- Our relationship with Christ is interwoven with our relationship with our spouse.
- Our bond in our marriage connects our children to their relationship with Christ. Again, everything is interwoven.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
The news has been especially seedy lately. Not just the news, but also our reaction to it. Whether it’s Harold Camping and the end of the world, or the latest celebrity to have their adultery publicized, everyone has an opinion. And thanks to the internet and endless talk and news shows, there is no shortage of platforms on which to share. It is all too easy to make others an object of our ridicule, mockery, or just plain amusement. Even the victims of the tornado in
Some of the comments posted on-line show great compassion while others are just plain maddening, but one note I read recently prompted my own desire for a platform. The comment was in response to a previous one stating that the writer would keep the people of
This idea, no, this lie frustrates me. I want to reach across time and space, and look into the eyes of the writer and say, “People will come and help. They will bring clothes, and food, and medical supplies, and God’s promise of grace and salvation through his son Jesus. Don’t you see? People will come and help because they are an answer to our prayers. This is one of the many ways God cares for his children.”
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working,” James .
The day after the tornado struck, several members of our community were already making plans to head to
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working,” James .
You may not have the time or resources to help the people of
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working,” James .
What a blessing it is to know that God does indeed hear our prayers, and uses us in the depth of our sin, to care for his most prized possession. How privileged we are to share all our gifts of God. You are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for this.
May I never doubt that you hear and answer all my prayers. Guide my responses to those in need so that all I say and do may glorify your name. Help me use the earthly gifts you have given me to care for my neighbors and point them always to the eternal gifts of grace, faith, and salvation through your son, Jesus Christ.
In His Name Alone, Amen.
Friday, May 27, 2011
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
Today is the last day of school for my children! However, the mood is not as celebratory as in years past. Why? Because our community is preparing for a flood. This flood is not a maybe thing, nor are we unaware when it will occur. We know that the Missouri River is rising, and we know that it will be well above flood stage before the weekend arrives. All we can do as a community is prepare, and be ready.
So there is fear, and worry, and also a great sense of everyone pitching in and helping their neighbors.
And yet, we can rest in the comfort that we know exactly who sits enthroned over the flood. Are we alone as we fight this flood? No. Are we alone when we fight the other floods of this life? No.
And then I am comforted by the fact that the very water that has the power to destroy communities is the very same water that is used to grant us life and salvation through Holy Baptism. It gives entirely new strength to the words of Martin Luther, "How can water do such great things?" God continues to save us through the washing and rebirth of baptism, and he will surely be with our community as we fight floodwaters.
A fitting prayer for us all today is one used during the order of Holy Baptism:
Almighty and Eternal God, according to Your strict judgement You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. You drowned hard-hearted Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, yet led Your people Israel through the water on dry ground, foreshadowing this washing of Your Holy Baptism. Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood and a lavish washing away of sin.
We pray that You would behold us according to Your boundless mercy and bless us with true faith by the Holy Spirit , that through this saving flood all sin in us, which has been inherited from Adam and which we ourselves have committed since, would be drowned and die.
Grant that we be kept safe in the holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated from the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, we would be declared worthy of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
2 Samuel 9:18
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
In the past, whenever I read or heard the words, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” I always thought of the Truth about salvation; the Truth about Jesus. In the verses leading up to this, Jesus was responding to the Pharisees who were questioning His identity. But here, He speaks to “the Jews who had believed in Him.”
To those who believe in Him, when we abide in His word, we are convinced even more of the Truth about who Jesus is. But I recently saw this verse in a new light. I can see now that this is not the only Truth that can contribute to our freedom in Christ.
I’m looking ahead to a summer with my three kids at home, and I’m a little nervous. I feel like I need a refresher course in parenting. I’ve been wondering where to turn. There are a number of Truths that I can find in the Word that will be of great use to me.
When I’m concerned about the self-esteem of my children: Each of them are made in his image (Genesis 1:27), are of great value to their Father (Matt 10:31), and He has even written their names on his hand (Isaiah 49:16).
When we are moping around about our failures: For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (I Thes 5:9-11)
When they are afraid, God will be with them (Joshua 1:9). When they complain about chores, we can talk about working for God (Ephesians 6:7). When they feel like giving up, we can talk about seeking about God for help (Psalm 46:1).
