Holy Thursday 9 April 2020
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. – Luke 22:14-15
 
Jesus eagerly gathers his closest friends around Him to celebrate one last Passover. Passover remembers God freeing the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery by sending an angel of death to Egypt who visits every house whose doorframe is not brushed with the blood of a lamb and passing over each home whose door frame is red with lamb’s blood. Only the Hebrew homes were brushed with lamb’s blood. When Jesus creates Holy Communion during His Last Passover Supper, He becomes the new Passover Lamb, whose blood is shed to free us from slavery to fear, wrongdoing, insecurity, isolation, anxiety and death. What do you need to be freed from on this Holy Thursday? Please join me in spirit this evening at 7pm for a YouTube Communion Celebration. Bring to your TV or computer some bread and juice and together we will celebrate a meal of freedom that makes us one with Jesus and each other.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Holy Wednesday 8 April 2020
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. – Matthew 26:6-7
 
Jesus spends His last Wednesday evening in the world enjoying supper with Simon (someone He probably healed of leprosy). Simon’s dinner party is interrupted by a woman who silently approaches Jesus and lovingly pours the fanciest perfume money can buy on Jesus’ head. The disciples see this is a rude and wasteful interruption. Jesus is grateful for the woman’s extravagant love, saying to His friends, “She has done a beautiful thing to me.” Unexpected interruptions in our lives are filled with beauty we often miss. Hidden in the huge interruption we are enduring are many beautiful moments and opportunities for us to offer extravagant love to Jesus through our beautiful acts of kindness.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Holy Tuesday 7 April 2020
17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” – Matthew 22:17-21
 
Hoping to use Jesus’ words against Him, the religious leaders send professors and lawyers to trap Him with the “perfect question.” If He says pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus is not loyal to God. If He says give only to God, Jesus is opposing Rome. But Jesus gives a “both/and” answer to their “either/or” question. Jesus says, “Give to the government and give to God. There’s room for both. During these COVID-19 days we can follow government rules for social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing and staying home. And we can keep close to each other though phone calls, texts, emails, prayers and chalk messages. Never believe that it’s this or that. There’s always a “both/and” answer if we look with eyes of Faith to find it.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Holy Monday 6 April 2020
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. – Matthew 21:21-22
 
Early on the Monday after Palm Sunday, Jesus heads back into Jerusalem. Coming upon a figless fig tree, Jesus curses it and the tree withers. His friends are amazed. “If you have faith,” Jesus says, “You can say to a mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” Mountains are moved by doing the hard work of excavation. Faith gives us the strength to do difficult, mountain moving work. The COVID-19 days that lie ahead look like mountains too tall to navigate. Our faith in Jesus gives us strength to do the difficult work of removing the mountains of fear, despair and hopelessness that keep us from enjoying Jesus’ peace. We have faith in Jesus! These mountains don’t stand a chance!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 4 April 2020
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” – Matthew 21:8-9
 
The road Jesus rides into Jerusalem is covered with freshly cut palm branches placed by hundreds of people who welcome Him with the greeting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Hosanna means “save”. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. To get ready for this sacred day, please cut a small branch from any tree or shrub, (evergreens work well) or take a tuft of grass, and on Sunday morning raise it to Jesus while saying, “Hosanna!” In these difficult days we all need a Hosanna. We need Jesus to save us from our fears, our anxieties, our insecurities and our anger. As we raise our branches and say “Hosanna” we will experience the saving love of Jesus and receive His hopeful peace. Hosanna! Save us Lord Jesus.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 3 April 2020
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
 
We use locks to guard our homes and passwords to guard our accounts. We guard our health through social distancing, sanitizing mail and groceries, and by washing our hands frequently. We also need to guard our hearts and minds. Prayer is the best way I know to keep anxiety, worry and fear from stealing our peace. Tell Jesus everything that frightens, frustrates and worries you. Share with Jesus how you want things to be. Be real with God. Telling our worries and fears to Jesus gets them off our minds and into God’s capable hands. After giving a fear or worry to Jesus exhale deeply to show that God has your worry. Then inhale deeply and feel the protecting peace of Jesus filling your mind, heart and spirit.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 2 April 2020
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
 
