Wednesday, June 26th

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“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”  Matthew 26:26-27 

Dear Jesus, How personal your love is!  You wrapped it in a meal and told us your body and blood are there with it.  You want us to taste and see that your whole life and death were your offering for our spiritual sustenance.  You laid all on the line for us and you want us to be comforted by it.  You want us to worship in light of it and to love each other because of it.  Your death and your sacrament, they bind us together in sacrificial love.  They enlighten, empower and motivate us to forgive, to be patient, to accept, to encourage and to love.  We are united in you, because of you and for you.  Help us be true worshipers as we walk to the cross with you this spring.  Amen. 

He gave us himself.  What more could he give? 

Tuesday, June 25th

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“‘I’m going fishing,’ Simon Peter said to them.  ‘We’re coming with you,’ they told him.  They went out into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.”  John 21:3 

Dear Lord Jesus, It wasn’t long after your resurrection that the disciples had gone back to life as normal.  They were going back to their fishing nets.  They had gone back to the regular lives.  But here you came and disrupted their normal lives to send them on to something extraordinary.  It’s so easy in these days after Easter to get back to life as normal.  The resurrection fades to the back our minds again; the joy and the excitement of Easter dawn dissipates as life drags on.  Lord Jesus, keep coming to me by your Word and remind me that it is not life as normal.  Keep coming to me to convince and show me and remind me of your divine power and heavenly help.  I cannot live life as normal because you have been raised from the dead.  I cannot carry on as I did before.  Your resurrection fills me with divine power and heavenly hope.  Lord Jesus, keep this truth on the front of my mind as I make my way through this day that I might live all out and all in for you.  Amen. 

Tuesday, June 25th

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“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord!’  And she told them what he had said to her.” John 20:18 

Dear Lord Jesus, When the women and the disciples first went to the tomb they came with trudging feet and fearful hearts.  The disciples ran to the tomb because they were afraid, and then they went home confused and still afraid.  But once they knew that Jesus was alive, everything changed.  Mary’s tears were dried and she couldn’t wait to tell the disciples and announce to them what she had seen and believed.  Lord Jesus grant the same to me.  Overflow my heart with resurrection confidence and courage to face this day.  Grant me love and wisdom as I interact with people so that we can maintain the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace.  Grant me courage and confidence to live and to serve today.  Amen. 

Monday, June 24th

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“That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”  2 Corinthians 5:19

Dear Heavenly Father, Because of the many struggles we have in our lives I catch myself feeling like you need to do something for me in order for me to be reconciled to you.  What a grand example of my human pride!  You see everything about me and all people and you are offended by the slightest wayward thought and yet I HAVE SO MANY.  There is so much that you need to be reconciled about.  And you took care of all of it when you sent your son.  You were in him reconciling the whole world to yourself so that in spite of my waywardness you still have love for me without violating justice.  Thank you for reconciling yourself so that I have your grace and favor even though I struggle with sin for my whole life.  This grace will carry me through the day today and give me a desire to please you. 

God the father needed Jesus to reconcile him to us as much as we did. 

Sunday, June 23rd

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“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.  In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-for he grants sleep to those he loves.”  Psalm 127:1-2

Dear Heavenly Father, I love this simple profession of faith.  Unless you bless and protect all my endeavors they are doomed to fail.  I do fall into the temptation of believing it all depends on me.  But actually it all depends on you.  And you have shown yourself to be my provider and protector so many times.  Help me to sleep in your arms and to lead a quiet life of sublime trust that you are there to take care of all my needs.  Give me the work you want me to do and bless that work the way you wish.  Just as you came and took care of my salvation, I know you will be there for me every day to take care of my preservation.  As you keep me in mind that you are always near to help me, use my gentle confidence to encourage others to trust you to be their God and Savior too.  Amen.

Good earthly parents are a reflection of our perfect heavenly Father. 