God’s Truths about life and living are revealed to me every time I seek out His Word. These Truths set us free from the misleading messages of the world we live in. They set me free from the frustration Satan would have me swimming in. I am so thankful for the Truth.
Lord, in the midst of my day parenting small children, cleaning up big messes, breaking up fights, and explaining the way the world works – help me to look to Your Word for the answers we need. Remind me to seek Your Truths to teach me and my children how much You love us. Amen.
I've never been really great at saying prayers. I should classify this--saying "spontaneous" prayers. Maybe it's my Lutheran upbringing, but I'd much rather say prayers that I have memorized.
The first prayer I remember saying is "Now I Lay Me."
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Life brings change, a lot of change, constant change, and a whole lotta out of our control change. For weeks I have been preparing my instrumental and piano students for their recital, to take place today. Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon baking 8 different batches of cookies and other goodies to serve at the recital. This morning I got all my needed supplies ready and took them over to the school in preparation for the recital. I spent the afternoon celebrating the graduation of a local high schooler. When I returned home I found that we had no power. The recital was supposed to happen in just over an hour. But if power was out at my house, that meant it was out at the school too. I quickly called the principal and he made plans with me on what to do. Ultimately we decided the best option was to cancel. Not only did we not have power but the weather outside was really bad.
Isn't it so frustrating when you work hard on something only to have it completely fall apart? Sure, it's not the worst thing that can happen in life. But when you work hard on something and you stress about making it great and it doesn't happen it doesn't feel good! Although people mean well, I'm always entertained when someone says "This too shall pass." As moms we encounter a lot of situations that are frustrating, exhausting, and overwhelming. No they aren't cancer or bankruptcy or something devastating like that. But in the moment they are a lot to handle and they cause stress!
How awesome is it to know that there is one plan that absolutely will not change, God's plan for our salvation. There are so few guarantees in our lives, but this is one you can bank on. I know that on a day like today when I have dealt with a lot of "out of my control" circumstances, it's nice to have a peace about knowing where my future absolutely lies. Perhaps remembering to "Be Still and know that I am God" will help me as I encounter the big and little situations that life sends my way.
Today as life doesn't go the way I plan, please help me to handle that in a way that is a positive example for my children. Thank you for being the God that doesn't change, for providing us with scripture that doesn't change, and for securing salvation for us.
Friday, May 20, 2011
"Lord, You know my inadequacies. You know my weaknesses, not only in parenting, but in every area of my life. I'm doing the best I can to raise my kids properly, but it may not be good enough. As You provided the fish and the loaves to feed the five thousand hungry people, now take my meager effort and use it to bless my family. Make up for the things I do wrong. Satisfy the needs that I have not met. Compensate for my blunders and mistakes. Wrap Your great arms around my children, and draw them close to You. And be there when they stand at the great crossroads between right and wrong. All I can give them is my best, and I will continue to do that. I submit them to You now and rededicate myself to the task You have placed before me. The outcome rests securely in Your hands
Thursday, May 19, 2011
As mothers we are constantly challenged to be on top of everything...we need to be organized, have a clean house, cook yummy food, help out at school, have well behaved children, the list could go on and on. If you are like me you have probably figured out trying to accomplish all this can drive you to the brink of insanity. All of these things can trump the most important thing we need to be doing...Growing HIS kids. I've recently been pondering some of the priorities in our family and been working on a list of reminders. So far here's what I have come up with:
Nothing is more important to me than raising my children in Christ. If that means the dishes have to wait a little while, then that's okay! Don't let the daily chores of motherhood push aside the most important one!
This week as I am challenged by all the things that need to be done, help me to turn my eyes to you. Help me to encourage my own children as they grow in faith. Help me to make that my number one job to accomplish each day.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
Fought…and…Won. Welcome…Home…Daddy! Hamburgers…for…Dinner.
Maybe you’ve seen the weekend news segment where viewers share their stories in just three words. The meaning behind these statements varies from tear-jerking to just plain silly.
