Devotion for Monday, December 25, 2017

Monday, December 25, 2017 Devotion

“They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; they will be a prey for foxes.  But the king will rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him will glory, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.”  (Psalm 63:10-11)

Though the world rage and do its damage, yet the Lord will prevail.  Nothing can thwart the plans of the Lord, for He alone is Sovereign.  Come into the Lord’s presence and know the goodness of His surpassing mercy for those who love.  To them He gives life and the promise is that all who lie, cheat, steal and kill shall pass away.  Come to the Lord and know the true power of eternity.

Lord, all day long there are those who come against me with their wickedness.  I too have succumbed and do not love my neighbor as myself.  Guide me, O Lord, to live into the life to which You have called me that I would hold fast to the promises You give.  Help me see more clearly that You are always there and that Your goodness shall always prevail.  Let me seek You in every time of danger.

Lord Jesus, You know how the wicked of this age put You to death, yet it is what You came for.  There is nothing they can do that You do not already know.  Let me come into Your rest that I would walk humbly with You in the salvation You provide, knowing that only in You is there hope and a future.  Guide me this day to celebrate Your goodness and Your coming for all who believe.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017 Devotion

“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.  But those who seek my life to destroy it, will go into the depths of the earth.”  (Psalm 63:8-9)

Your soul is attached, but to whom?  Often we get carried away in the busy-ness of life and do not think about the attachments in our life.  To whom do you turn?  Who is your hope?  Many a young couple will hope in each other, but life moves on and the hope diminishes.  Cling to the One who is forever and seek first the Lord and then all else will be added.  He alone will travel the distance with you.

Lord, I hear these words and they are true.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  Lead me, O Lord, to walk in Your ways and learn from You the truth of the ages.  Guide me according to Your purposes that I may forever hold fast to the truth You have revealed.  Let me not be distracted by those who would seek to destroy me, but to be led by Your Spirit all the days of my life.

Lord Jesus, You are the hope of every person.  You have come to save us from ourselves and the world.  Guide me in the salvation You have given that I may forever hold fast to the truth of Your presence and purpose through grace.  May I now and always look to You first for all things, knowing that You alone are the author and finisher of my faith.  Lead me this day, my Savior.  Amen.

Devotion for Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saturday, December 23, 2017 Devotion

“My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.   When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.”  (Psalm 63:5-7)

How much time do you spend with the Lord?  The Psalm reminds us to think on the Lord day and night, when we are waking and ready to sleep.  The Lord is a constant companion, ready and willing to walk with us at all times.  Be in relationship with the Lord, for this is the call of salvation and the hope of all who believe.  Know that the Lord is good and there and waiting.

Lord, I say with my lips one thing and then get busy with another.  Help me, I pray, to see in You the hope of glory that shines throughout the ages.  Guide me according to Your purposes that I would meditate upon You day and night and know the goodness You impart to those who walk with You.  Lead me, O Lord, that I may walk with You throughout the day and all the days of my life.

Jesus, You have come to model the godly life.  You told us to pray without ceasing.  Help me learn from You how to do this that I may truly walk with You all the day long.  Guide the thoughts of my mind, the meditation of my heart and the path I take throughout the day.  Lead me, O Lord, that I may follow You, my Lord and my Savior.  Lead my mouth to be full of Your praise all the day long.  Amen.

Devotion for Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017 Devotion

“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You.  So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.”  (Psalm 63:3-4)

Do you live for yourself or have you learned that your life belongs to the Lord?  Yes, you want to live, but true life is only in the Lord and His promise that you will live forever.  Though you die, yet shall you live.  To bless the Lord is to live in Him.  Otherwise, it is contention.  Bless the Lord and be blessed by living in His lovingkindness, knowing that in Him is life and liberty.

Lord, I struggle for meaning in life, but here it is right before me.  Living in You is life.  Yet I continue the struggle.  Help me I pray to overcome the obstacles in my life that get in the way of the simplicity of love and faith to which You have called me.  Guide me in Your purpose that I may abide in You now and always.  Lead me to be a blessing to others as You are to me.

Lord Jesus, You who has removed all the obstacles that get in the way of our eternal relationship, lead me ever deeper into the truth You have revealed for us all.  Guide me according to Your purpose that I may live in Your will now and forever.  Help me learn to do what is pleasing to the Father that I may truly be a blessing.  Teach me to listen, learn and do what is right always.  Amen.

Devotion for Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017 Devotion

“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.”  (Psalm 63:1-2)

As a dry land in which there is no water, so is the soul’s thirst for the Lord.  Far from His ways are we at birth, but our souls long to be eternally connected to the One who made us.  We are not to settle for other gods, but come to the One through whom life is given.  Be refreshed and restored to the Lord, the Maker of all things and know the goodness of His grace and mercy.