Two nights ago, I woke up at 11:41, and couldn’t get back to sleep. After silently reciting psalms, Robert Frost Poems and songs by Tony Bennet and Frank Sinatra, I was still wide awake. “Lord, please help me sleep.” Soon I was thinking of new ways to connect with my precious church family, and people needing a call. Magically it was 5:30 a.m. Thank you God for sleep! Peace is a precious commodity in these trying times. Rather than letting anxiety get the better of us, let’s talk to God. When all my get-back-to-sleep strategies failed, I talked with God. God knew thoughts of work would calm my spirit. Sharing our anxieties with God gets our worries outside of ourselves and into God’s capable, caring hands.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 1 April 2020
30 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31
 
Loving our neighbor looks different today. Showing love to one another used to look like warm hugs, friendly handshakes, meals together at diners and restaurants, spending time at coffee shops and coffee hours, inviting people to our homes. Today and for the foreseeable future we love our neighbors by doing everything we can to keep ourselves separate from each other so as not to unwittingly spread the Corona virus. Loving one another looks different today than it did on 1 March. But the foundation for loving our neighbor never changes. Loving our neighbor looks like doing whatever needs to be done for their wellbeing. The expression of love may change. But love’s motivation is always the same.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 31 March 2020
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. – Mark 12:30
 
What does loving God look like? It is talking with God – sharing everything that’s on our minds. Loving God is listening to God through the Bible’s words, through music we enjoy, through sounds of nature, and the words of others. We love God by learning about God through study of the Bible and other good books that teach us about God. Loving God is enjoying God by delighting in delicious food, singing songs to God from our hearts, and inviting God to be in everything we do – grocery shopping, working, playing, working out and relaxing. Loving God keeps God – NOT COVID-19 – at the center of our lives. With God at the center we shall come to better days because with God there are always better days ahead.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 30 March 2020
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12
 
Grocery shopping is different in the days of COVID-19. On a drizzly Saturday evening Lisa and I stood in line, outside, without jackets. When we got to the clerk making sure only 50 people were in the store at a time my crankiness became gratitude. “Thank you for being out here in the cold for hours.” She smiled. Gathering our groceries (still no TP) we checked out with a cashier, whose smile was beautiful. “Thank you for your work. You make our lives better.” She smiled. That evening God removed my crabbiness and clothed me with kindness. Please offer God’s kindness to the store clerks who are risking their lives for us. They are gifts from God in whom we experience the love of Jesus.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 28 March 2020
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. – Genesis 2:2
 
We’re all busy putting new work, life and home systems in place in the age of COVID-19. Are you tired? It’s time to rest. We could keep working seven days a week. After all there’s so much to do! But why? I imagine that God’s work is never finished. Yet God takes time to rest. If God rests, shouldn’t we? What is wearing you down? Hear Jesus inviting you to give that burden to Him to carry for a while. Today please take time for rest. Take a nap. Take a walk. Read a book. Watch a movie. Listen to music while hanging out in your favorite room. Play a board game. Rest
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 27 March 2020
22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? – Jeremiah 8:22
 
Jeremiah’s heart aches over the suffering of his people. Desperate for God’s healing touch, Jeremiah asks, “Why is there no healing balm for the wound of my people?” The African-American spiritual based on this verse answers, “Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work’s in vain. But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again. There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.” As COVID-19 spreads, and anxiety heightens, take a moment to rub some lotion on your well-washed hands. Through hand balm feel God comforting your dry hands and bringing healing comfort to your soul.
 
Please take three minutes to enjoy the Adventist Vocal Ensemble’s soul healing version of this great spiritual. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fcMxI_6xsk
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 26 March 2020
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2a
 
I have always hoped that should a time of testing come, I would, like the Greatest Generation, rise to the occasion and make it my finest hour. Times of testing always ambush us, bringing out the best and the worst within. We are not fighting the evil powers of World War II, but we are working together to disable a disease that preys on the vulnerable. Whenever fear, anger, sorrow or hopelessness wrap their cords around us, remember that the cloud of witnesses – those who are now in God’s kingdom – are cheering us on. They are calling us to make this our finest hour by doing whatever it takes to care for others. Like the Greatest Generation let us live Jesus’ call to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 25 March 2020
27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:27
 
Once we start worrying about something, we cannot convince ourselves to stop. So how can we keep worry from taking over during these trying days when anyone could be carrying COVID-19, when we are losing our jobs, when store supplies are scarce and when social distancing is literally a means by which to save lives? Five simple steps: Tell Jesus what’s worrying you. Share your worries with a friend or family member. Think of people you love who have gone through tough times and made it through. Do some deep breathing. Breathe in the peace of Jesus and breathe out the worries. Think of a comforting song. So, instead of convincing ourselves not to worry, let’s use these steps to send worry away.
 

