Monday, March 1, 2021
“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
Waiting is not easy for me. We live in any instant society – fast food, instant potatoes, remote control T.V., so we do not have to wait to turn the channel, fast speed internet… Recently we got new computers, they are so nice. We got them because we were having to wait for them to boot up, and then wait between typing sentences. The old ones were so annoying. With all the pandering to our wants and wanting it NOW, it is super hard to wait.
David reminds the reader that we are to wait for the Lord. During this Lenten season, the challenge is to turn off the fast-paced world around us and focus on God. God is our help and our shield. One of the spiritual disciplines that challenges me most is the discipline of meditation. Taking time in silence to read and then meditate on a scripture. It takes time. We must wait.
For us to get the fullness of God’s unfailing love, we should practice meditation and contemplation. Take some time today to wait in hope that Jesus is with you. Take time to ask him to be your help and shield.
Prayer: Jesus, I’m sorry that I try to “get done” with my devotions so that I can check it off my list. May you fill my heart with your love and help me to pause long enough to allow my heart to rejoice because we trust in you. Help me slow down and listen. My hope is in you, Lord. Amen
Pastor Kevin Gingerich
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
“Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares for you.” Peter 5:7
Fully Rely on God
While on vacation in Illinois my daughter who was three at that time had been sick on and off with a very high fever. My husband was not able to come with us due to work. He had to go on the road for his job. One afternoon she had a seizure in my mom’s arms. We tried to cool her down with cool water, but she was unconscious. As I was on the phone with 9-1-1, my husband called. I told him what was going on. He happened to be about halfway between Iowa & Illinois at that point. He hopped out of the work vehicle and sent the crew on without him. He called his family to help him find a way to make it to us. Once we arrived at the hospital she woke up, but she was crying and she didn’t seem recognize me. The ambulance had given her a stuffed animal before they left. Once inside, they were doing all sorts of tests and assessments. I was so scared. I did have my mom with me and that made me feel a little better that I was not alone. For over 3 hours she seemed to have lost the ability to talk and understand. I thought that she had brain damage. They told me that they needed to do a spinal tap to rule out a meningitis. That terrified me. It was at this time during the procedure that my Pastor called. I explained everything that was going on and how scared I was. I told him how my husband was on his way to us. I also told him about the stuffed animal that the ambulance gave her. It was a frog that was covered in pink and purple hearts. Pink and purple happen to be her favorite colors, and as I was telling him all this it hit me. F.R.O.G. (Fully Rely on God). At that very moment, I had a sense of peace come over me. God had been giving me the message that he had everything under control. A little bit later, my daughter waking up from the sedation of the procedure. She was starting to talk and understand again. That was a praise God moment!! About an hour later my husband arrived at the hospital, praises again. The next day, they did an EEG to see if she had a seizure disorder. They didn’t find anything, so they said that it was a febrile seizure. It wasn’t until 3 days later that we found out, that what caused all this was a UTI. More things to thank God for! The doctors struggled to find something strong enough to treat this, while working around her medication allergies she had. After trying two different antibiotics and her having a reaction to them, they finally came up with a compound antibiotic that worked. We spent six days total in the hospital. If I didn’t have God and the reminder of his love through this time it would have been unbearable. He was there for our family, working everything out. He made sure my husband was as close as he possibly could be on their route so that he was able to come to us as quickly as possible and that he called at the exact moment that he did. He didn’t send me a burning bush to get my attention, He sent a FROG.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for always taking such great care for us. When I am scared, you remind me to FULLY RELY ON YOU. Thank you for your reminders and your love. Thank you for sending your one and only Son for us! Amen.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
“The word of the Lord came to me, saying ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ ‘Ah Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” The word of the Lord came to me: ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ ‘I see the branch of an almond tree,’ I replied. The Lord said to me, ‘You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” Jeremiah 1: 4-12
It was December of 2014. It was the night of the Children’s Christmas Program, and I was getting ready to be the narrator. I really didn’t think much of this event, because it was just supposed to be a fun night for the kids and their parents. Little did I know that this event would change my life forever. As I was just about ready to walk down the center of the sanctuary to my seat, all of the lights went out to give it this movie theater type of atmosphere. Then, there was a light that was shining ever so brightly from the cross. I could not keep my eyes from it as I was then overcome by emotion. Tears started to roll down my cheeks and I could feel this light and pleasing breeze. Finally, I saw an angelic figure walking down the center of the sanctuary and motioning its hands towards the pulpit. After seeing this, I guess you could say that I came to. I was confused. I went on that night as if nothing happened. Throughout the next week, I was praying more than I ever have before because I wanted answers. I even went to talk to the pastor to try and understand what was going on. Well, after some time, I started to realize that this was God calling me, not only to ministry, but calling me to Him. Before this event, I told everybody that no one was going to get in my way to being a sports broadcaster, because that was my dream! I can admit though, I was not expecting God to be the one telling me to do something different, something for Him. It has been a journey ever since that night. I decided to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior for the first real time that week, and I have not looked back. There was a scripture that helped me understand what was going on and made me feel at peace with what I was about to do with my life. It was Jeremiah 1: 4-12. After reading this, I could not believe all of the comparisons between how I felt during my calling and how Jeremiah felt during his. Not only did this prove that God does call people to His work, but it also taught me that God calls EVERYONE to a purpose, and that is to glorify God with everything that we are. Sometimes I don’t like telling this story because it makes me sound crazy, or it makes some people sad that they were never given a vision, or a calling like this. At the same time, I feel honored to tell this story because of how much God can truly impact a person’s life. I did not care about God that much before this, but now He is my everything. God’s calling is never late, and He always knows what He is doing. We were all made with a purpose and to fulfill our mission on Earth. No matter where we are, who we are, and what we do, God will put a calling in our lives to glorify Him. Whether it comes from a voice, a dream, a vision, or anything else, we need to open our ears and listen to what He is trying to tell us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask for your words. Let us understand where you are calling us to, and what you are calling us to do. Give me the courage and wisdom to go out and fulfill that purpose in our lives.
