Friday 23 October 2020
17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Luke 18:17
 
Childlikeness is a wonderful combination of wonder and dependency. Children accept that they are dependent upon grownups to supply their needs, keep them safe, and love them. Children fill with wonder when opening presents, enjoying God’s creation, and eating yummy foods. For us grownups, childlikeness is accepting that we are dependent upon Jesus to supply our needs, keep us safe, and love us. Being childlike is also being filled with wonder that leads us to appreciate and enjoy Jesus’ love for us, God’s beautiful world and the satisfying life Jesus gives us.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 22 September 2020
11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. – Psalm 89:11
 
In her song, “The Simple Things”, jazz artist Eliane Elias sings “The night, the breeze, the light, the trees, the stars that shine, the love we find in simple things…” Life’s most enjoyable blessings are not things we buy or own. Life’s best blessings are free and should be available to all. When we are preoccupied with the need to own things, we keep ourselves from fully enjoying the simple gifts that God gives us every day. While mowing my lawn yesterday I was overcome with the beauty of the maple trees in my neighbors’ yards.  Please take time to enjoy God’s beautiful autumn creation. As Eliane sings, “The simplest things are the wonderful things in life…”
 
Affectionately,
Ric 
 
Wednesday 21 October 2020
See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. – Colossians 2:8
 
Promises of fulfillment, and purpose are offered to us every day by astrologers, electronics stores, online shopping sites, health spas, vacation getaways, virility medications and more. We are swimming in opportunities that promise to bring us a sense of purpose and fulfillment. But none of them ever deliver. The only one who can bring us a sense of lasting fulfilment and offer permanent purpose to our lives is Jesus. Jesus satisfies our deepest desires. Jesus meets our largest needs. Jesus is meaning. Jesus is purpose. Jesus is fulfillment. Breathe in deeply and invite Jesus to fill you with His fulfilling presence, love and joy.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 20 October 2020
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. – Job 12:7-8
 
George Washington Carver is a man after my heart! Like me he got up at 4:00 a.m. to spend time with God. Usually he’d take a walk in the woods. An agricultural scientist, Mr. Carver discovered the importance of crop rotation to keep farm soil from being depleted of its nutrients. One of his favorite verses was Job 12:7-8. Because of his deep listening to God through nature, Mr. Carver discovered over 300 uses for peanuts. The best way I know to fall in love with nature and grow our love for Jesus, is by taking Mr. Carver’s favorite verses to heart. Today, please spend some time asking God to show you something special through nature. God will answer your prayer and you will experience renewed joy.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 19 October 2020
rooted and built up in [Christ], strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:7
 
One of the best ways to deepen our faith in Jesus and more fully enjoy God’s love during our difficult days is to be thankful. There is so much for which to be thankful: Family and friends who love us just the way we are; a job; good health; a warm home; a wonderful church family; delicious food; a Savior who loves us unconditionally and promises to be with us always. Being thankful for these great gifts enables us to navigate the worst of times. And knowing that Jesus is with us to bring us safely through these terrible times fills me with an overflowing spirit of thankfulness!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 17 October 2020
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2
 
According to Webster’s Dictionary the definition if devote is “to commit by a solemn act”. God calls us to be committed to praying, being watchful and being thankful. When we commit to growing a life of prayer, watchfulness, and thankfulness we more fully enjoy God’s love. Commit to talking to God by setting aside specific times for prayer. Shower time, drive time and exercise time are my favorite prayer times. Commit to being watchful by examining how we live.  And when we are intentional in thankfulness by choosing to give thanks at least three times a day, we will more fully enjoy God.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 16 October 2020
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, – Colossians 2:6
 
Do you remember the day you decided to place your trust in Jesus? Or are you someone who has loved Jesus for as long as you can remember? Whether we can point to a specific day of decision for Christ or not, what matters most is our current commitment to continuing our relationship with Jesus. Continuing to dedicate our lives to following Jesus means choosing to love, trust and enjoy Jesus with our minds and our lives. Continuing to enjoy a good relationship with Jesus takes commitment, communication, and courage. These are easy to find as we more fully enjoy Jesus’ commitment to us, communication with us, and courage for us.   
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 15 October 2020
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. – Colossians 1:27
 