Affectionately,

Ric

Tuesday 24 March 2020

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? – Matthew 6:26

 
Every morning between 6:00 and 6:30 I feed the birds and freshen the water in the birdbath. While pouring seed in the feeder and setting little piles of birdseed and sunflower seed (squirrels need to eat too!) on the ground, I listen to the beginnings of birdsong and the fluttering of wings as they await the opening of Hanse’s Birdland Diner. Watching birds enjoy breakfast fills me with peace as God speaks through them, assuring me that as precious as the birds are to God, we are even more valuable. Caring for birds assure me that God loves us, cares for us, and makes all things well.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 23 March 2020
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? – Matthew 6:25
 
On Friday the 13th I went grocery shopping. With supplies in cart, I got in line – at the back of the store. It took an hour and a half for me to inch past the deli, coffee section and bakery to the cashier. On Saturday night, I went to the store for a few essentials. The crowd was thin and so were the supplies. I got creative and made it work. As we navigate these trying times we can worry and stress over not having enough, or trust that Jesus is supplying our needs as He promised. When worry over not having enough creeps in, hear Jesus saying, “Do not worry, I am caring for you.”
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 21 March 2020
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. – Psalm 138:7
 
Last evening my son Jonathan and I enjoyed a walk together. Lots of people had the same idea. We kept plenty of distance between ourselves and the other walkers. After all we are walking through troubled times. With springtime fragrances enveloping us, Jonathan and I enjoyed wonderful conversation. Through our walk God assured me that when we walk through trouble, Jesus stretches His hand against our fears, anxieties, diseases and insecurities, pushing them away, drawing us close, and enfolding us with confidence, peace, healing and security.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 20 March 2020
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23
 
Living life under the Corona virus cloud is stressful. Empty store shelves, worries about contracting or spreading the disease, and isolation are scary. Thanks to God’s great love these stresses will not consume us. Each morning, new portions of Jesus’ loving compassion give our minds new perspective, our hearts new joy, our spirits new peace and our bodies new strength. As the song declares, “Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessing all mine, with ten thousand beside! Great is Thy faithfulness.”
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 19 March 2020
32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. – Numbers 13:32
 
Coming to border of the Promised Land, Moses sends a team to scope things out. They report back that the land is lush, but the people are too powerful to take on. Caleb disagrees, saying, “We can certainly do it!” Living life in the days of the Corona virus, we cannot allow the pandemic and its effects to overwhelm us. Caleb’s faith in God fills him with courage. Like Caleb, let’s stand and show the world that we can do all things in Christ who is our strength! When feelings of stress, fear, frustration and anxiety come upon us, remember God is bigger than this virus, and in Jesus we can do all things!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 18 March 2020
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” – Isaiah 52:7
 
When things are going well it is easy to see beauty in life. When we are bombarded by bad news, and our way of life changes for the worse, the beautiful seems hidden. Amid all the bad news, remember the good news that our God reigns! God is larger, greater, stronger than any virus. God’s reigning glory is filling our spirits and enabling us to enjoy the beauty that is the secure comfort of our homes, good conversations, the silence of a moment, the words of a good book, the assurance that Jesus is working all things together for good. Because God reigns, this day is beautiful!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 17 March 2020
76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. – Psalm 119:76
 
As we navigate the uncharted and uncomfortable territory of the Corona virus, God’s unfailing love is with us. God’s unfailing love is our comfort. God’s comforting love comes to us in wonderful ways: A hot cup of coffee or tea. A cozy blanket. A favorite song. A friendly smile. A warm greeting. A good memory. A tasty meal. A good laugh. A singing bird. A sprouting plant. A dear friend. A precious family member. God’s unfailing love is all around us. What wonderful comfort!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 16 March 2020
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. – 1 John 4:18a
 