Thursday, March 4, 2021
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33
Money seems to be something everyone needs in todays society. It’s what sadly has driven our world for an extremely long time. As people who have little control over society, we do what is needed to survive. We work to pay bills, taxes, etc. All understandable expenses, but we become flooded with wants and desires in such an economy driven world. We become prey to advertisements for nice cars, the latest electronics, luxury vacations, expensive cloths, jewelry and fancy homes.
I’m reminded how complete I am without such things, through Matthew’s teachings, I am realizing the treasures promised to me in Heaven and that my focus should be in God’s plan other than my own.
Prayer: Lord God, I ask you for nothing because you’ve given me everything. I thank you for blessing me with another day to praise you that I have been given salvation and I store my treasures in heaven, not in the worldly things. Amen.
Friday, March 5, 2021
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. Deuteronomy 28:1
As I read this verse this morning from the February 4th devotion in the Upper Room, it made me think about our great nation. This nation was founded by our forefathers with the help of God. He was by their side as they labored to put down our constitution. They had brilliant minds and with God’s help they put this great document down. Since 9/11 we started seeing the sign, all over that said“God Bless America.’ This irritated me because he has and is blessing America for over 200 years. The only war we have seen on our soil was the Civil War, never being invaded by hostile forces. I don’t think this has just been the luck of the draw! We have been protected because of our strong Christian values. That is being blessed by our God. Now because of our decline in Christian values, he is slowly withdrawing this protection, he is shaking us up, saying wake up people! And guess what —- we don’t like it! It’s simple people, we need to get back to Christian values and look to God for answers not mere man or the government. All the abortions that have been performed in this country and others are going to need to be accounted for. Blood will account for blood shed.
Wake up American people — before it’s too late! All we need to do is repent and turn from our wicked ways and follow his commands that are tucked into his word, both new and Old Testaments. The Lord’s ire is up!
Prayer: Merciful LORD, Hear the prayers of your faithfully people. Help heal this land. Create in us a clean heart. Amen
Saturday, March 6, 2021
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together and them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Birth…Death…Resurrection. These concepts have met me face to face in the past week. While most of the time these remain in the background of my thoughts, as day to day life goes on, they have been rushed to the forefront with the passing of my mom. Birth. The majority of the time this is a wonderfully joyous occasion. The anticipation of pregnancy is culminated in the arrival of this new, helpless life that burrows itself deep into your heart with its first cry. We would go anywhere, do whatever, give anything for this new life. We hope to nurture and nourish and train this new life. We hope to raise it, providing it with all the joys and experiences that would make each day full of all the good things that life in this world has to offer. And to shelter it in every possible way from the trials and sorrows and disappointments that might come.
But, and this is not something to bring up at a baby shower, the truth of this world is that from the moment of our birth we face death. Tragically, to some this comes just as life is starting and for others the years have added up to triple digits. God’s plan was for us to enjoy the amazing body He created for us for a long, long time. But we changed that plan when we decided to do things our own way. This was a choice He gave us and we chose poorly. The reality of death entered the world and with it finality, separation and sadness have been with us since Adam.
But, and this is a wonderful but, God in His love for us provided a solution for the death we brought upon ourselves. He gave us a gift that restores to us the promise of a full life that was His original intention. This is the bedrock of our faith. This brings light into the darkness. This changes sorrow into joy. This brings hope to each new day. This is what gives us peace in the midst of turmoil. Jesus is this gift. He came and experienced this life and importantly experienced death. But He changed death into something that no longer needed to be feared. He rose back to life, was resurrected! He offers to share with us this same resurrection. He is the healer, the restorer. He gives the confidence that we will see our loved ones again. We believe that we can trade this earthy, wonderfully made body for one that is unimaginable.
This is the rock of truth that we stand on. Sure, there’s an empty place that the loved one once filled. Habits and routines are changed because they are gone. However, the pain and sorrow of saying goodbye in this world is tempered by the anticipation of saying hello in a bright wonderful new place. Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of life and the promise of one day being with You!