Lord, I do thirst, for I yearn all the day long after things I cannot even begin to imagine.  Help me see in You the hope of glory and learn to walk in Your ways.  Guide me according to Your purposes that I may live in Your will.  Give me a heart that seeks after You above all things and learns the eternal ways that You have established.  Guide me, O Lord, that I may live.

Lord Jesus, You have come to give life and to give it abundantly.  Help me now and always to see You and seek You above all the ways set before me in this world.  Lead me in the will of the Father that I may walk in a way that is pleasing to Him.  Help me now and always to have a clear mind, a willing hand and an upright heart, seeking after You and the Way You have established.  Amen.

Again, I Say

“Rejoice always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

“Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel!”  We sang that hymn next to a grave yesterday, a bitterly cold wind beating on our backs.  Our sister in the faith had died suddenly, grieving us all, but still we called out the truth: Jesus is on His way, and so, even in grief, we rejoice in Him.  

That’s what St. Paul intends by this command.  He’s not calling for Pollyanna thinking, a way to shield ourselves from feeling the pains of our losses.  No, but having just set forth the promise of Christ’s return, he’s telling the believers in Thessaly to confess that gospel in every situation, happy or sad.  Feel the pain, and then meet it with the promise.

So what do you face today?  What sharp winds of challenge, blessing, disappointment, or fear will pound on your heart?  Approach every situation in this conviction: you are one for whom Christ Jesus came to Bethlehem; with you He still abides; and He is on His way to give you a full share in His victory.  What happens today passes away tomorrow, but rejoice!  Emmanuel, God-with-us, God-with-you, is forever.

LET US PRAY: O Lord, as I, with Your Church, prepare to celebrate the birth of Your Son, grant me Your Holy Spirit, that I may see in His first advent the brilliance of His final appearing in glory; and by the promise of that glory, strengthen me to rest and live in hope each day; through Christ my Lord.  Amen


Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau  

© 2017

Devotion for Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 Devotion

“Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God; and lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, for You recompense a man according to his work.”  (Psalm 62:11-12)

We vie for power.  But all power and authority belong to God.  Content is the one who knows this and rests in the Lord’s power.  But His lovingkindness is yours and each may bask in His love and know that He loves all whom He has made.  Trust in the One who holds all power and loves us, for He will accomplish what He has purposed.  Know that the Lord is good and He will do what He promises.

Lord, help me stop playing the games of this world for power.  It all belongs to You and the powerful of this world are just an illusion when compared to You.  Guide me in Your ways that I may walk in them and help me live according to Your purposes.  Keep my mind clear and my sight upon You that I would forever hold fast to Your promises.  Let me be about Your business, doing Your will.

Lord Jesus, You demonstrated that You were not anxious for anything.  You have declared that all authority is Yours.  Help me simply take Your hand and walk with You all the days of my life, learning from You how to walk in the eternal way You have established.  Guide me according to Your principles to be faithful to all that You command and help me walk in Your ways.  Amen.

MARY, DID YOU KNOW? Devotional for December 24


One of the most beautiful of the contemporary Christian songs asks,

“Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God?”

But how could Mary have known what was going to be happening to her when the angel Gabriel came and said to her, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.”  What does it mean to be highly favored – or even favored – by God?  Evidently it does not mean that life is going to be easy. The angel continued, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

When told that she would bear a son, Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”  Good question.  Mary is not married, she is a virgin, and she is going to have a baby.  Is this something she should be happy about?  Mary and Joseph lived in a strict community that was regulated by strict religious laws and customs.  Mary could have been killed.  She could have been stoned for becoming pregnant while not married.  And imagine Joseph’s hurt.  Is she supposed to be happy about Joseph’s hurt?  Mary must have thought, God sure has an interesting way of showing His favor.

Years ago a psychologist by the name of Thomas Holmes developed a scale for measuring stress.  He assigned numerical values to events that cause stress, such as loss of a job, moving to a new community, and a new relationship.  Dr. Holmes even included Christmas on his stress list.  According to him, even a so-called “normal Christmas” is worth a hefty 14 stress points.

A writer by the name of Bridget Kuhns took Dr. Holmes’ stress scale and applied it to Mary.  Holmes calculated that any pregnancy earns 40 points.  For an unwanted pregnancy, add 20 more points.  A change in living conditions – Mary stayed three months with Elizabeth – 25 points.  Upcoming marriage to Joseph – 50 points.  A change in financial status – 38 points.

