Friday 28 January 2022
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. – Psalm 90:2-4
 
Life goes quickly. While life in this world may be fleeting, thankfully, our God is forever. When we place our trust in Jesus Christ, we enjoy a wonderful forever that starts in this world and never ends. As the song “O God Our Help In Ages Past” declares, “Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame, from everlasting, Thou art God, to endless years the same.  O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, be Thou our guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.”
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 26 January 2022
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. – Psalm 90:1-2
 
President Franklin Roosevelt began the tradition of holding a worship service before the inauguration. With America in the grip of the Great Depression Mr. Roosevelt chose the Isaac Watts song, “O God, Our Help In Ages Past” (based on Psalm 90) for the service. “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home. Under the shadow of Thy throne, still may we dwell secure; sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.” God is our help, strength and defense. Jesus is sheltering and guiding us through all life’s stormy blasts.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 26 January 2022
My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you.For you have upheld my right and my cause, sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. – Psalm 9:3-4
 
Often our enemies are stress, doubt, fear, hatred, addictions, worry, anxiety, loneliness, depression. These enemies can wear us down and paralyze us. During the battles, we always find protecting shelter in Jesus who is stronger than any force that seeks to undo us. Jesus is giving us all the strength, courage, and resources we need to gain the victory.   
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 25 January 2022
I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. – Psalm 9:2
 
What makes you glad? Your favorite dinner? A delicious breakfast? A hot beverage on a cold morning? The company of a good friend? A hot shower? Spending time with family? A pet snuggled in your lap?  Whatever is happening in life, bad or good, God fills us with a spirit of gladness when we offer ourselves to Jesus. God’s gladness is not superficial happiness. God’s gladness is lasting assurance that Jesus is with us to love, guide, forgive and keep us.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 24 January 2022
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 9:1
 
Jesus loves us with all His heart. Jesus is completely devoted to us and 100% committed to our wellbeing. Whom do we love wholeheartedly? A pet? A partner? A child? A friend? Today, God is inviting us to love Jesus with all our hearts. As our love for Jesus grows so does our gratitude. Wholehearted gratitude is the result of wholehearted love for Jesus.
 

Affectionately,

Ric

 
Saturday 22 January 2022
16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. – Matthew 3:16
 
John Wimber, the Vineyard Christian Fellowship Pastor writes “Spirit Song” in 1979. “O let the Son of God, enfold you with His Spirit and His love. Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul. O let Him the things that hold you, and His Spirit like a dove will descend upon your life and make you whole…O give Him all your tears and sadness, give Him all your years of pain, and you’ll enter into life in Jesus’ name.” “Spirit Song” is a song that brings us into the sheltering, healing love of Jesus.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 

Friday 21 January 2022

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6
 
Jesus speaks these words to His disciples shortly before He is arrested. While reading these words in 1633, George Herbert is inspired to write, “Ask ye what great thing I know, that delights and stirs me so? What the high reward I win? Who’s the name I glory in? Jesus Christ the crucified. Who defeats my fiercest foes? Who consoles my saddest woes?  Who revives my fainting heart, healing all its hidden smart? Jesus Christ the crucified.” Knowing that Jesus is the way to forgiveness, healing, and everlasting joy for all people is the greatest blessing!  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 20 January 2022
16 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. – Psalm 147:16
 
Silently crystal after crystal descends from the heavens, noiselessly landing in the world and transforming the appearance of all that is touched. Soon a clean white beauty covers all. One delicate, beautifully intricate snow crystal by itself goes unnoticed. But billions of them put together change our lives.  And through these flakes of snow God reminds us that it is the delicate, the beautiful, and the intricate that have the power to change our lives and inspire awe over God’s greatness.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 19 January 2022
24 Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin. – Proverbs 18:24
 
When Joseph Scriven discovers his Mother is seriously ill, he sends a letter from Ontario, Canada, to her home in Dublin, Ireland. (101 Hymn Stories. Kenneth W. Osbeck. p. 276.) At the end of the letter, he includes the words, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Jesus is our Savior, our Lord, and our Friend. Please join me in praying every day, “What a Friend we have in Jesus!”
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 18 January 2022
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
 
During the early 1920’s Thomas Chisolm inspired by Lamentations, writes the well-known song of faith, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. “Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; there is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not; as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be. 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, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand hath provided; great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!” Jesus’ faithfulness brings us pardon and peace.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 17 January 2022 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The best way we can honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is by incorporating his message of racial justice and non-violence into our daily lives.
 
Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” reminds us that God calls us to do the work to build in our nation what the late John Lewis calls, “the Beloved Community” by building a culture of equity that embraces the sacred worth of every individual no matter their color, creed, or orientation. As we remember Dr. King on this sacred day, may his words get into our souls and shape our lives.
 
“…I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere in this country.”
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 15 January 2022
27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. – Deuteronomy 33:27
 
Before he dies, Moses gives Israel’s tribe, Asher a blessing, assuring them they will always find refuge beneath the everlasting arms of God. This verse inspired Elisha Hoffman to write, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”. “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness what a peace is mine leaning on the everlasting arms. What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near leaning on the everlasting arms.” Today, lean on Jesus’ everlasting arms for strength, peace, and joy.
 
Affectionately,

Ric

 
Friday 14 January 2022
How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. – Psalm 84:1, 2, 10
 
“How lovely is Your dwelling place, Oh Lord Almighty.  My soul longs and even faints for You.  Oh here my soul is satisfied within Your presence.  I sing beneath the shadow of Your wings.  Better is one day in Your courts, better is one day in Your house, better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere.”  The song, “Better Is One Day”, by Chris Tomlin, (click on the button above to enjoy the song) takes us to Psalm 84. The psalm and the song assure us that the greatest blessing we enjoy is living in God’s loving, sustaining and saving presence.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 13 January 2022
Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.” – Revelation 4:8
 
Many of the great songs of Faith that we sing are based on passages found in the Bible. Let’s spend some days nourishing our spirits through the Scriptures and the songs they inspired. Upon reading Revelation 4:8-11 Reginald Heber pens the words to the great song “Holy, Holy, Holy”. This song is a great prayer.  “Holy, Holy, Holy!  Lord God Almighty! All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth and sky and sea. Holy, Holy, Holy!  Merciful and mighty, God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” 
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 12 January 2022
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord – Luke 2:22
 
Dedicating their firstborn is a sacred moment for Jesus’ Mother, Stepfather and Father. Today is a perfect time for dedicating ourselves and our families to Jesus. Please take a moment to dedicate yourself and your family to Jesus and feel in your spirit the warm embrace of God embracing you and your family with Jesus’ unconditional love.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 11 January 2022
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. – Luke 2:21
 
Mary and Joseph accept God’s invitation to name their child “Jesus”. Jesus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means the Lord saves. I love that Jesus’ name means “the Lord saves.” What do we need Jesus to save us from? Today Jesus is saving us from fear, worry, anxiety, and everything else that burdens our souls and wearies our spirits. In every situation we are well because Jesus saves!  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 10 January 2022
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – Luke 2:20
 
The shepherds are the first to visit God in human form. The shepherds realize on that first Christmas night that they are important to God. The shepherds leave Christmas praising God for allowing them to welcome Jesus.  God’s love for the shepherds assures us that we too are God’s beloved children. The shepherds’ loving welcome of Jesus into their lives and hearts shows us that Jesus’ birth changes everything – even the bleakest of days – for the better.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 8 January 2022
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19
 
By pondering the amazing events of Christmas Mary stores them in core of her being – her heart. Have we taken time to ponder Christmas 2021 in our hearts? How have you experienced Christ’s presence this Christmas? What events grew our faith in Jesus? What about Christmas touched us with the amazing love of Jesus?  By pondering the amazing events of Christmas 2021 we store them in our hearts where Jesus works through them to shape our minds and lives.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 7 January 2022
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. – Luke 2:17-18
 
God comes to the shepherds. God is coming to you today. At some point during this snowy day, you will meet Jesus. Today, when you experience the Lord’s presence, you will be forever changed as the hope, joy, forgiveness, and peace of Jesus fill your spirit and renew your life. After you experience Jesus today, please share Christ’s joy with others. 
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
 
Thursday 6 January 2022 – Epiphany 
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. – Matthew 2:9
 
Today is Epiphany, which means “revealing”. On this day (also called “Three Kings Day” or “Little Christmas”) we celebrate God working through the convergence of Jupiter and Saturn to reveal to the Magi the arrival of the King who is the Savior of the World. During this new year God is working through situations, people and inner experiences of the heart, to reveal Jesus to you in new and wonderful ways.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 5 January 2022 – Twelfth Day of Christmas
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. – Luke 2:16
 