I have my own three word statement. It’s a powerful one. It has the potential to change not only me, but my relationship with my family and friends as well. But, for some reason, one I can’t explain, this three word statement is very difficult for me to say. Instead of rolling off my tongue, the words stop at the back of my throat, and are too often replaced by weak, meaningless substitutes. As a pastor’s wife, this revelation seems odd to me, and frankly, a little embarrassing. Of all people, I should be able to say these words without hesitation right? It’s not that I don’t understand them, or desire greatly to offer the meaning behind the words, I just have a hard time saying them. The words, “I…Forgive…You,” feel like they should come naturally. They don’t, and this troubles me. But, (here’s my attempt to drag you down with me) these words are seldom spoken by other moms I know either. Listen. I think you’ll agree.
We teach our children to say things like, “Don’t worry about it,” or “Forget it,” “That’s okay,” or my personal crutch “Thank you.” (Lame, I know.) Here’s the problem. Sin is never okay, and worry is the natural emotion that follows when you’re not sure that a friend really will forget how badly you hurt her. These substitutes, carry with them nothing but the means to an end of a conversation, an argument, or quite possibly even a relationship. This is not what our Savior intends for us.
The words, “I forgive you” unlike any other response, offer the healing that can only come through the One who said them first. “Forgive” carries with it love, and compassion, and restoration. No cheap knock off even comes close. The word, “forgive” is a witness to the fact that our own sins have drowned and died in the waters of baptism and we are a people recreated every day in the image of God. “Forgive” provides a witness to Christ himself, who died to make forgiveness possible, and rose to someday make it obsolete.
Why is it so difficult for me to say, “I forgive you?” They are words that I desire my children to know well from me, and they’re ones that I want them to be able to offer in return. I’m out of practice. Maybe you are too. Let’s change this together.
I pray that starting today, when our friends, our children, and our spouses come to us seeking forgiveness, we can answer them with the same words that Jesus says to us. “Take heart, my son, your sins are forgiven” Matthew 9:2
Christ suffered, died, and rose for this!
Author of Forgiveness,
Help me use your words today as a first step in offering healing to myself and others. Don’t allow me to present my children and my spouse with any type of substitute for your forgiving grace. Remind me always of your presence, and enable me to forgive as you have forgiven me.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
As I thought about our schedule this past week, I didn't come to the conclusion that we were incredibly over-scheduled, nor did I consider dropping any of the activities. Thankfully, dance ends soon and we only have a short time of overlapping of activities. But I did think about what message I was sending to my children when I let the stuff of this world nudge out the precious time I usually spend discipling our children. You see, in the past few weeks, they have asked me to read them Bible stories before bed, and I am embarrassed to say that I told them no many times because I was tired and it was past their bedtime.
I haven't spent as much time in the Word as I would have liked to either. And this really bothered me when I thought about where our time was going over the past few weeks. I realized that I have let the stuff of this world become more important than my relationship with Christ. And what convicted me even more was that my kids knew it.
"Mommy, why haven't we been reading our Bible lately?" Ugghh! God was certainly speaking to me through my children. These past few weeks have made me realize that while learning how to play sports and the piano are all good activities, in no way can they replace the gift of knowing God and continually living in His grace.
Thankfully, it's that grace that allows me to be forgiven and start over . . . this time with God as my priority and not the stuff of this world.
Dear Jesus, There is nothing better than living in your grace and knowing that the Holy Spirit lives inside of me. Please help me to keep you as my number one priority and to disciple my children so that they will know you and love you as they go up against the things of this world. Amen.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Do you ever feel like the whole day's checklist got sabotaged by interruptions? If you're like me, sometimes this makes me frustrated, discouraged, and even angry at times. If I call someone at home, I have even made a habit of asking "is this a bad time?" before launching into conversation, because I know how disturbing interruptions can be! I can tell my 2-year old to "go play now" and "mommy needs to get this done," but it never fails that I will still get interrupted several times into the course of my task with his needs or wants. "Juice, mommy. Hit the ball, mommy. Snack, mommy. Run with me, mommy?"
Jesus had interruptions too, and in Mark, we learn about a woman who interrupted the Master on his way to perform a healing. From the expanded context, I don't believe she was trying to interrupt him. There was a large crowd "pressing around him," and so she figured just touching the hem of his garments would be enough to indiscreetly heal her without causing a scene or disturbing his important mission. Instead, Jesus teaches us all a lesson on the significance of taking time for what some would consider interruptions. He stops and confronts her, assures her of healing and peace, and praises her for her faith.
