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