Surely there must have been some words between them when Mary learned that Joseph had not made reservations at the inn.  35 points for an argument with a spouse.  And then the birth – 39 points.  16 points for a change in sleeping habits.  15 points for a change in eating patterns.  Not to mention all the uninvited guests – the shepherds and angels and wise men from the east.

Psychologist Thomas Holmes says that people get sick when they reach 200 points on the stress scale.  Bridget Kuhns calculated that Mary’s ordeal earned her a whopping 424 stress points.  And that does not include the flight to Egypt, or more importantly, the experience of watching her beloved son die as a common criminal on a cross.  Is that what it means to be favored by God?  Evidently being favored by God does not protect you from high levels of stress.  

It is easy to say when things are going our way, “The Lord sure is blessing me.”  But have you ever wondered if it is actually when we are going through the most difficult of times – when we feel that we can barely hold on – that God is actually the closest to us?  The angel Gabriel, in saying that Mary was blessed by God, was not saying that God would make her life easy.  But he was saying that she would be used by God.  And in the long run, isn’t that what being blessed is all about?

How about you?  Can you say right now that you are blessed because you are being used by God for His special purposes?

In response to Gabriel’s telling her that she was favored by God and that she would bear a son, Mary asked a sensible question, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”  Good question.  The angel responded, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”

Is it any more difficult to believe that a virgin could give birth than it is to believe that Zechariah and Elizabeth could bear children in their old age?  Mary in her shame could have made up a lie about the visit of an angel.  But there was no way that Elizabeth, who was far beyond childbearing years, could make up a story about being pregnant.  It was a miracle.  And Jesus’ birth was a miracle.  Nothing is impossible with God.  Remember that the next time you are in a hard place.  Nothing is impossible with God.  

Be careful whom you called blessed.  Be careful what you call impossible.  And then, third, be thankful that this young woman said Yes to God.  

Mary was free to say No to God, just like we are free to say No to God.  God never forces Himself on anyone.  But when Gabriel gave Mary the news that she would bear God’s Son, she replied, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord.  Let it be with me according to your word.”  Mary became the mother of our Savior because she was willing to be obedient to God.  Obedience is out of fashion in our “I did it my way” world.  But obedience is still an important part of the Christian life.  Some blessings we will never receive until and unless we are obedient to God.  

Mary, did you know?  How could have Mary known where her encounter with the angel would lead her?  Just as how can we know where our encounter with the living Christ during this Christmas season will lead us?  

Be careful whom you call blessed.  Be careful what you call impossible.  And be thankful that a young, teenage girl said Yes to God.  For saying Yes to God is the key to living a life that is truly blessed.

Dennis D. Nelson
President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE



Devotion for Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 Devotion

“Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than breath.  Do not trust in oppression and do not vainly hope in robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.”  (Psalm 62:9-10)

In the grand scheme of things, we are people made in the image of God.  We have created an illusion that there are greater and lesser, but there really is only the Lord God and all that He has made.  Who are we that we would be mindful of ourselves?  Set your heart upon the Lord and His ways, knowing the goodness that He has revealed, and walk humbly in His ways at all times.

Lord, my mind is filled will all of the pollution of this age, knowing that we are taught from the youngest age that there are greater and lesser.  Yes, we should be respectful, but teach me to respect without revering those in positions of authority whom You have placed above me.  Lead me into humility that I would learn the true position of all things and know that You alone are God.

Lord Jesus, You have condescended to come to a place that You alone can hold.  You are God and man.  You have come to lift us up by bringing us down.  In the mystery of faith, help me see in You the hope that You alone bring and the salvation that You alone make possible.  Guide me, O Lord, in the way I should go and help me see in You my life, my hope and all that I need.  Amen.

Devotion for Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017 Devotion

“On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.  Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”  (Psalm 62:7-8)

Are you in the Lord?  Is He the rock of your salvation?  Are you looking for the Lord to conform to your ideas or are you conforming to who He is?  Pour out your heart before the Lord and see that He will walk with you and cleanse your mind and give you a new heart, made right and filled with His righteousness.  Be guided by the One who made you and take refuge in Him alone.

Lord, I hear the words and know the testimonies I have received, yet I walk in the ways of this world.  Help me, I pray, to live into the life to which You have called me knowing that only in You is there hope and a future.  Guide me now and always according to Your life-giving Word that I would walk as one who believes and know the truth You have revealed once for all and live under the shadow of Your wings.

Lord Jesus, I need you today and every day, for I am easily distracted and led in so many directions, all of which are away from You.  Help me in my time of need to see the better portion and to walk according to the way You have established.  Lead me now and always according to Your Word that I may walk in the way of salvation.  You are the rock of my strength; lead me to rest in You.  Amen.