God invites the Shepherds to look Jesus. God invites us to do the same. We’re not traveling to Bethlehem, but we can look for Jesus in the Bible by reading the book of Luke. We can look for Jesus in the sermons, songs, and prayers of worship. Let’s look for Jesus in nature, in other people, and in quiet moments of prayer.  When we look for Jesus, like the shepherds, we find Him.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 4 January 2022 – Eleventh Day of Christmas
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15
 
Are we making time to go to Bethlehem? During the remainder of the Christmas season God invites us to go to Bethlehem by going to the places and doing the things that bring us close to Jesus. Where do you experience Jesus? Go to that place. How do you experience Jesus? Do that activity. Let’s go to Bethlehem!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 3 January 2022 – Tenth Day of Christmas
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2:13-14
 
God’s favor is never something we earn. God’s favor is always a gift to be received and enjoyed. When we receive Jesus’ love we live in God’s favor. When we live in God’s favor, we know God’s peace, which carries us through every situation and circumstance. God’s peace built on the reality that Jesus loves us, Jesus is with us, and Jesus is making all things well.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 1 January 2022
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:12
 
The angel tells the shepherds they will find God the Son in a stable’s feeding trough. Jesus is present in the most ordinary of places. We always experience Jesus in life’s ordinary places and circumstances. Please spend 2022 looking for Jesus in the “mangers” – the ordinary places – of life. Jesus’ presence transforms ordinary into sacred. And sacred is always extraordinarily wonderful.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 31 December 2021 – Seventh Day of Christmas
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem – Matthew 2:1
 
Saturn and Jupiter coming together in the Pisces section (western horizon) of the sky give God’s message of Jesus’ birth to gentile astronomers living in what is modern day Bagdad, Iraq. Jesus invites all humankind to enjoy a healthy loving relationship with God. Jesus does whatever it takes to reveal God’s love to everyone. How is Jesus revealing God’s love to you this Christmas?
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 29 December 2021 – Sixth Day of Christmas
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. – Luke 2:11
 
Jesus comes as a newborn to show us that God is serious about making all things new. Jesus our Savior is born to bring new hope, new life, new strength, new peace, new joy and new life. God does a completely new thing by coming into the world as a human being to walk with us, live within us and give us beautiful new beginnings.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 29 December 2021 – Fifth Day of Christmas
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. – Luke 2:10
 
God’s good news is not for a select few. God’s good news is for all people. God who created all people in God’s image, loves all people deeply. God longs for all people to know joy. Joy is deep inner happiness that is not shaped by external circumstances. Joy springs from the assurance that Jesus loves us, Jesus is with us, and Jesus who saves us is working all things together for our good. Jesus’ birth is good news brings us great joy as God’s presence in us heals our brokenness, repairs our loneliness, and fills us with light.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 28 December 2021 – Fourth Day of Christmas
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. – Luke 2:9
 
The unimportant shepherds never expected a visit from anyone because everyone looked past them – as if they didn’t exist. So, the unexpected appearance of angels is terrifying. Unexpected events in our lives are unsettling because they are unexpected! Whether good or bad, God works through all unexpected events strengthen our resolve, deepen our faith, and broaden our love.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 27 December 2021 – Third Day of Christmas
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. – Luke 2:8
 
Raising perfect sheep for Temple sacrifices requires shepherds to live with their sheep. Spending their lives separated from the rest of the world, these shepherds are overlooked by everyone. But they know their work matters to God. There are many people in today’s world who are overlooked and undervalued. Do you ever feel overlooked and undervalued? You Matter to God! God never overlooks or undervalues you. You are God’s beloved treasure.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Christmas Day Saturday 25 December 2021
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – Luke 2:7b
 
Christmas has always been about wrapping. Mary wraps Jesus in bands of cloth to keep His body straight, warm, and safe. Jesus is born on Christmas rescue us from everything we get wrapped up in: Anxiety, fear, racism, addiction, depression, disappointment, loneliness and insecurity. Through Christmas Jesus wraps us in God’s Love, God’s Freedom, God’s Joy, God’s Forgiveness, God’s New Beginnings, God’s Strength, God’s Peace and God’s Everlasting Life. There’s nothing better than Christmas wrapping!
 