There’s always something to fear: The dark; getting lost; parents fighting; the school bully; like failing exams; losing our jobs; harm coming to our children; disease. Today the COVID19 virus makes us afraid. Whatever frightens us, the antidote is always the same: God. God is love. As light drives away darkness, God’s love casts out fear. With every breath we take God is filling us. Breathe in Jesus. Breathe out fear. Feel Jesus evicting every fear from you and filling you with confident, peaceful love. The cold dark of fear is no match for the warm light of Jesus’ love.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 13 March 2020
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” – 2 Kings 5:13
 
Naaman, Israel’s famous and beloved commander contracts leprosy. Devastated by the disease he sends for Elisha the prophet. Elisha sends a servant to Naaman, who instructs the commander to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River. Furious that Elisha sent a surrogate, Naaman storms off. Naaman’s servants beg him to humble himself and by bathing in the Jordan River. Sometimes God’s healing touch comes only when we humble ourselves. Pride injures. Humility heals. As we navigate the COVID19 outbreak let’s humbly invite Jesus to heal our fears and anxieties.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 12 March 2020
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. – Philippians 3:7
 
Through Jesus, we enjoy God’s unconditional love, continuous forgiveness, providing care, and enduring friendship. We still believe having enough money for food, shelter, transportation and medical care is important. But we no longer define our worth, or the value of others by possessions, popularity, or personality. Rather we define worth by the quality of our relationships with God, ourselves and others. Every day Jesus reaches out to us in hundreds of ways to assure us that He loves us and is with us. Through our faith in Jesus we find our infinite worth and the priceless value of others.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 11 March 2020
37 The foundation of the temple of the Lord was laid in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv. 38b [Solomon] had spent seven years building it. – 1 Kings 6:37, 38b
 
It takes seven years for the Israelites to build King Solomon’s temple. Seven years of strenuous labor. Building anything of worth takes time and disciplined commitment. We work to build relationships with partners, children, family and friends. Work is required to build homes that are havens of blessing and peace. Building satisfying careers takes determined work. Growing a relationship with Jesus that makes us people known for our joyous integrity takes work. Because Jesus fills us with His presence, we have all the strength we need to do the work required.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 10 March 2020
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. – Philippians 3:1
 
Yesterday I drove my 1990 Cadillac DeVille. This big, beautiful, hood ornamented, light blue car with a deep blue velvet interior that feels like a living room sofa, is one of my favorite places to be. What are your happy places? What places, when you are in them, make you feel good? The Apostle Paul invites us to make God one of our happy places. “Rejoice in the Lord,” he says. Being inside the presence, love, and care of God fills us with joy. Each time we enter those places that make us happy, we are also entering into God’s presence. God is in every place we enter that makes us happy.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 9 March 2020
The temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high. – 1 Kings 6:2
 
A temple is God’s dwelling place. The temple King Solomon builds is about ninety feet long, thirty feed wide and forty-five feet high. Because temples are dwelling places for God, temples can be anywhere. Where do you experience God’s presence? My den where I read the Bible, pray, and write Faith Builders is a temple. Another temple is the human body. The Apostle Paul assures us that our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit. When we spend time in the place where we experience God’s presence, we will also experience Jesus filling our minds and bodies with His Spirit.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 7 March 2020
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. – Psalm 90:4
 
God is never in a hurry. God never rushes us along. God is never too busy for us. The Lord is always be available, and never has somewhere else to be. Jesus always has time to enjoy our company, to hear our prayers, to hold us when we need His support, and to give us courage for difficult days. I love that God always has tie for us. Every day of our lives, Jesus is with us because He has plenty of time for us.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 6 March 2020
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. – Psalm 90:2
 
Time goes by too quickly. But God lives outside the pressures and confines of time. Because the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, He always has plenty of time. God has plenty of time for us, to hear us, to be with us and to love us because God has all eternity for us. God who has all the time in the universe for us, is the One who gives us everlasting life. Jesus treasures you and has all the time in the world for you.
 
