August 14- August 20, 2022
By Sarah Sleeter
Calvary Lutheran Church, Quinnesec, MI
Sunday, August 14, 2022
Text: John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
One of, if not the most well-known verses in the Bible. I see it on signs at sporting events, street corners and all over the internet. This verse is often used to sum up our thoughts on Christian faith, get one quick Gospel message out there and/or share how much God loves all people. And rightly so. When you are loved that much by the God who created you, don’t you want to learn more about God?
Our Triune God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is loving beyond measure, beyond comprehension and beyond death. Reading Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit opens up understanding about the cosmos and creation. It is almost overwhelming, but fortunately, God also knows we are limited human beings and reveals his wonders a little at a time. Like sharing one verse at a time. Sometimes, that one verse is all a person is ready for or can handle and they may need to see it over and over again until it truly sinks in that all of creation is loved by God who created it.
Prayer: Dear Eternal God, thank you for life which was won for us through the gift of your only Son. Open the eyes and hearts of all so that we may wholly be joined with Christ in life everlasting. Amen.
Monday, August 15, 2022
Text: 2 Corinthians 12:9
[The Lord said], ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
The teachings of Paul to the church in Corinth are so important. When Paul, who was persecuted, understood Christ was the source of wisdom and strength, he was able to boast in his weakness as it had no power over him anymore. When our perspective is changed by the indwelling Spirit of Christ, we are able to surpass expectations, withstand unimaginable hardships, and experience unbelievable joy in life through it all.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a difficult diagnosis. Anxiety is normal for people, especially those with stressful lives. The fact that so many experience anxiety actually makes the diagnosis of GAD more difficult sometimes. So many people feel stressed and anxious in their everyday lives which is difficult enough. However, the extreme nature of GAD and its long-term effects on one’s life is so severe. It is different from “normal” anxiety because it is persistent, constant and way out of proportion. Other symptoms are fatigue, over-thinking, twitchy or trembling feeling, fear of uncertainty, trouble sleeping, indecisiveness, muscle pain/tension, trouble concentrating, and other physical pains. Most of these symptoms are also common to those with busy, stressful lives. The difference between GAD and “normal” anxiety is that GAD is unrelenting.
When diagnosed with anxiety, it can be crippling at times. Seeking to experience joy in spite of the diagnosis is to boast of your weakness fully depending on the Spirit of Christ to strengthen you.
If you are suffering from Mental Health issues, please take them seriously. God does help, but also call your local mental healthcare provider or the National Alliance for Mental Illness, 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
“Boast of your weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in you.”
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Text: Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Providentially, the Lord is ever faithful and continues to call out to you even when you are not feeling prosperous, you are in the midst of a harmful situation, or you are having trouble thinking about the future. The Holy Spirit, from inside your heart, through prayer, scripture and other created means, will not give up on you, even when you give up on yourself. Even death is not enough to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus!
This declaration from the Lord is a nugget that we can cling to when we are facing those dark and foreboding times in our lives. We know that the Lord does not intend to keep us in darkness and turmoil but has a glorious plan for us to join him in everlasting life!
Prayer: Dear Lord, please be with those struggling through hard times. Reassure them that you hold the future in your hands and are working out your will. Amen.
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Text: John 16:33
“I have said this to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution, but take courage: I have conquered the world!”
Jesus was giving advanced warning to his disciples that their life would not be an easy one because they believed; rather they would be persecuted for that very reason. Jesus also promises that after he leaves, the Holy Spirit will come and they will have clarity and joy.
The world had, has now and will have chaos, injustice and disagreements, but there is peace in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. In this verse from John’s Gospel, we have a reminder that as we face the atrocities in our lives, whether they are world-wide or very personal, we may take courage in knowing that our Savior has conquered the world and beyond this world lies a peace that passes all understanding.
Thursday, August 18, 2022
Text: Romans 12:2
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
“This age,” the current fashions or trends, can be very invocative, but trying to keep up with them is exhausting. Just when you think you are on top or at the cutting edge, you find out that someone else has something newer and better. This verse points to the way God measures perfection, not by wealth or success measured in worldly terms, but through God’s will.
Wearing the top fashion, becoming CEO of a company or being the smartest person in the room doesn’t mean that you are good, acceptable or perfect. God, through Christ, already sees you as good, acceptable and perfect because God created you to be just that!
God’s Grace, freely given, will open your eyes to see the true value of everything, including yourself. In “this age,” the need for renewal is frequent, but God’s grace is abundant so you will not use it up. Renew your mind by dwelling in the Word and with prayer as often as you need to because it is energizing to be transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Friday, August 19, 2022
Text: Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations;
I am exalted in the earth.”
When raising kids, parents or primary caregivers might feel inadequate and might even question why God would allow them the responsibility of parenthood. Have you ever wondered how you would be able to raise good kids safely or how you would ever be good enough for them? I know I did.
The Bible isn’t exactly a step-by-step guide to becoming the best parental figure. For example, reading the Bible will not dictate what to do or say, like, “If your children argue with you, the proper response is…” That’s not the kind of help the Bible provides. Rather, the Bible with the guidance of the Holy Spirit will remind you to “Be still” and read about the greatness of God which reassures you. That reassurance transforms the inadequate into capable beings who are chosen by God to love one another.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for stilling us in the midst of a chaotic world to reassure us that you are in control. Be with parents and caregivers as they raise and teach children. Remind us that the light shines within each one of us and for all humankind. Amen.
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Text: Zephaniah 3:17
“The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing”
In the Disney movie “The Little Mermaid,” Ariel comes into the room humming a tune, smiling and dancing along as she swims. Her sisters say, “She’s got it bad.” To which her dad replies, “What? What does she have?” as if she’s ill or contagious. And the sisters reveal, “Ariel is in LOVE.”
Did you ever notice that happens a lot in movies? When someone falls in love, they are shown singing, dancing and just looking extraordinarily joyful. Everyone else can tell right away they are in love. This is what I think of when I read this verse; God is in love with creation so much that he sings out loud!
People love to fall in love and to see others fall in love because there is an energy that comes from love. A powerful, exuberant, joyful energy. The Lord, your God, renews you with his love. We love because God has first loved us. The energy that comes from love is God’s energy and it is contagious. God loves us and we love God, we love one another because God loves us. It is a circle, a continuum. Let us share love and help God renew the whole world with God’s love for creation! Anyone who sees us dancing, singing, humming, and shining with joy, will know we are in LOVE with God!
Prayer: Dear Loving God, thank you for loving us so that we are able to love you and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Spread that love to all corners of the cosmos so that we all sing loud in joyous harmony. Amen.
Missing last week’s devotions? Find a list of all previous devotions at the daily devotions archive page.