Christmas Blessings,
Ric
 
Christmas Eve Friday 24 December 2021
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. – Luke 2:6-7a
 
While Joseph and Mary are in Bethlehem for the census, Christmas comes. Neither Mary nor Joseph are ready. Whether we are ready or not, Christmas comes. Christmas comes because God decides it is time for the world to be released from separation, isolation, fear, shame and death. Christmas comes because Jesus wants us to enjoy God’s love, fellowship, and life. Are we ready for Christmas? Thankfully, it doesn’t matter.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 23 December 2021
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. – Luke 2:5
 
Joseph travels ninety miles south to his hometown of Bethlehem from Nazareth to register for the Roman taxation census.  Joseph never imagined he would marry a woman pregnant with someone else’s son. Life rarely works out according to our plans and expectations. God works through unplanned challenges and trials to bless us with the best of Christmas gifts. Joseph receives the gift of Jesus and fatherhood. We receive Jesus’ saving love, forgiveness, peace, and healing.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 21 December 2021
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8
 
Christina Rossetti’s beautiful carol celebrates Jesus’ birth by declaring, “Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, love divine; Love was born at Christmas, Star and angels gave the sign.” Through Christmas lights, Christmas trees, Christmas music, Christmas worship and Christmas quiet Jesus comes to us again and is born within us anew.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 20 December 2021
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee – Luke 1:26
 
The Judeo-Christian Faith is about enjoying a relationship with God who reaches out to us to make us whole. When elderly Elizabeth is six months pregnant with John the Baptist, God reaches out to Mary through the angel Gabriel asking Mary’s permission to make her pregnant with Jesus. Christmas celebrates God reaching out to us by becoming one of us.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 18 December 2021

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” – Isaiah 49:6

 
Jesus is born on Christmas to be the light who gathers all people to God’s saving care. This Christmas, Jesus is lighting a path for us to come and enjoy the embrace of God’s healing, forgiving, restoring love. To enjoy Jesus’ Christmas embrace all we need do is receive it. It’s as simple as receiving a Christmas gift. And it’s the best Christmas gift we’ll ever receive.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 17 December 2021
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
 
No matter how bad things are we have nothing to fear because Jesus who was born at Christmas is with us. Jesus is perfect love and perfect love casts out all fear. During these times of school violence, racism and COVID, it is good to know that Jesus who came to us on the first Christmas is with us today saying, “Do not fear, for I am with you.”  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 16 December 2021
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. – Isaiah 40:11
 
God the Son is born into the world to be our Good Shepherd, who gathers us, His lambs in his arms. Christmas is God assuring us that we are kept close to God’s heart. As you prepare for Christmas, please remember that Jesus loves you deeply and keeps you close to His heart. There is no better place to be at Christmastime than near to the heart of God.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 15 December 2021
36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! – Isaiah 37:36
 
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. – Luke 2:8-9
 
King Sennacherib of Assyria decided it was time to destroy the southern Jewish kingdom of Judah once and for all. Good King Hezekiah begs God to spare his nation. That night God sends an angel into the Assyrian military camp who kills 185,000 soldiers. Angels are fierce and powerful. This is why “Fear not,” is the greeting angels give to those they visit in peace. When we decorate our homes and trees with angels, God calls us to be mindful of their power.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 14 December 2021
But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. – Malachi 4:2
 

When Charles Wesley writes “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” he’s thinking of Malachi 4:2.

           

 Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wing.

Mild He lays His glory by, born that we no more may die,

Born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

 
Jesus is our Sun of Righteousness who brings us the healing we need most. Today, Jesus is bringing you new light and new life and new healing.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 13 December 2021
18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18
 
On the first Christmas, Jesus is delivered bn by His step-father Joseph, who cuts the umbilical cord connecting Jesus to Mary, cleans and wraps the newborn and offers Him to Mary. This infant is God in human form. This baby is the embodiment of God’s gracious compassion. When Jesus lives in us, God’s compassion flows through us to all.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 11 December 2021
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. – Isaiah 11:10
 
Christmas is so wonderful because Jesus the Root is the banner inviting all people of all races, places, cultures, orientations and times to enter His presence and enjoy His love. Jesus’ our banner is the Root of everlasting joy, peace, strength and life.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 10 December 2021
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. – Isaiah 11:6
 
Jesus’ birth changes everything. Under Christ’s transforming reign wolves and lambs become friends. What wolves are chasing you this Christmas? What leopards are running you down? What lions are hunting you? This Christmas, offer to Jesus all the forces seeking to destroy your hope, peace, and joy. The transforming power of Jesus causes these forces to stop, lie down and become sources of hope, peace, and joy in your life.  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 9 December 2021
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; – Isaiah 11:3b
 