Affectionately,
Ric

 

Thursday 5 March 2020

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. – Philippians 2:14-16a

 

We spend twelve to twenty-three years in school taking tests and being graded. We spend a lifetime taking tests and being graded by others. When things don’t go as planned and stress rises, others evaluate how well we respond to these life-tests. We cannot manufacture calm responses to life’s stress, but when we allow Jesus to fill us with His grace, peace strength, our grumbling goes away, and we grow in thoughtful flexibility. When family members, colleagues, neighbors, and friends experience Christ’s gracious, strong, peaceful demeanor through us, God’s love shines brightly in our lives.

 

Affectionately,

Ric
 
Wednesday 4 March 2020
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” – Philippians 2:14-15a
 
Doing some things without complaint is doable. When it’s convenient, when we are rested, when it’s scheduled, even challenging chores can be met head on with some hope and happiness. But doing everything without grumbling? Taking on tasks that are unscheduled inconveniences when we’re tired, and chipping away at these chores happily? All the time? This is impossible! Yes, it is. But faith in Jesus makes the impossible, possible. Faith in Jesus gives us the ability to take on every task with winsome, confident, uncomplaining joy.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 3 March 2020
20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy. – 1 Kings 4:20
 
When we have enough food and drink to enjoy, we are happy. Through good food we taste God’s loving goodness. Do the people in our church families, our communities, our neighborhoods have enough to eat? With our small acts of kindness we can help others to taste God’s love through good food. Our faith in Jesus leads us to look after the needs of others so that everyone has enough to eat and drink.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 2 March 2020
Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. – Psalm 144:12
 
On Monday 2 March 1992, Lisa delivered our oldest daughter Ashley. Holding this beautiful baby girl, I was amazed that we were parents. Twenty-eight 2 Marches later we are celebrating that sacred day on which God began teaching me that daughters are like pillars carved to adorn a palace. Pillars are filled with substance and strength. Pillars are filled with grace, beauty and the extraordinary ability to make the difficult (making mighty cathedrals stand) look easy. I praise God for Ashley and all women whose strength and substance make life in this world beautiful.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 29 February 2020
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:2
 
“Free Tide Detergent, Tap Here” declared the advertisement on the website from which I copied the Psalm 51:2. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if washing away our wrongdoings was as easy as washing our clothes? Actually, it’s easier. We don’t need detergent. All we need is Jesus. When we ask Jesus to forgive us, He washes away our sins. We are clean. It is this easy. Jesus’ forgiving love comes to us through His blood shed for us on the cross. Jesus did the difficult work of dying on the cross so that we could easily receive His cleansing forgiveness and a new beginning.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 28 February 2020
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. – Psalm 139:13
 
It is no accident that you exist. God planned for you to be alive in this world. Your biological parents may have been the ones through whom God worked to create you but be assured that at the center of your creation is God who loves you. God created you to love you, to enjoy your presence, and to give you the task – through your specific temperament, skills and abilities – of showing the world the love of Jesus, even as you enjoy Jesus’ love yourself.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 27 February 2020
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. – Psalm 90:1
 
Home is a place of shelter, safety and comfort. Home is a haven of blessing and peace. Home is the space in which wonderful memories are made. Home is the place where healing happens. Home is a place for rest and renewal. Home is the place where we are accepted, appreciated and loved. Home is a dwelling place. Our home is in God, who makes the place where we live, our home.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Ash Wednesday 26 February 2020
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. – Isaiah 61:1a, 3b
 
Ash Wednesday reminds us that we humans are frail, fallible and finite. Through the ashes of Ash Wednesday God assures us that Jesus brings light out of every dark time, healing from every painful experience, forgiveness from every transgression and everlasting life out of death. Jesus transforms our frailty, fallibility and death into strength, wisdom and everlasting life. Thanks be to God for Ash Wednesday!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 25 February 2020
The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field. – Psalm 103:15
 
Sixteen years ago, Lisa delivered our youngest child, Jonathan, while his twelve-year-old sister eagerly awaited news of the birth from her friend’s home. Life goes by too quickly to squander a single moment. God calls us to live in the present tense – to be fully present in each moment. Longing for the past, fixating on the future, and living in the present on “auto pilot” are wastes of precious time. God calls us to live fully in the present so that we do not miss a moment of blessings Jesus has for us to enjoy.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 24 February 2020
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
 
