need to be reminded or our sin so that we see our need for Jesus.  Listen to the hymn and be comforted by the forgiveness given through Jesus.  Good Friday is coming, and Easter will follow closely after.
 
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - Scripture: Genesis 3:19;  Song:  “Savior, When in Dust to Thee”

Today is Ash Wednesday, and as always, it signals the beginning of six weeks of somber repentance on behalf of Christians.  It gives me a whole different set of songs and hymns to choose from.  2 weeks into Lent last year, was also the beginning of the pandemic and the beginning of me writing these devotions.  So, if you have a really good memory, you might see some repeats as I choose the songs.  But as much as it seems that circumstance remain the same in the pandemic, they really are different.  Our numbers of virus cases reported go down daily, instead of up, and the hope of the vaccine gives us a different perspective. We are still limited by what we will do this Lent, with the example of most churches not doing ashes this year, but we are able to meet together each week as we will for our annual Communion service.  Even though we might not do ashes, the theme of what they represent still carries on and so my first Lenten hymn for this year is titled, “Savior, When in Dust to Thee.”  And the end of each verse reflects the Lenten prayer of all Christians, “Hear our penitential cry.”   Dust represented by placing ashes on the head traditionally represents mourning and it fits the season, as the hymn points out, we mourn all that Jesus suffered on our behalf, includes his death on the cross for us.  The dust also reminds us that God created us from dust and that because of our sin, in death we will return to dust.  As Moses wrote in Genesis 3:10, our Bible passage for today, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from dust you were taken and to dust you shall return.”  These words you may recognize as the ones Pastors and Priests speak as they impose ashes on your forehead (in a normal year anyway.)  So, listen to the hymn and may it help begin again the process of being reminded of all that Jesus suffered for us as he headed toward the cross.  And remember that from the horror of the cross to the glory of the resurrection was only a 3-day trip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQefbLR0TYc

Monday, February 15, 2021 - Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:20;  Song: "Evidence"
Two days and counting.  Yesterday was Transfiguration Sunday and the last Sunday in Epiphany.  And now it’s two days until we begin the penitential season of Lent with Ash Wednesday, six weeks to consider our sins and how they sent Jesus to the cross.  I was trying to find a song that would help us build a bridge between the celebration of Jesus, the Light,  the season that we call Epiphany and that somber season called Lent when we look at our suffering Savior, who of course, is also Jesus.  I think I found it in the song by Josh Baldwin called “Evidence.”  In Epiphany, we saw the Old Testament promises of the Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus as he preached to the poor and downtrodden, performed miracles predicted by the prophets including turning water into wine at the Wedding at Cana.  And in Lent, we continue to see the promises of the Old Testament fulfilled as Jesus suffers on his way to Jerusalem and his final suffering and death on the cross.  As Josh sings in the song: “I see your promises in fulfillment.”  Josh sings: “See the cross, the empty tomb, the evidence is endless.  All my sins rolled away, because of you, Oh Jesus.”  Or as Paul puts it in our Bible reference for today in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so, through him, the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God."  In both the Epiphany season and in Lent, Paul’s referral to God’s promises rings true.  They are “Yes” in Christ.  As we celebrate the end of the Epiphany season and head into the somber season of Lent, the evidence of God’s love for us in Jesus is endless.  So, listen to today’s song and know the depth of love that God has shown for you in sending his Son, Jesus.  And may that love get you through all the struggles that life presents.
 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CmW_n7_XF8

Previous Devotions

February Devotions
February 21.pdf
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January Devotions.pdf
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December devotions.pdf
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