Jesus does things differently. Outward appearances matter little to Jesus. He doesn’t care about what we wear, the size of our home, the make of our car, or the prestige of our positions. Jesus cares about our hearts and minds. Christmas assures us that Jesus loves us so deeply He becomes one of us to fill our hearts and minds with God’s love, God’s healing, God’s beauty and God’s life.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 8 December 2021
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. – Isaiah 11:1
 
Jesse is the dad of David, Israel’s second king. David the youngest and least likely of all Jesse’s children to become king. But outward appearance matters little to God. Stumps look dead. But the shoot that eventually comes from Jesse’s seemingly dead family tree is Jesus. The stumps littering our lives look like dead endings. During this Christmas season Jesus is touching our stumps and bringing us new healing, new hope, and new life.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 7 December 2021
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:7
 
Jesus is born to us at Christmas to free us from our fears. When we are free from fear, we are free for peace. Jesus’ great government of peace comes to us on at Christmas and stays with us forever. Jesus’ capital building is a stable. Jesus’ audience is shepherds. Jesus’ message is that all are welcome. What a wonderful government!
 
Affectionately,
Ric

 

Monday 6 December 2021

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
 
More than electronics and clothes, what we need for Christmas is counsel for making wise decisions, strength for working through life’s challenges and difficulties, care from an everlasting Parent who loves us unconditionally, and peace that never leaves us. These are the gifts Jesus brings us at Christmas. And these gifts never wear out.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 4 December 2021
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. – Isaiah 9:3
 
Jesus enters the world to enlarge God’s kingdom and Jesus comes to increase our joy. Joy is deep inner happiness that comes from knowing God loves us, God is with us, and God is making all things well. This inner happiness is not determined by external circumstances. This Christmas season, Jesus is touching our places of pain with His healing love and increasing our joy.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 3 December 2021
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. – Isaiah 9:2
 
Christmas celebrates the warming light of God’s guidance, forgiveness, healing, hope given to us in through Jesus. We have dark places (worry, anxiety, bitterness, etc.) within us that need Christ’s light. Offering these places to Jesus is an important part of our Christmas preparations. Today, Jesus’ light is dawning in your life and dispelling your darkness.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 2 December 2021
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14
 
God invites faithless King Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz refuses. Undaunted, God sends the sign so that future generations will have hope. The sign: a virgin named Mary, will give birth to God and name Him Immanuel. Immanuel means “God with us”. At Christmastime we are surrounded by signs assuring us that God is with us. What are those signs for you?
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 1 December 2021
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? – Isaiah 7:13
 
King Ahaz of Judah is staring at the possibility of invasion from Israel’s evil King Pekah, when God says to Ahaz, “Ask the Lord your God for a sign.” Ahaz refuses. It is at this point that the great prophet Isaiah says, “Will you try the patience of my God?” When was the last time someone tried our patience? When was the last time we tested God’s patience? Thankfully, God is infinitely patient with us. God’s patience is a wonderful Christmas gift that fills us with hope.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 30 November 2021
18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. – Isaiah 1:18
 
Christmas is God’s great way of being with us to bear the burden of our sin by cleansing our conscience, removing the guilt, and repairing our relationships with God, others, and ourselves. Our Advent journey to Christmas gives us opportunities to invite Jesus to be born anew in us. Through the season of Christmas, we experience the cleansing and restoring grace of Jesus restores and forgives every day and forever.  
 

Affectionately,

Ric

 
Monday 29 November 2021
17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. – Isaiah 1:17
 
Christmas is not a sentimental celebration. Christmas is God’s great rescue operation. When Jesus is born in us, we receive the desire, resolve and ability to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed, care for the parentless and advocate for the widow. Christmas is receiving God’s great care in Jesus, so that we can care greatly for others in Jesus’ name.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 27 November 2021
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe – Hebrews 12:28
 
Lands are shaken by floods, droughts, quakes, fires and storms. Nations are shaken by hatred, greed and war. Peoples are shaken by famine and poverty. But the Kingdom of God cannot be shaken. God’s unshakeable kingdom is found in every act of kindness, caring, justice and love. On those days when we are shaken, we can give thanks that no matter how bad things get, God’s unshakeable kingdom of kindness, caring, justice and love in Jesus’ name is bigger, stronger, and always victorious.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 26 November 2021
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2
 
Watchfulness grows thankfulness. But watchfulness is being attentive to all the blessings God gives us. The more we take note of our health, our family, our friends, our homes, our pets, creation, and all of the wonderful things we enjoy, the more thankful we are.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thanksgiving Day 2021
34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. – I Chronicles 16:34
 
After a long and difficult journey, the Ark of God’s Covenant with Israel, arrives in Jerusalem. King David places the Ark in a special tent and instructs Asaph (his Director of Praise and Worship) to lead the nation in giving thanks to God. 2021 has been a long and difficult journey. But God gives us family to love us, friends to encourage us, medicine to heal us, faith to restore us and a love in Jesus that holds us forever. Thanks be to God!  
 