Saturday, June 22nd

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“How long will you lie there, you sluggard?  When will you get up from your sleep?  A little sleep a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”  Proverbs 6:9-10

Dear Jesus, Protect me from thoughts that make me lazy.  Give me a strong desire to be productive and helpful in every situation.  I know every day is a gift from you.  I want to get the most out of every day too.  Help me to be industrious and to save for myself and those who depend on me.  But give me a holy abandon from worry and strife over money and possessions.  Help me to apply myself to lifelong learning and make me a blessing to all without any self-righteousness.  Not only do I ask you to keep poverty far from me, but help me alleviate the effects of poverty on others too.  You met earthly needs for the full length of your ministry.  Give me that same servant mindset.  All this I ask because your love consumes me.  Amen.

Love compels us to meet the needs of bodies and souls all around us

Friday, June 21st

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“The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’ He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ ‘I have no husband,’ she replied.  Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.  What you have just said is quite true.’”  John 4:15-18

Dear Jesus, Sometimes I picture myself sitting there by that well with you and no one is around.  I wonder what question you would ask me to show me that you can see right through my soul with your holy eyes.  The truth is, I have plenty of sins for you to choose from.  I know that full well.  But since you own me through your sacrifice, you have every right to ask me about them.  I know you prod and pry in order to cleanse and purify.  I know you come to rescue not condemn.  So, take me just as I am.  I trust your love enough to answer you.  Yes, I’m the one in need of grace.  Please be merciful to me and grant me grace to cover all my sins and then give me the humility and wisdom to share that same grace with those who have hurt me.  Use your confronting love to cut away the chains of selfishness and sin from my life.  Amen.

Jesus is the perfect soul doctor; first diagnosing, then explaining, then applying his remedy. 

Thursday, June 20th

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“The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’  Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you-I am he.’  Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.  Could this be the Messiah?’” John 4:19-29

Dear Jesus, You took that woman from being an embarrassed failure to being an excited herald of your love.  She used to slink around in guilt and shame but you made her run out in the open to share your love.  I know some of what she felt.  I can live past my guilt and shame because you came to save me too.  You know exactly what I have done and you still came to save me.  I want others to know the freedom and restoration of forgiveness.  Help me tell them that their Messiah is here.  Thank you for releasing me from my sinful past.  Amen. 

To know Christ is to know freedom from shame. 

Wednesday, June 19th

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“ ’Sir’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’  ‘Woman,’ Jesus replied, ‘believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not now; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’”  John 4:19-24

Dear Jesus, Sometimes I’m like that woman.  I want to focus on outward forms instead of inner worship.  I know you want me to really worship you out of a heart made grateful for the love and grace you brought to us.  You want me to joyfully live, pray, and work out of a deep held faith that you made me, saved me, and walk beside me all of my life.  You want me to go to church because I want to, to speak about you because I’m proud of you, to love even the unlovable because I truly love them.  I cannot be that inside-out person unless you fill my insides with your Spirit.  So, Jesus, crowd your Spirit into my heart so I live out his spiritual fullness.  Make me the person you always wanted me to be.  Thank you for redeeming my life and creating something new out of what you first met by the wayside.  Amen.

Jesus comes in from the outside to change us from the inside out. 

Tuesday, June 18th

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“The other disciple, who reached the tomb first, then also went in saw and believed.  For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he must rise from the dead.”  John 20:8-9

Lord Jesus, these disciples had everything at their disposal to be able to face the empty tomb with a clear picture and a certain hope about what happened.  They knew the Scriptures, they just didn’t call them to their minds.  The Scriptures were clear about the resurrection of Jesus.  I pray, Lord Jesus, help me by your Holy Spirit to take your Word and apply it to my heart, to my life, and to all that I face today.  I am learning your Scriptures in a better and a more clear way every day.  Help me to take that word from my head and apply it to my heart.  Help me, then, to understand it clearly and learn the hope, the confidence, and the joy that your Word has for me.  There in your Word you lay the hope of a future and an eternity with you and with all those who believe in you.  There in your Word is certainty, strength and hope.  Fill me with your Word today so that I may face whatever happens today with certainty, strength and hope.  Amen.