How can we become more Christ-like in our daily tasks when God provides us with interruptions? Is the phone call from the neighbor a chance to provide encouragement to another mom who is lonely? Is the urgent request from a toddler God using us to reassure him of peace and provision? At the end of this day, join me in reflecting back and thanking God for the blessing of interruptions which led us into moments of service to Him as we extended His grace and love to others.
Father God, You are the author and perfecter of my life and of this day. You have ordained each day of my life and written it in your book before even one came to be. Help me to be thankful in the midst of life's interruptions, and give me strength to extend love and grace to the people you are placing in my path for your purposes. Thank you for using me as part of your plan! In Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I Corinthians 13
As my 3-year-old sometimes says - “Today I’m having a rough day!” J She’s hilarious. And it’s a good thing, because really – I’m a little off lately. And as a result I have had a few not-so-great-moments. You know those? After the dust settles you look around and wonder ‘What just happened?’
I tried to pray after my rough morning, but mostly all I could say was “I’m sorry, Lord, I just don’t even know what to say right now… I just don’t know what to say…” As the day went on, I finally found my thankfulness and at top of my list was my Faithful, Never-Changing God. After a morning like mine, I was so thankful for the kind of Love my Savior has for me.
It’s not wishy-washy and it’s not dependent on how nice I am. It’s not like my 3-year-old’s emotional whirlwinds –
Me: “No, honey, I’m sorry I told you we aren’t having candy right now.”
Daughter: “AHHH! You are the meanest mommy ever!”
Then 2 minutes later…
Daughter: “Mommy, mommy, look at what I found! It’s my new favorite book you got me yesterday! I’m so happy! You’re the best mommy ever…”
It’s not dependent on how good of a day He is having, it’s not about whether I’m a good listener or not, and it’s not about whether I’m speaking His love language. He just loves me. I can’t help but think about Paul’s description of love in Corinthians:
“Love is patient, love is kind…it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth… Love never fails…. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
I like what my study Bible notes for that last verse, verse 13: “…God is love (1Jn 4:8) and has communicated His love to us (I Jn 4:10) and commands us to love one another (Jn 13:34-35). Love supersedes the gifts because it outlasts them all. Long after these sought-after gifts are no longer necessary, love will still be the governing principle that controls all that God and his redeemed people are and do.”
As a Mom who loves her kids, and a wife who loves her husband... As a woman who loves her friends and a daughter who loves her family – all I can do is have Faith that my God will enable me to Love. I can Hope for a life that continues to learn how to Love. And I can try to live life motivated by Love. But above all these things, I’m thankful that my God’s love is consistent no matter what I do. Thank you, Jesus.
Thank you, Lord, for the things I can be sure of - Your faithfulness and your love. Forgive me for falling short of loving. Help me to remember that no matter what, you are here for me. Help me to teach this to my children.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Soon afterward [Jesus] went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!" And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.
So how was your Mother’s Day? If you are on Facebook the week preceeding this one, took on a Mother’s Day flavor as people posted photos of their mother as their profile photo. I pray that your Mother’s Day was a joyful celebration of God’s gift of motherhood.
But there is a tough reality… what about all those people for whom Mother's Day is a difficult day? How about the mothers whose children have died- through miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, as a child, or as an adult? How about those women who long to be mothers yet their wombs and arms are empty? How about those who don’t feel like they are doing such a great job mothering, or who feel taken for granted by their families. How about those people whose relationship with their mothers is broken, or non-existent?
Mother’s Day, actually holidays in general, can be very difficult for people suffering from disappointment, hurt, loss and brokenness.
Our scripture passage for the day has a broken hearted mother encountering Christ. Look at the words “… the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.” Do you notice Christ’s emotion – Compassion! Christ had compassion on this mother. He has compassion on all mothers, all women.
The people responded to Jesus’ healing miracle. They recognized who Christ is - a prophet and God. Report about him spread – our modern technology has nothing on word of mouth (I got to experience that firsthand during a mission trip to Haiti this spring). What was the report that spread? That he healed someone, and more… the report of his compassion and God visiting his people.
God has visited his people. Christ is Immanuel – God with us… His last words to his disciples are “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Christ is with us and he has compassion on us.