With Thanksgiving Affection,
Ric
 
Wednesday 24 November 2021
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
 
God works through our prayers offered with thanksgiving to remove our anxiety.  Giving thanks to God for being with us through sad and stressful circumstances…Giving thanks to God for food, friends, family, a home, a Savior who loves us dispels anxiety. Prayers filled with thanksgiving may not change our situation, but they change our attitude.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 23 November 2021
The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. – Isaiah 51:3
 
Zion (the city of Jerusalem) was conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and then by the Romans. During both invasions the Lord’s temple was destroyed, and people endured terrible hardships. As we endure hardships of the pandemic, racism and divisive intolerance, Jesus is with us bringing strength and healing that leads to thanksgiving.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 22 November 2021
17 Mattaniah son of Mika, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the director who led in thanksgiving and prayer; Bakbukiah, second among his associates; and Abda son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun. – Nehemiah 11:17
 
While working to inspire Jewish Persians move to Israel, Governor Nehemiah creates the position “Director of Thanksgiving”. Mattaniah’s job was to enable God’s people to see, enjoy and be thankful for God’s blessings. Each of us has a “Director of Thanksgiving” in our lives who helps us to see God’s blessings even during life’s toughest times. Who is your Director of Thanksgiving? Praise Jesus for this person!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 20 November 2021
11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. – 1 John 5:11
 
When we place our trust in Jesus and decide to enjoy His healing love, we receive the gift of life that goes on forever. This everlasting life begins in this world. But eventually we move to a new address where we exchange our earthly bodies for ones that will never get sick, never break down, never wear out. With these new bodies we’ll enjoy the old relationships that bring our lives beauty, fulfilment, and substance.  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 19 November 2021
21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – 1 John 4:21
 
The best way to show that the love of God lives within us is by loving the people with whom we share life: families, faith families, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors. Sometimes these people are easy to love. Sometimes not. Sometimes we are easy to love. Sometimes not. Understanding is the key to loving. Understanding others requires openness, humility, and careful listening. Loving God requires us to understand each other so that love grows.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 17 November 2021
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18 
 
Fear seeps into our souls like cold creeps into our bones. Fear robs us of confidence, security, and peace. Fear keeps us awake at night. When fear chills our souls, Jesus calls us to pray, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.”  When this is our prayer, Jesus always casts out our fears and fills us with the light and warmth of His perfect love.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 16 November 2021
12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. – 1 John 4:12
 
When we love one another, God lives in us. When we love one another, we show each other what God looks like. Sometimes love looks like unconditional acceptance. Sometimes it looks like holding each other accountable. This year, love often looks like comforting support. Always God’s love which is made complete in us, looks like Jesus. 
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 15 November 2021
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:10
 
There is nothing we can do that will ever make God love us less. God loves us deeply, strongly, faithfully, eternally. Jesus’ presence in the world is God’s declaration of a love that is powerful enough to die for us so we can receive the gift of forgiveness and enjoy God’s love. That’s what atonement is all about: At-one-ment. When we are one with God we receive forgiveness and enjoy a love that is with us, and within us forever!  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 13 November 2021
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
 
We know Jesus is living in us when we love each other. This is not an emotional love that comes and goes. Rather it is a love committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure the wellbeing of others. With each new day, God comes loves us anew. With each new day God invites us to love one another – regardless of race, creed, culture, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. This is the love the world desperately needs to experience.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 12 November 2021
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. – I John 4:1
 
When it comes to decision making our feelings can be misleading. Some of my best decisions did not feel right. Some of my worst decisions felt great. Is the same true for you? Making faithful decisions means testing the spirits – or examining our feelings. The best way to test the spirits is by spending time in prayer, thoughtfully examining our options, seeking the guidance of people we trust.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 11 November 2021
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. – 2 Timothy 2:3-4
 