Jesus never uses His position for his own benefit. Jesus uses His God status to feed the hungry, heal the sick, befriend the lonely, forgive the sinner, and welcome the outcast. As our love for Jesus grows, we become more like Jesus – seeking to advance the good of others by working to feed the hungry, heal the sick, befriend the lonely, forgive the sinner and welcome the outcast. Sometimes these people are strangers. Often, they are family and friends. Always, Jesus is calling us to offer them His love.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 22 February 2020
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1
 
What do you fear? There are many things in our lives and in the world that chill our spirits with fear. These fears keep us awake at night, fill us with anxiety, and make us wonder how things can possibly be well again. When dark and foreboding fear grips your heart please remember that Jesus is our light in the darkness and our strength in the storm. You have nothing to fear.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 21 February 2020
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14
 
Waiting is in lines and at traffic lights is unpleasant. Waiting for vacation, for healing, for pay day isn’t fun. Waiting reminds us that our schedules are governed by powers and processes beyond our control. We can either wait with grace or allow the waiting to frustrate us. Waiting becomes bearable when we invite Jesus to be with us in our waiting. Jesus gives us strength to see our waiting as a process that strengthens our faith in God and grows our patience.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 20 February 2020
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; 2he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters – Psalm 23:1
 
What fills you with anxiety? I have always been terrified of tests. Convinced I did not know enough to do well, I spent the night and morning before an exam filed with anxiety. In these and other times when I feared I’d fail, I prayed Psalm 23. “The Lord is my Shepherd…” Through these words God calms our anxious spirits. Whenever anxiety floods your spirit, please pray Psalm 23:1-2. When we are stressed and anxious, God gathers us, cares for us and brings us peace.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 19 February 2020
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” – Matthew 20:16
 

We like to think that we can earn God’s love and our place in heaven. But we cannot earn God’s love heavenly home. This is wonderful news! Since we cannot earn God’s love or everlasting life, we cannot lose them. We enjoy our place in Christ’s heart and God’s kingdom because God loves us. God shows His love by mixing up the entire economy of “just desserts”. The first are last, the last are first, and all who place their trust in Jesus are in first place not because of what we deserve but because Jesus loves us.

 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 18 February 2020
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4
 
There are many good gifts God gives us to enjoy: delicious food, a comfortable bed, satisfying work, good music, good friends and family. Taking delight in the Lord means enjoying God. Are you enjoying your relationship with God? We take delight in God when we enjoy talking with God, discovering who God is through the Bible and creation, and being with people who love God. As our enjoyment of God grows, God’s desires become our desires and God’s joy becomes our strength.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 17 February 2020
13 The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” – 2 Chronicles 5:13a
 
The dedication of the Temple King Solomon builds for the Lord is a musical extravaganza. The song at the center of the music declares, “God is good; His love endures forever.” God’s love endures forever. No person nor force can end God’s love. God’s love for us will never fails. God’s love for all creation ever ends. God’s love will never be defeated. No matter what happens in life, God’s love covers us, keeps us, renews us and restores us – forever!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 15 February 2020
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. – Psalm 146:5
 
We are blessed when we choose to depend on God. Dependence on God frees us from the delusions that we can go it alone, that we can rely upon ourselves and that we are the source of our strength. Independence, self-reliance and inner strength always fail. Reliance on God’s help gives us hope. Jesus never fails us. When our help is the God of Jacob, we are hopeful. Such hope never fails us because God never fails.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 14 February 2020
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. – John 3:16-17
 
Jesus Christ is God’s great valentine gift. Better than a box of chocolates, better than roses, better than dinner out, God gives us Jesus. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s love. Jesus comes into the world, inviting us to trust in Him, enjoy His love and receive the strength, peace, forgiveness, joy and everlasting life that He has for us. What wonderful gifts to receive from the Author of Love. Jesus loves you! 
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 13 February 2020
26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” – 1 Kings 3:26
 
The baby died in the night and the Mom was heartbroken and angry. Her friend’s newborn was fine, and hers was gone. Desperate for a child, she takes the breathing baby, leaving her lifeless child in his place. Convinced she has been wronged; the living baby’s Mom brings her friend before King Solomon, who hears their case and orders the living baby be split in two and given to both. Immediately the true Mom implores Solomon to give the baby to the other woman. The real Mom gives up her son so he can live. Faithful love does whatever it takes for the beloved. Even letting go. 
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 12 February 2020
10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; 11 the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. – Psalm 147:10-11
 