How a caterpillar becomes a butterfly is a mystery. But the results of the transformation are beautiful. When we accept God’s invitation to love, trust and follow Jesus, He lives His life through us, making us new creations. How this happens is a great mystery. But the results are beautiful. Living His life through us, Jesus strengthens the good in us and remakes everything else that is less than good. Have you accepted God’s invitation to love, trust and follow Jesus? Then Jesus is living in you and through you. Jesus is making you and your life beautiful. 
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 14 October 2020
22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. – Colossians 1:22-23
 
Reconciliation ends hostilities, repairs damaged relationships and brings new beginnings. Jesus’ death reconciles us to God. The cross is the bridge that reconnects us to God. On the surface the cross looks like death and endings. In reality, the cross is life and new beginnings. We’ve experienced many painful, heartbreaking endings this year. When all we can see are endings, Jesus calls us to look to the cross, receive healing and discover new beginnings.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 13 October 2020
This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” – Zechariah 13:9
 
Trials and difficulties in our lives are never pointless. When we experience tough times, God works through our difficulties to purify our thoughts and motives, deepen our dependence on Jesus, and strengthen our Faith. God never wastes a hurt. Jesus works through our pain, our trials, our disappointments and our heartbreaks to bring about something good. God is redeeming our trials. The best reminder for us that God can bring good out of bad is the cross. Jesus takes an instrument of hatred, pain and death and transforms it into an instrument of forgiveness, reunion and life. God never wastes a hurt.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 8 October 2020
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. – Colossians 1:15
 
Jesus comes into the world to show us who God is, what God is like, and how God lives. Through His birth, Jesus shows us that God does whatever it takes to spend time with His people. Through His life, Jesus assures us that God is not impressed with prestige or power but loves ordinary people. Through the cross, Jesus shows us that not even the deadliest hatred can kill God’s love for us. Through Easter, Jesus offers everlasting life to all creation. This is the Jesus who loves us, lives in us and lives for us. This Jesus is leading us through every day of our lives.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
Note: The Daily Faith Builder will resume on Monday 12 October.
 
Wednesday 7 October 2020
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 1:4-5
 
Enjoying delicious food is a wonderful way to taste God’s love. Sharing a meal with someone special makes good food taste even better. After Easter, Jesus spends forty days enjoying meals with them His close friends and followers. Over tasty food Jesus assures His disciples that they will be filled with the Holy Spirit. Food nourishes our bodies and feeds our souls. Enjoying delicious meals with people we love gives us the encouragement we need to navigate these difficult and anxious days. Unfortunately, we cannot be with many people with whom we’d love to share a meal. But maybe there are a few people who are being cautious who we could safely eat with so that we will taste the goodness of companionship.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 6 October 2020
18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. – Psalm 119:18
 
Each morning I feed the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. Recently my wildlife diner under the hemlocks and rhododendrons gained a rabbit. At first the rabbit would flee when I came near. During the months it has come to trust that I am a friendly food service. In the silence of my early morning wildlife feedings I experience God’s beauty, creativity, and care as I connect with the creation God’s loves. Through sights of God’s creatures and sounds of their trusting enjoyment of seed God fills me with joy that carries me through the day. In our morning silence, Jesus has sights, sounds, smells and tastes for us that bring us joyous strength for the day.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 5 October 2020
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, – Colossians 1:11
 
Do you like Monday’s? Do you see Monday as the beginning of a new week filled with opportunities and adventures? Or do you view Monday as the beginning of a week filled with uncertainties, difficulties and stress? For those who don’t like Mondays please know that God is calming your anxiety, filling you with Holy Spirit powered endurance, and giving you Jesus-inspired patience and hope. Mondays are filled with God’s loving joy, which is the source of our strength for Mondays and the following days.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 3 October 2020
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. – Psalm 62:1
 