Heavenly Father, we know that tragedy and brokenness knows no bounds, striking people of every nation, age and station in life. Thank you God, for your great compassion in sending Jesus as the Savior for all people. Your Gospel shows He has conquered every foe for us, holidays that are difficult to bear, earthly sorrows, even death and the grave. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Ican’t imagine how different my life would be if I didn’t have the supportive friends that I have today. Being a full-time mom and wife is really hard. Sometimes a friend’s encouraging words give me the extra boost I need to survive a rough day. My friends are generous and compassionate. They Love Jesus and they help me stay focused on Him.
Friends search for the right words to help one another when we face the scary parts of life. Sometimes we tell each other, “Don’t forget – God won’t give you more than you can handle!”
I love that my friends think I can “handle” it, but something about this always makes me think twice. It’s only recently that I really thought long and hard about this. I have been reading a book about the early Lutheran church and I have been reminded of my “inability to save myself.” Sure, I have a tendency to want to be in control, to attempt to fix the messes I’ve made, to think I’ve got it figured out. But I’m reminded – when I lose patience with my daughter, start worrying about the bills, or feel overwhelmed /dismayed with the laundry – that I have a long way to go.
I can’t “handle” it, and I started to think that God doesn't want ME to handle it. Where does He want me to go when I get frustrated? To whom should I take my worries? How can I dig my way out of this pile of laundry? Certainly I do not have these answers.
I just started the chapter called The Spirituality of Ordinary Life. As moms, I think many of us feel called to the very special, “ordinary” job of raising our kids. It involves sticky messes, excessive whining, bodily fluids, and sibling arguments. It’s exhausting and some days we might not feel like we can keep it together.
But God wants to strengthen and uphold me in my ordinary job. He wants to pull me up out of the stickiness and give me the right words to say to my babies. He wants me to pray without ceasing. He wants to “handle it” for me.
There are a lot of moms facing tough days ahead. Worry can be a heavy burden to carry all alone. Our friends are there to help us; but the friend we need the most is our Jesus. He tells us to give it to Him. He will carry us; He will move in our hearts and minds and take care of our families. He can pick me up, and all my messes, and I don’t have to “take care of” everything. God can handle it for me.
Today, Let God Handle It.
Lord, I give you my day. I give you my worries, my anxiety, my stresses. I can’t handle it, Lord. It doesn’t mean I’m not supposed to be a mom. It doesn’t mean I’m going to have a bad day. It means I’m going to give it to you. I’m going to rest in your arms, refer decision-making to you, and seek out the Joy you earned for me. Thank you, Lord, that YOU can handle it. Amen.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Burden – my New Oxford American Dictionary defines it like this: “a load, especially a heavy one. Figurative - a duty or misfortune that causes hardship, anxiety, or grief; a nuisance – the main responsibility for achieving a specified aim or task.”
Life certainly does have many burdens that each of us carry. As we can see in this definition, burden can take on many forms. Some of them are burdens that we gladly take on, maybe even pray for, such as a leadership role in our church or community, a home to care for, the responsibility of a job, children to raise in the love of the Lord, education for ourselves and our children, or dedicating our time and energy to the study of God’s Word. Other burdens we don’t look for and they come unwelcomed into our lives, such as financial hardship, illness, disabilities, fractured relationships, or the death of a loved one.
Whether a burden is one we gladly welcome as a treasured responsibility or one that is brought about by misfortune, it is so good to know that God, our Savior, daily bears our burdens. As we deal with an illness, we bring it to God in prayer and He carries us through. As we raise our children in the love of the Lord, we bring it to God in prayer and He guides us. As we mourn the loss of a loved one, we bring it to God in prayer and He comforts us. As the hymn so beautifully says, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” LSB 770
As the Lords helps us bear our burdens, let’s keep in mind that Jesus bore the greatest burden that we all have, our sin. He took that burden, carried it to Golgotha, and died so that our sin would be lifted from us. Then, three days later He rose from the grave, firmly putting sin, death, and the devil in their place. Knowing this, we all the more gladly proclaim, “Praise be to the God, our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us for the times when we try and bear our burden on our own and forget to turn to You in prayer. Help us Lord to come to You in prayer knowing with confidence that You do carry our burdens with us and for us. Thank you for loving us enough to send Your Son, Jesus, to carry our greatest burden of sin and death and bring us forgiveness and life eternal. Amen.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Occasionally, as I am flipping through radio stations in the car, I will hear a song that takes me
back to junior high or senior high school. I usually find that the words of the song have become
fuzzy in my memory (although I can belt out the chorus with gusto, much to the horror of my
teenage children). After a short trip down memory lane, I realize how empty the song was; how
meaningless the words, and how annoying the melody.