We admire people who are strong, powerful, and attractive. When looking for Israel’s next King, the prophet Samuel was impressed by Jesse’s tall, muscular and attractive son Eliab, thinking “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here…” (I Samuel 16:6). God says to Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at outward appearance. God looks at the heart.” It is not our physical strength, our attractiveness, or our power that makes us God’s beloved. True beauty is on the inside. Faith in Jesus is where true strength and attractiveness are found.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 11 February 2020
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. – Psalm 147:4-5
 
God names each of the trillions of stars. This is amazing! God’s name for each star shows the depth and power of God’s love for creation. Our love and understanding are limited. God’s mighty love and understanding are limitless. God who names each star, knows us by name and understands us. God understands us because God listens to our needs, feels our pain, celebrates our successes, hears our hopes, feels our fears and is attentive to our thoughts. When it comes to God, we will never be misunderstood.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 10 February 2020
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. – Psalm 8:3-5
 

Looking into God’s starry sky on a clear winter’s night fills me with grateful joy. God created each star and gives every one of them a special name. Millions of stars, and millions of people, named and known intimately by God. No star is too far away to be known by God. No person is too small to be known by God, who treasures each of us. The Vince Guaraldi (composer of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” music) tune “Star Song” is for me a celebration of God’s loving care for all creation – even and especially each of us. Take a moment to enjoy the sweet sound of God’s love.

 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 8 February 2020
27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? – Matthew 6:27
 
Worry is being anxious about things over which we have no control. Worrying robs us of our peace and distorts our perspective. When we worry, we are deciding that our problem is larger than the Lord. Is something worrying you today? Give your worry to Jesus and allow Jesus to give you peace and restore your perspective. If you are not worried about anything allow the Lord to bring to your mind someone who is worried about something. Offer that person to Jesus so that you can be working with Christ to deliver someone from the cold and dreary shadows of worry.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 7 February 20202
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. – Psalm 119:105
 
One of God’s great gifts is the Bible. On the days when we feel like God is far away Psalm 139 assures us that there is nowhere you can go and be away from God’s loving presence. On the days when things are good or bad Philippians 1:6 promises that God who began a good work in us will complete it. On days when we are frightened, Jeremiah 29:11 assures us that God gives us hope and a good future. God’s words of the Bible are a lamp, lighting our way to and warming our spirits.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 6 February 2020
22 Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23
 
Compassion is sympathy that leads us to do merciful good for others and suffer with others. God’s sympathy for us never fails. Through Jesus and the good people in our lives God comes alongside us, does merciful good for us and shows us unconditional love through a willingness to suffer with us. This great love never fails us. As song writer Thomas Chisholm says, “Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand has provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 5 February 2020
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens – Ecclesiastes 3:1
 
The work of faith involves discerning God’s plans for our lives and God’s timing for the plans He has for us. When it comes to God’s timing and God’s plans for us it is tempting to ignore, flee or fight against them because God’s plans and God’s timing can be uncomfortable. Giving into such temptations is never good. Choosing to trust Jesus’ plans and Jesus’ timing always brings us to a place of peace and a place of joy, even when we don’t fully understand the plan or agree with its timing.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 4 February 2020

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” – Psalm 122:1

For as long as I can remember I have loved going to Church. Church is the special place where I connect with Jesus through my wonderful family of Faith. In the house of the Lord we share a common love for Jesus, a common commitment to welcoming all, and a common dedication to caring for people in the Church and in the world. Church family is a central part of life through which Jesus works to bring us joyous strength in Him and in each other. Church is not a perfect place, but the place where we go to grow in God’s perfect love. Our shared life together in Christ’s Faith Family is a gift and a treasure.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 3 February 2020
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. – Proverbs 31:10
 
A wife of noble character is first and foremost a woman of noble character. Women of noble character are priceless blessings. Think of the women who live out the love, grace, strength, integrity and beauty of God. These women inspire us to be people of noble character who show the world God’s great beauty. God shows us Jesus’ love through women of noble character whom we are blessed to have in our lives. They are more precious than all the rubies in the world!
 
Affectionately,
Ric