Veterans Day gives us opportunities to celebrate everyone who risked their lives by serving in the armed forces. Their work safeguards our democracy. Please take time today to celebrate veterans by lifting them in prayer, thanking them in person, and offering them kindness today and throughout the year.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 10 November 2021
23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. – 1 John 3:23
 
Believing in Jesus opens our hearts, minds, and lives to God’s presence. When Jesus lives in us, we love one another with a love that leads us to do whatever it takes for the wellbeing of others. Christlike love requires patience (also called long-suffering), forgiveness, honesty, and commitment. Christlike love builds relationships that that are strong, healthy and satisfying.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 9 November 2021
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:26-28
 
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” poet Robert Frost writes. We misuse culture, race, religious denomination, political affiliation, sexual orientation to build walls that separate us from one another. But something there is that doesn’t love a wall. That something is actually Someone – Jesus. Whatever our culture, race, religious denomination, political affiliation, sexual orientation, we are all one in Christ Jesus. Jesus uses our uniqueness to strengthen our unity.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 8 November 2021
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20
 
When we place our trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins crucifying everything that fills us with fear, shame, anxiety, hatred, envy, and insecurity. Crucifixion is a long, slow, and painful process. Our unhealthy ways struggle to survive and hold power over us. But over time, the old passes away, and we experience a life of confidence, dignity, peace, love, contentment, and security.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 6 November 2021
As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—they added nothing to my message. – Galatians 2:6
 
In our culture, looks are important. Too often we focus too much on how we look. Looking good on the inside – in our minds, souls and hearts – is far more important than looking good on the outside. When we place our trust in Jesus, God clothes our minds, souls, and hearts with forgiveness, love, joy, and peace. These inner good looks always make us very attractive on the outside.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 5 November 2021
11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. – Galatians 1:11
 
My Stony Brook University Biblical Studies professor Thomas J.J. Altizer said the Bible was authored by God because books of human origin record history that omits the flaws and failures. The Bible tells the story of flawed people, created in God’s image, who and do good and bad. The Bible tells of God’s gift of forgiveness and life in Jesus. Refreshingly honest, and wonderfully real is the God-inspired story called the Bible.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 4 November 2021
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings – Psalm 17:8
 
You are the apple of God’s eye. God treasures you. You hold a special place in God’s heart. We are not treasured by God only on our good days. We are the apple of God’s eye, every day. Because we occupy a very special place in God’s heart, everything is well with our souls, and all things are working together for good.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 3 November 2021
They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper. – Psalm 1:3
 
While running yesterday I enjoyed the beautiful autumn colors of maple and dogwood trees. Leaves of bright red, and deep burgundy clung to branches and lined the streets. Through the beauty of colorful leaves God calls us to appreciate the blessings of autumn and renew our commitment to being beautiful blessings to others in Jesus’ name.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 2 November 2021
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1
 

What do we hope for? An end to the pandemic? Racial equity? A vacation? A raise? A closer relationship with a child, family member or friend? A stronger relationship with Jesus? Our faith in Jesus makes hope possible. Faith in Jesus brings us hope because faith in Jesus assures us that no matter what is happening in life good or bad, better days are always ahead.

Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 1 November 2021 – All Saints Day
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1”
 
When I ran road races, my family and friends cheered me on. On All Saints Day we celebrate the people, who from the kingdom of heaven are cheering us on as we run the race of life. This is the communion of saints. When people we love leave this world, they do not leave our lives. As saints in God’s kingdom, they guide us, comfort us, and deepen our faith in Jesus. Praise Jesus for the saints!
 
Affectionately,
Ric  
 
Saturday 30 October 2021
For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. – Romans 3:28
 
On 31 October 1517, a Catholic monk named Martin Luther nails his “95 Theses” to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Through this large list he protests the church’s insistence that faith in Jesus is not enough for receiving God’s forgiveness and abundant life. Reformation Day reminds us that we do not have to earn salvation. We simply receive and enjoy God’s gift of forgiveness and everlasting life by placing our faith in Jesus
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 29 October 2021
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  – Ecclesiastes 4:9
 
Because God is three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), God experiences community and fellowship. Because we are created in God’s image we are designed to live in community and fellowship with God and each other. We are not meant to live in isolation. Good friends, loving family, and accepting communities are the ways God keeps us connected to Jesus and each other. We are always better together.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 28 October 2021
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. – Acts 8:30-31
 