Please don’t spend all of Saturday doing chores. Be sure to take some time to relax and rest in God’s love. When we rest in God, the Lord refreshes our mind as well as our body. When we slow down and relax, God also restores our souls. God’s restoration gives our minds renewed sharpness and our bodies renewed strength. Do the Saturday chores. But don’t work all day. Please take time to rest in Jesus so that today is good and restful day.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 2 October 2020
19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven – Daniel 2:19
 
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has a disturbing dream. Without telling them about the dream, Nebuchadnezzar insists that his wise men tell him what the dream means. Furious that no one is wise enough to reveal his dream and its meaning, Nebuchadnezzar orders the execution the wise men. Rather than panicking, Daniel prays. During the night God reveals the king’s dream to Daniel, who reveals the dream’s meaning to the king. When the impossible is confronts us do not panic. Pray! Pray to Jesus who did the impossible when He rose from the dead. Jesus who lives in us give us everything we need to do the impossible.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
 
Thursday 1 October 2020
10 “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” – Zechariah 4:10
 
While overseeing the construction of God’s Temple in the 530s B.C. Zerubbabel is inundated with complaints of its small size. Zechariah the priest invites God’s people to see small as beautiful. As huge problems, challenges, fears, and stresses confront us, it is easy to lose sight of the small gifts that bring beauty to life such as smiles, encouraging words, thoughtful deeds. We may not be able to fix the whole world but by God’s grace we can make our small corner beautiful for ourselves and others as we enjoy and share these small but beautiful gifts of smiles, encouraging words, and thoughtful deeds. Small is beautiful.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 30 September 2020
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. – Philippians 3:15-16
 
The World According to Mister Rogers, is a book of small sayings packed with deep meaning. On page 34 Fred Rogers writes, “All life events are formative. All contribute to what we become, year by year, as we go on growing. As my friend the poet Kenneth Koch once said, ‘You aren’t just the age you are. You are all the ages you ever have been!’” God works through all our experiences to mature us in wisdom, faith, joy and beauty and love for others. God works through everything we experience in life to make us into the people God wants us to be. We are all the ages we’ve ever been! How wonderful!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 29 September 2020
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  – John 20:21-22
 
God designed into us a built-in stress reliever – breathing through our noses. In 1998 Doctors Robert Furchgott, Louis Ignarro and Ferid Murad won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering that breathing in through the nose creates nitric oxide which reduces stress, decreases blood pressure, increases blood flow to all of our organs. When Jesus appears to His dear friends on the evening of the first Easter, they are stressed. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” Jesus says and then breathes on them. Breathe in through your nose and feel the Holy Spirit filling you as God’s gift of nitric oxide (which comes to through nasal breathing) relieves your stress.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 28 September 2020
35 He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs. – Psalm 107:35
 
Brown grass, wilted rhododendrons, drooping flowers and soil that is parched and powdery are signs of the severe drought in Connecticut. Sometimes we feel as parched as drought-stricken land. During these spiritual dry spells God feels far away, our spirits are downcast, and joyous laughter is a memory. While we may not feel God’s presence during these spiritual dry spells, Jesus is with us. Jesus is close to us, holding us, loving us and reviving us with His living water of saving love, even though we don’t feel Him. Take heart, Jesus is with you. Your drought is ending.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 26 September 2020

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

– Hebrews 1:1-2
 
Jesus is always speaking with us. Maltbie Babcock celebrates this wonderful reality by declaring, “This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair; in the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.” God speaks to us everywhere and all the time. Through singing birds, good music, people who love us, the wind in the trees, the Bible, laughter and silence, Jesus is speaking to us. Not a moment goes by in our lives when Jesus is not speaking with us. In the rustling grass we hear Jesus pass. Jesus speaks to us Everywhere!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 25 September 2020
1 The LORD spoke to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: 2 “Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. – Numbers 1:1-2
 
“Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will amaze you what the Lord has done,” declares the old hymn. In these challenging times it can be easy to lose sight of the good gifts God gives us. Please take some time to take a census of your blessings. What are seven blessings you enjoy? Over the next seven hours give thanks to God for each of the seven. Seven is a sacred number that celebrates completeness. God gives us all the blessings we need, and many more. And God works through us so we can bless others.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 24 September 2020
10 My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. – Psalm 7:10
 
Shields are on our minds a lot these days. These shields that are part of our new daily routine include face masks, face shields, social distancing, virtual meetings and window visits. Our greatest shield is Jesus. Jesus is our shield and defender who protects our hearts from despair, our minds from anxiety, our spirits from loneliness and our bodies from disease. Each time we pack or put on our face mask, may we remember that Jesus our Shield is protecting us in the ways that matter most as Jesus protects our joy, our peace, our relationships and our health.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 23 September 2020
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives – Colossians 1:9
 
One of the great privileges I enjoy is praying for you. You are in my prayers, and I think about you throughout the week. I ask God to protect and care for you. I pray for Jesus to fill you the Holy Spirit’s wisdom so you can successfully navigate the intricacies and complexities of life. On the days when you are not sure what to do…On the days when you feel frightened, isolated and anxious, please know I am praying for you. On the days when you do not understand why things are as they are, please remember that you are in my prayers and Jesus is with you. 
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 22 September 2020
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. – 1 John 4:7
 
Every day we experience God’s love. God’s love comes to us through the Bible stories and songs of Faith. through good friends, good food and good memories we enjoy God’s love. God’s love comes to us through blue skies, starry nights, chilly mornings and autumn colors. The more we enjoy God’s love in these many ways the better we become at loving ourselves and one another.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 21 September 2020
the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. – Colossians 1:5-6a
 
We make deposits into our checking account so that the money is there when we need it. God makes deposits of hope in our hearts so that hope filled faith and love will be available to us when most needed. Faith and love spring form the hope God deposits into our spirits. As we go through trying times that drain our hope, Jesus deposits hope in our hearts each moment of every day. Because Jesus is the Depositor, we will always have all the hopeful faith and love we need so that the trials, stresses and tragedies of life will never get the best of us. Today, feel Jesus filling you with hope-filled faith and love.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 19 September 2020
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – Colossians 1:3-4
 
Faith in Jesus leads to love for others. When we place our trust in Jesus, we invite Jesus to shape our thoughts, inspire our words and inform our deeds. Faith in Jesus opens our minds so that Christ’s thoughts become our thoughts and Christ’s ways become our ways. When Jesus’ thoughts and ways are part of us, then seeking the wellbeing of others becomes our way of life.
 
Affectionately,
Ric 
 
Friday 18 September 2020
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:4-5
 
I love cars. The oldest car in my stable is Audrey. (All my cars have names.) Audrey is a pale yellow 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme named for my friend Ken’s mother-in-law. Audrey is temperamental, has some quirks and needs a lot of loving kindness. But each time I hear her Rocket 350 engine roar to life I am in my happy place. Like Audrey we are temperamental, have some quirks and need lots of loving kindness. Every day, Jesus generously gives us God’s loving kindness. Jesus gives us God’s loving kindness not because of good things we have done, but because Jesus loves us with all His heart, and delights in caring for us – quirks and all.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 17 September 2020
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. – Matthew 12:25
 
Focusing on differences requires no faith in God or love for each other. Focusing on what unites us requires faith in Jesus who longs for us to be one. Focusing on what unites us requires humility, unconditional love, and a listening spirit. We are united by our common humanity, our hunger for acceptance, our need for food, clothing, shelter and a safe environment. We are united by our love of beauty, our passion for happiness, and our hunger for self-expression. We are united the God who creates all humans in God’s image. Our greatest strength is also our greatest challenge: Working to discover, nurture and celebrate all that unites us. By God’s grace we can do this!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 16 September 2020
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing – 2 Thessalonians 1:3
 
The best way I know to share my faith in Jesus is by loving others. Loving each other is all about recognizing the God-given beauty that is in each person. Sometimes this beauty is easy to find. Sometimes it takes work. Always it is present. Sadly, the beauty of many people is hidden under the scars of fear, anxiety, depression, insecurity, abuse. Jesus always looks beneath the surface to see our God-given inner beauty and to bring healing to our scars. When we love Jesus, we too look beneath the surface to see the precious God given beauty that lives in every human being because every human being is created in the beautiful image of God.