My experience in church is, thankfully, very different. Each year, as we pass through the
seasons of the church year, we sing the same hymns over and over. Some of them I have been
singing for my full 42 years, others are fairly new to our congregation. But all of them are
bursting with the Gospel message of our salvation. All of them point to Jesus Christ. Funny
thing, I never get tired of them. I open my hymnal while doing laundry and flip through the
hymnbook, singing while I work. I sing hymns while my youngest is falling asleep, hoping that
the last words he hears as he dozes off will sink into his soul as he sleeps. I rouse my sleeping
teenagers with “Awake my soul, and with the sun, your daily course of duty run…” (LSB 868).
They might not find this joyful at the time, but I’m hoping that these songs of faith will last
longer for them, than the empty noise that fills the airwaves for this generation.
As much as I try to shield them from all of the crazy media, reality says that I cannot be with
them 24/7. What I can do is give them as much exposure to the hymns of praise that they
will share with their own children as they continue their faith life in the church. Hopefully,
when I join them for Easter Sunday years from now, we will all sing “Jesus Christ is ris’n today,
Alleluia” (LSB 457) with hearts full of gratitude for our savior!
Dear Lord, I ask that you guard the hearts and minds of our children from all of the empty
messages from the media today. Give them the assurance of the free gift of salvation from you
and fill their hearts with “Songs of thankfulness and praise! (LSB 394)” Amen.
Just a note: Although my own personal preference is to sing the traditional hymns of the
Lutheran faith, I know many prefer contemporary worship. You can fill in the devotion with
your own personal favorite songs of faith.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
My daughter is definitely not what you would call a morning person, truth be told, neither are her parents. Getting her up at in the morning to catch the bus for school requires the utmost patience, but also provides for some rather humorous moments. Not long ago, the sleepy girl fished a pair of jeans out of the dryer to wear to school. It wasn’t until she returned home that day that I noticed she had mistakenly worn her older brother’s jeans to school. The three sizes too big pants were dragging on the ground, completely covering her shoes as she got off the bus that afternoon. It is still a mystery to me how she kept them on at all throughout the day.
Often as a mom I feel that the job I have to do is three sizes too big for me. Whether it is not wanting to make dinner, and declaring a “fend for yourself” night, or groaning at a request to read the same book for the tenth time that day. Whether it’s fumbling for the words to explain why we don’t wear the same pair of underwear three days in a row, or why a friend has died. Some days I am convinced it is too much, and I feel as though I am more times than not, ill equipped to handle the job.
That’s where my great cloud of witnesses comes into play. Not only do my witnesses remind me that the race is not one that I run by myself, but they also remind me it’s one where five star meals, sparkling white clothes, and well behaved trips to the grocery store are not even the goal. They remind me upon whom my eyes are to be fixed as I seek guidance to answer the tough questions, and who I can turn to when there are no earthly answers.
You have a great cloud of witnesses too. It’s your mom who walked you into your first Sunday school class, your girlfriend who answers your Facebook post with a story about when their child also wore something embarrassing to school, and your sister-in-law who calls to check in even though your turn to call her first has long since passed. It’s every other mom who has ever questioned whether she is doing enough for her family and praised the Lord when her children actually survive their childhood to be respectful, productive adults who love their Savior.
For all of the moms with whom I run side by side; I thank my God every time I remember you. I love the fact that many of you will actually spend time this week planning your own Mother’s Day “surprise.” I love the stories you tell, the forgiveness you offer, and the hope that you share. I love the fact that I get to raise my children with other moms who look to Jesus as the true source of their joy. I love my cloud of witnesses.
Thank you for the great cloud of witnesses I have. Thank you for the support that they give me as I raise my children to know the salvation you have prepared for us all. Be with me every step of the way today, and help me keep my eyes fixed on your Son.
In His name I pray, Amen.