enjoy a dose of our....

Daily Devotional

  • Monday, March 4th

    Yesterday we looked a bit at the 10 Commandments.

    When we read them, we often think of them as constricting “rules”.

    But I do not believe they were meant to be given in this way.

    The children of Israel had come out of 400 years of slavery where they knew dozens of gods.

    As they wandered around in the wilderness they needed to figure out how to live into a completely different life than they had ever experienced before while worshipping One True God.

    These “Commandments” would guide them into a relationship with the God who promised a life of freedom, AND a relationship with one another that would create a caring and loving society.

    These commandments were “strict”, but not “constricting”.

    In fact, if they were followed, trust would build.

    With trust would come freedom and creativity as they explored the promises God was giving to them.


    There is a great lesson in this for us today.

    Many people view “religion” as constricting.

    But don’t we know, when we love God and love one another (As Jesus summed up the commandments) wonderful things blossom and grow?


    Today consider how loving God sets you free to love others, and how loving others gives you a beautiful perspective for the day.

    peace and joy
    Pastor Wendy

  • Friday. February 23rd


    Mark 8:31-38

    Jesus started to tell the disciples that he would suffer and die because of the things he was doing.

    Peter got really angry to think that the man he admired, loved, and devoted his life to following would think such a thing, so he blurted out “no way”.

    A few weeks ago, on the mount of Transfiguration, Peter blurted something else out.

    The good thing about people who blurt is that you know what they are thinking!!!


    This is our text for Sunday.

    The entire conversation between Jesus and Peter revolves around what it means to take up the cross and follow Jesus.

    In many cases we are very glad to be followers of Jesus.

    It can be challenging, for sure! But when we help others it makes us feel good.

    We may not like being stretched with his challenges to give what we have to help the poor, but truth be told, we have learned how to block out or silence those requests so they don’t bother us too much. The truth is, we like god news more than bad news, and we want to feel good, not badly.


    The cross we have chosen to pick up and carry has become more comfortable than the one Jesus asks us to carry.


    We do not want to hear that!

    We may not blurt out like Peter did, but we do push back when Jesus asks us to look a bit more critically at the cross he is carrying verses the cross we have chosen to carry.


    Our challenge today is to spend time with Jesus in prayer reflecting on the cross we are being asked to carry.


    peace and joy
    Pastor Wendy

  • Wednesday, February 21st

    Psalm 22

    You who fear the Lord, praise him!
        All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
        Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
    24 For God has not despised or scorned

        the suffering of the afflicted one;
    God has not hidden his face from him
        but has listened to his cry for help.

    25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
        before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
    26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;

        those who seek the Lord will praise him—
        may your hearts live forever!


    Psalm 22 is a prayer for those who are suffering, that they would find comfort in God’s presence.

    Someone recently gave me a devotional book by Kate Bowler entitled “Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day.”

    It recognizes that life is hard – but even in the difficulties, we can find beauty.

    That is what the Psalms are for me. They are a recognition that life is hard. REALLY HARD sometimes.

    And our prayers don’t deny or sugar coat things.

    Our prayers lift these situations and hurts up to our God who knows, understand, and is present.


    It is ok to be completely honest with God about what is going on in your life and lift it all in prayer.

    God loves you and will walk through this with you.

    peace and joy
    Pastor Wendy

  • Monday, February 19th


    This second week in Lent, we will be looking at our Scripture with the question, “what shall I take up”

    In Genesis 17, God speaks to Abram and says “walk before and be blameless, and I will make my covenant between me and you …”

    Hearing this, Abram falls on his face.


    I think my response would be the same!

    How can I walk before God and be blameless?


    But God told Abram to “get up” and move forward.

    God continued … “I will establish my covenant between me and you …”

    In this case, it was the covenant that God established that Abram was to move forward in.


    God made a covenant with Abram, and again with Noah after the flood, and again with the Hebrew people, and again … and again.

    It is the covenant God made with us that calls us to move forward.

    Take today to consider the amazing covenant God made with God’s people throughout history.

    What is the covenant you consider to have with God?

    How does it help you move into the life God has called you to move into?

    peace and joy
    Pastor Wendy

  • Friday, February 16th

    Beginning in 1957, Edward Abbey worked as a seasonal park ranger in the Arches National Monument in southeast Utah. At that time, there weren't a lot of tourists visiting that location and Abbey found himself alone often and with time on his hands. Eventually, his book Desert Solitaire grew out of that experience. In its introduction, Abbey writes:

    "This is not primarily a book about the desert. In recording my impressions of the natural scene, I have striven above all for accuracy, since I believe there is a kind of poetry, even a kind of truth, in simple fact. But the desert is a vast world, an oceanic world, as deep in its way and complex and various as the sea. Language makes a mighty loose net with which to go fishing for simple facts, when facts are infinite. ... What I have tried to do then is something a bit different. Since you cannot get the desert into a book any more than a fisherman can haul up the sea with his nets, I have tried to create a world of words in which the desert figures more as medium than as material. Not imitation but evocation has been the goal."