Monday, June 17th

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“They took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the fragrant spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews.  There was a garden in the place where he was crucified.  A new tomb was in the garden; no one had yet been placed in it.  They placed Jesus there because of the Jewish day of preparation and since the tomb was nearby.”  John 19:40-42

Dear Lord Jesus, These godly men along with the women took such care of your body.  They were not afraid of push back or retaliation from the Jewish leaders.  In love, they honored and cared for your body.  Lord Jesus, help me to honor you with my whole life no matter who is looking; no matter how it looks.  Help me devote my life-with all my energy, all my strength, all my treasures, all my time-help me devote my life to honoring you with all I am and all I have.  I am yours!  All that I have is yours!  Help me to honor with it.  Amen.

Sunday, June 16th, Father's Day

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Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”  Psalm 127:3-5

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the children you have granted us.  Each one presents their unique challenges while they grow up and each one brings unique blessings too.  I see the wisdom in your words about the blessing that comes from a full quiver of children.  They have made us wealthy in ways that can’t be measured by dollars or degrees.  They encourage our faith, help us solve problems and give us strength to face the world.  For all those parents who still have children at home and feel the burden of rearing them on the right path, give them the faith to see the blessing that comes in time.  Help them to speak to their kids in ways that reflect how much they cherish them as a gift from you.  Help them discipline with love and guide with patience.  Give them your divine wisdom to know when to back off and when to stick their nose in it.  And most of all, help parents give your Son to their children for eternal life.  Amen. 

Our children are a divine opportunity to leave a much bigger footprint than our own lives can create by themselves. 

Saturday, June 15th

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“Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, ‘Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away.’  Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’  Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!!’-which means ‘Teacher.’”  John 20:15-16

Lord Jesus, You did so much to open up the eyes of my heart and to grant me faith.  I was thoroughly blind in my life and couldn’t see you; I didn’t even want to see you.  Yet, Jesus, you came at my baptism and opened my eyes to see you.  You opened my eyes to see you as my Savior, my Lord, my God, and my teacher.  Lord Jesus, thank you for granting me such a faith!  I pray, always give me eyes to see and a heart to believe that you are indeed my Savior.  Help me to learn from you and follow you my whole life long.  Amen.

Friday, June 14th,

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“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord!’  And she told them what he had said to her.” John 20:18

Dear Lord Jesus, When the women and the disciples first went to the tomb they came with trudging feet and fearful hearts.  The disciples ran to the tomb because they were afraid, and then they went home confused and still afraid.  But once they knew that Jesus was alive, everything changed.  Mary’s tears were dried and she couldn’t wait to tell the disciples and announce to them what she had seen and believed.  Lord Jesus grant the same to me.  Overflow my heart with resurrection confidence and courage to face this day.  Grant me love and wisdom as I interact with people so that we can maintain the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace.  Grant me courage and confidence to live and to serve today.  Amen.

Thursday, June 13th

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Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, I also send you.’ “ John 20:20-21

Dear Lord Jesus, you didn’t waste any time bringing comfort and joy to your disciples.  You didn’t leave them to huddle in fear “and sadness long.  You came to them that last night to show yourself to them, that you really were alive.  And then, immediately, you sent them out with the message of the resurrection, the message that raises the dead to life and releases them from being bound by sin and condemnation.  Dear Jesus, come to me today and pour out your Holy Spirit on me.  Fill me today again with the same resurrection joy that your disciples experienced when they saw you that first Easter.  Raise me up from the despair and darkness of Good Friday so that I might live in the brightness and life of Easter!  Then, send me out to raise the dead with the message I preach.  Keep me sending me and, I pray, send more and more people out with this message so that all the dead will live and believe in you.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 12th

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“A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

Dear Jesus, I can get so hung up in the history of a relationship that I forget your one simple command to love that other person.  As sinners we will always let each other down, misunderstand and frustrate one another.  We can get lost in remembering the negative tone or the hurtful remark too.  And remembering makes it so hard to love.  But when you ignore the history because of grace, that’s when love is possible in all relationships.  You have that love for me.  Help me have it for the “others” in my life.  And help them have this love for me.  This forgiving and refreshing love, the kind that gives and forgives, is the physical evidence of our spiritual relationship with you.  Give me that love always for every person I meet.  Amen.