 

Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 15 September 2020
How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. – Psalm 104:24
 
Each season has unique sounds and smells and sights. While summer is with us through 21 September, the sounds and smells of fall are filling the air. Early morning birdsong is being replaced by the soothing sound of crickets. The fragrance of falling leaves is scenting the air. All things pumpkin spice are available. As we moving into an autumn filled with strange and stressful experiences of COVID-19, God invites us to enjoy the sounds of crickets, the smells of falling leaves and all of the other simple pleasures of autumn through which we experience the presence and peace of Jesus.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 14 September 2020
Now this was how the lampstand was made, out of hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand. – Numbers 8:4
 
The top of the Moses’ sanctuary lampstand was decorated with golden flowers. Flowers are central to worship. Colorful, fragrant and wonderfully different flowers are a picture of God’s loving, creative beauty. Seeing flowers makes my heart sing, “Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away. Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!” Through September’s asters, sedum and goldenrod, Jesus calls our hearts to unfold in the radiance of His love where we receive the immortal gladness Jesus has for us to enjoy today and every day.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 12 September 2020
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. – Matthew 5:14-16
 
Jesus is the Light of the world. When we place our trust in Jesus, we are filled with His light. As Jesus shines in us, He illuminates all that is beautiful, good and right in us. As Christ’s light shines through us others experience the love of Jesus in our lives. Because Jesus lives in and through us we are the Light of the world. Today receive the light of Jesus and allow Christ’s light to fill you so that you and others will experience the warming, guiding, and inviting love of Jesus. 
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 11 September 2020
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. 16 The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. – Psalm 7:15-16
 
On 11 September 2001 Al Qaida attacked the United States hoping to dig a pit of destruction, death and despair. Osama bin Laden expected that we would be unable to lift ourselves out of the pit. He was wrong. He failed to read King David’s words that whoever digs a pit falls into the pit they have made. Mr. bin Laden eventually fell into his pit. And by God’s grace we emerged stronger, smarter and more vigilant. On this day of remembrance Jesus calls us to fill in the pits, of the pandemic, racism and hunger and to make level the way that leads all people to experience the healing love of Jesus Christ our Savior, who raises us from every pit, every time.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 10 September 2020
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. – Psalm 126:4
 
The rainy season in Israel transforms the Negev from a dry gully into a vibrant, rushing river. The Negev is parched and barren during one season. But during another is transformed into a vibrant center of rushing life. What a perfect picture of our lives. There are times when we feel parched and barren. Sometimes we know the cause. Sometimes we have no idea why we feel the way we do. Then there are times when we experience a wonderful sense of wellbeing. Our souls, like streams in the Negev, need God’s life-giving love. Jesus is with us. Jesus loves us. Jesus is pouring His love upon us and restoring our fortunes like streams in the Negev.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 9 September 2020
5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. – Psalm 126:5
 
Have you cried more this year than last year? We have much to cry over. Crying is good for the soul. Our tears remind us that we are vulnerable, that disappointment is painful, and that no matter our age or strength we are frail, vulnerable and need God’s care. Crying opens us to new insights about ourselves, about Jesus, and about life. Crying is a gift to be embraced. When we cry, Jesus enfolds us in His arms of love, to comforts us with His peace, and offers us God’s healing care.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 8 September 2020
10 “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” – Zechariah 4:10
 
To the Israelites who remember the greatness and grandeur of the Temple before it was destroyed, the rebuilt Temple of the Lord seems small and second rate. For we who remember what life was like when we could gather 160 strong in worship, fill our homes with family and friends for celebrations and pack ourselves into a sports stadium to root for our team, our new normal life seems second rate. God assures us through Zechariah that present greatness is not determined by past grandeur. Small is beautiful. Small is sacred. Small gatherings, small spaces and small moments are filled with God’s greatness.
 