    The Gospel text we begin Lent with is found in Mark, when Jesus comes up from the waters of his baptism and is immediately driven by the Spirit into the wilderness.


    I invite you today, to consider your thoughts on “wilderness experiences.”

    What feelings do they bring to your heart and what thoughts to they bring to your mind?



    The book of Psalms is the hymnbook of the people of Israel. Many psalms are upbeat songs of praise, but not all. Some, like Psalm 25, are truly sorrowful, offered to God in the middle of a challenging and difficult time. This psalm asks for guidance and deliverance, speaks of enemies and people who are treacherous, reminds us of the sins of our youth, and makes the point that we are all sinners.

    Psalm 25 is a sad song.

    The value of the psalm is that it is honest about the things that make us feel terrible. The song puts our trust in the God who is merciful and loving, and who instructs sinners in the right way. It makes us feel good because it draws us closer to God and to each other.

    “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,” it begins. “O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me” (Psalm 25:1-2). In the face of a serious threat from enemies, the psalm-writer reaches out and asks God to “lift up my soul.” According to Mario Attie-Picker, a philosopher at Loyola University Chicago, our love of such music is not an appreciation of sadness. It’s an appreciation of connection.

    This focus on connection is significant, and it has a number of layers. It raises questions such as: To what are we connecting? A higher power? Our past selves? Our future selves? The people around us? And, most importantly, how do these connections help us?

    Psalm 25 begins by connecting us to a higher power. “Make me to know your ways, O LORD. … Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old” (vv. 4-6).

    In this sad song, the LORD is “the God of my salvation,” the One who has the power to save and rescue us from enemies, trouble or illness. The God of salvation provides us with victory over danger, defeat or distress. This higher power is also the One who shows mercy and “steadfast love,” a love that is called hesed in the original Hebrew. This is a word that communicates a love that is much more than a romantic or sentimental feeling. Hesed is often translated as mercy, kindness, lovingkindness or steadfast love. There is eagerness and intention in hesed. It is a choice that God makes to show us mercy, kindness and love.

    Whenever we sing this song, we are connecting to the God of our salvation, the God of mercy and steadfast love. This is a song that is bound to make us feel good.

    The psalm also connects us with our past selves. “Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!” (v. 7). The sad songs that move us the most are those that are the most authentic. They speak honestly about the sins of our youth and our transgressions.

    When we connect with our past selves through Psalm 25, we are asking for the forgiveness that only God can offer. We are confessing to the God of steadfast love, to the One who has chosen to show us mercy and kindness and love. Our sadness over sin is replaced by the joy of having the burden of our guilt removed.

    Psalm 25 also connects us to our future selves. “Good and upright is the LORD,” says the psalm; “therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble his way” (vv. 8-9). When we sing this song to God, we are asking to be given a new direction for our lives. We want God to show us “the way” and lead us in “what is right.” Having discovered that our past choices have resulted in sadness, we want guidance toward joy and satisfaction.

    Our future with God involves moving in a new direction, walking in the way of Jesus Christ. It is no accident that the community of the first followers of Jesus was called “the Way” (Acts 9:2). This was “a way of life that stood in glaring contrast to the world,” writes Christian radical Shane Claiborne. In “this kingdom everything is backward and upside-down — the last are first and the first are last, the poor are blessed and the mighty are cast from their thrones.” The way of God offers our future selves a path to new life.

    The psalm connects us to the people around us. “All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees” (v. 10). The Christian faith is not an individualistic experience but takes place in a community of people who keep God’s “covenant and his decrees.” A covenant is a promise-based relationship, in which we promise to be faithful to God, and God promises to be faithful to us. It goes all the way back to God’s covenant with Abraham, one in which God promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.

    As Christians, we are covenant people. As Christians, we are always connected to God and to one another.

    These connections help us by binding us together in the body of Christ. The “body does not consist of one member but of many,” says the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:14. This is such an important arrangement, because each of us has different gifts and abilities. Every member is valuable, and every talent is needed for the body to do Christ’s work in the world. We especially need these connections as challenges come our way. As Paul says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (v. 26). Whether we are experiencing bad times or good, we need each other.

    Psalm 25 connects us to God, to our past selves, to our future selves, and to the people around us. It strengthens our bonds with each other, in bad times and in good. And it points us to the covenant community known as the body of Christ.

    —Henry Brinton and Carl Wilton contributed to this material.



    peace and joy
    Pastor Wendy