Love doesn’t need the other person to do or be anything special in order to respond well. 

Tuesday, June 11th

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“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  Romans 11:33

Dear Heavenly Father, You have my life all planned out.  I know you allow challenges and setbacks as well as sending blessings and breakthroughs.  You guide with clarity and protect me with grace.  You are in every room, behind every conversation, underneath every situation.  I cannot escape you nor can I understand all your ways.  But I trust that my life is your hands and will end in your presence forever.  It’s going to be a thrill to let you be God today while I simply work diligently without fear to play my instrument well for you in your orchestra. 

God is directing the plethora of lives that sing together to perform the symphony called your life. 

Monday, June 10th

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“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and look at my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Don’t be faithless, but believe.”  John 20:27

Lord Jesus, What incredible love you showed to Thomas.  You could have rightly expected him to hear and believe the eye-witness testimony of the other disciples.  Surely there were enough witnesses there that he might be overwhelmed by their testimony.  You could have just left him in his doubt and unbelief.  But in love, you condescended to his weakness to show him that you were really alive.  In love you came to him to give him overwhelming evidence for his own hands, eyes, and heart that he might believe.  Oh, dear Jesus, such love for Thomas.  You have the same kind of love for me.  This account gives me a real example of the overwhelming way that you love me and all your people.  You do not leave me alone in my weakness to figure it out; in love you come to me in my doubt and despair to reassure me that I am yours and that the victory is mine.  You come to me in Word and Supper to constantly reassure me of your life.  You didn’t have to do that!  But you did!  You did.  You continue to come to me in my weakness so that I might believe!  Thank you, dear Jesus.  Amen.

Sunday, June 9th, Pentecost

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“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 2:2-4

Holy Spirit, I pray that you enter my heart daily through your blessings, as you did to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.  Stir me up to wholehearted devotion to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Open my lips to testify to the living hope which you have given me through the risen Christ.  Give me courage and boldness to speak your word with power so more people everywhere may know the Father, the Son, and you, the Holy Spirit.  Bless the preaching of the Gospel everywhere, and through it conquer the hearts of men for Christ, their King.  Graciously attend the work of our pastors and teachers throughout the world that by their ministry many sous may be added daily to your church.  Enlighten my understanding, control my affections, purify my ambitions, and sanctify my actions, that men may see my good works and glorify my Father in heaven.  Keep me trustful in your Savior and repentant over my sin.  Enter into my heart with your blessings and into my life with your direction.  Amen.

Saturday, June 8th

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“For these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ Also, another Scripture says: ‘They will look on the one they have pierced.”  John 19:36-37

Dear Lord Jesus, You fulfilled the whole Scriptures.  You fulfilled the Scriptures by actively pursuing your Father’s will and by refusing to shrink away from that which would hurt and even kill you.  Father, your Son even fulfilled the Scriptures passively without any action on his own.  Both before he was born and after he was dead, events unfolded in his life ad with his body and belongings that the Scriptures had foretold.  You, dearest Jesus, are the fulfillment of every prophecy that has ever been made.  You assure me that no matter how many promises God has made, they are all a solid and undoubted “Yes!” from God.  Lord Jesus, teach me to hear your word and to trust its promises. They will not fail.  You are not a man that you should lie.  You are not a human being that you would change your mind.  You promise and you fulfill.  You say that you will do something and then you do.  Your Word is undoubtedly true and without error.  Teach me to trust it and to rely on it above all things.  Amen.