Affectionately,
Ric

 

Monday 7 September 2020

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. – Zechariah 4:6
 
Zerubbabel was the last of King David’s descendants to be entrusted with political power. Zerubbabel doubts his ability to lead the recently returned Judean exiles who are working to rebuild their homes and God’s temple. God speaks to this self-doubting king through the prophet Zechariah, who assures Zerubbabel that God’s will give him all the wisdom, strength and perseverance he needs for his overwhelming task. What overwhelming tasks stand before you today, filling you with self-doubt? Be assured that the Holy Spirit is giving you the wisdom, strength and perseverance, you need. Everything will be well because it’s not by might, nor by power, but by God’s spirt that we will succeed.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
Saturday 5 September 2020
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
 
We all struggle with negative feelings about ourselves and things we do not like about ourselves. Today I want us to let go of these negative feelings forever. Every day, Jesus lovingly enters our lives and fills us with God’s forgiveness, healing, acceptance, and restoration. Jesus loves us just the way we are. Whenever the demons of self-disappointment and self-loathing start poisoning our thoughts, please remember that Jesus loves us as we are, and Jesus is making us into new creations with His forgiving, healing, accepting and restoring touch. We are wonderfully made, and deeply loved by Jesus.
 
Affectionately,
Ric 
 
Friday 4 September 2020
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 5It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. – Psalm 19:4a-6
 
The days are getting shorter. I’ve been running on my treadmill because 5:00 a.m. looks like the middle of the night. September is here. Fall is coming. No matter how short the days become, the sun still brightens the skies and warms our world. The sun’s presence is a reliable constant in our lives. Just as nothing is deprived of the sun’s life-giving warmth, no one is deprived of the Son’s life-giving love. Jesus warms our lives with His love and lights our way with His presence.  Jesus’ loving presence in our lives is as certain as the sun shining every day.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 3 September 2020
As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. – Psalm 84:6
 
Each Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. I have a standing appointment with a shopping cart. Yesterday while wheeling my groceries to the rains poured down on me. After putting my bags in the trunk and returning the cart, I fell drenched into the driver’s seat – and laughed! After a long, hot, dusty, dry summer, God’s heavenly water felt great! The Valley of Baka is an arid, desolate space near Jerusalem that pilgrims traveling to God’s Temple walked through. When life feels arid, dry, and desolate, please know that Jesus is with us raining living water upon our lives to refresh our souls and restore our joy. Jesus’ wonderfully refreshing rains come when we least expect them! I’m so glad I didn’t have an umbrella!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 2 September 2020
12 Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. – Psalm 84:12
 
Sometimes it is easy to trust in Jesus. Memories of God’s loving care are fresh in our minds; things are going well in life; and God’s plan makes sense to us. Then there are times when trusting in the Lord is not easy. Jesus feels far away; things going on in our lives make us wonder if God cares about us; God seems silent; Jesus’ plans for us make little sense. Trusting Jesus when trust does not come easily takes work. Placing our confidence in Christ’s care for us – especially on the difficult days – opens us to receiving God’s peace and joy. They may not come right away, but I promise, you will receive God’s peace and God’s joy.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 1 September 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
 
After yesterday’s run, I took some time to cool off while drinking a cup of coffee (Granny always said, “Hot coffee cools the blood,”) and then went out to feed the birds. While spreading piles of seed on the ground beneath the hemlock trees, I enjoyed the songs of blue jays waiting to eat. Their loud and happy calls filled my heart with happiness. Through the bright carols of the blue jays I heard God assuring me that just as God works through me to care for His precious blue jays, Jesus cares for us, His precious people through the supportive kindness we receive from those who love us – be they people, pets or blue jays!
 
Affectionately,
Ric