Faithful teachers are gifts from God who grow our understanding. Be it science, math, literature, writing, history, music, technology or the Bible, teachers grow our knowledge and wisdom. The Christian life is one of never-ending learning and teaching and learning. Every day God offers opportunities for sharing what we’ve learned and for learning something new.  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 27 October 2021
15 “Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” – Mark 7:15
 
What we eat goes into our stomach and out our bodies. What we eat does not make us unclean. Rather, what we think, say and do can make us unclean. Thoughts, words and deeds spring from our minds, hearts, and souls. When we trust in Jesus, God’s forgiving, restoring, and healing grace fills us and makes us clean – again and again.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 26 October 2021
‘Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ – Exodus 19:5b-6a
 
People who pray for others are priests. Offering people, animals, world events, and creation to God’s saving care through our prayers is a most sacred responsibility. Praying for others is a declaration of love that leads us to do good for people, animals, the world, and creation. Prayer is powerful! So my fellow priests, let’s get praying!
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 25 October 2021
24 His daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah. – Chronicles 7:24
 
Ephraim’s daughter was a builder. She built two towns in Israel. Builders are people with vision, courage, tenacity, and faith. What has God called you to build? A marriage, friendship, a career, a family, a legacy? We are all builders. Is what we are building something that makes the love of God known? Some of our building projects are large, some are small. All of them are significant, and each requires faith in Jesus who is the Cornerstone upon whom we are invited to build everything. 
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 23 October 2021
Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. – Psalm 138:6-7
 
As the pandemic drags on, it feels like we are on the receiving end of way too much stress. The stresses of COVID-19 are a heavy burden to bear. Thankfully, Jesus preserves our lives by keeping our faith strong, making our joy tenacious, and giving us wisdom for navigating these difficult days. God’s saving love is bringing us through our troubles.  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 22 October 2021
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. – Psalm 62:5
 
Sleep restores our bodies. God’s love restores our hope. When we experience hope, we enjoy rest. Hope and rest are inseparable. Life is filled with uncertainty, difficulty, and stress. Jesus’ powerful love overcomes uncertainty, difficulty, and stress. On this Friday rest in the hope that Jesus is making all things well.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 21 October 2021
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
 
Courage is not a state of mind we manufacture. Courage is a state of spirit we receive from God. We receive God’s courage when we trust that Jesus is with us always. Not a moment of our life is lived outside of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. We can courageously stand for all that is just, good and beautiful because Jesus Christ our God is with us.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 20 October 2021
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” – Mark 11:25
 
Spending time in conversation with God opens us to God’s loving forgiveness. Experiencing God’s forgiveness gives us the desire and the ability to forgive others. Whom do you need to forgive? Experiencing the healing power of God’s forgiveness always leads us to offer forgiveness to ourselves and others. Forgiveness offered and received brings healing.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 19 October 2021
29 Jesus replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. – Mark 9:29
 
Jesus says these words to His followers who were trying to heal a boy harassed by an evil spirit. Prayer is powerful and effective. When we pray we hardwire ourselves into God’s presence, peace and power. As the song says, “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Today, please carry everything to God in prayer.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 18 October 2021
40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” – Mark 1:40-41
 
Suffering from painful and disfiguring leprosy, he was banished to a leper colony to live out his days in isolation. His last and only hope is Jesus. “Jesus, if you are willing, You can make me clean.” When struggles in life fills us with hopelessness, it is time to go to Jesus, who cleanses us of hopelessness by healing our souls, giving us strength and restoring our hope.  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 16 October 2021
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:8-9a
 
Three times the Apostle Paul asks God to remove the thorn that weakens him. Three times God answers, “My grace is sufficient for you.” We believe God is being gracious when we get what we want. But God’s grace also comes through an occasional “No,” which leads us to question God, argue with God, and grow stronger in our relationship with Jesus as we realize God gives us not what we want but what we need.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Friday 15 October 2021
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” – Genesis 4:9
 
When we decide to follow Jesus, God calls us to care for our siblings. Our siblings are all people in the human race. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It is better for everyone when it is better for everyone.” As Christians we are called to do whatever it takes to make life better for everyone. The best way I know to do this is by being a blessing to everyone we meet, every day that we’re alive in God’s world.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 14 October 2021
Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking. – Daniel 5:5-6
 
“Seeing the handwriting on the wall,” is a common expression that comes from Daniel 5:5. While Babylonian King Belshazzar’s guests are drinking from golden goblets taken from God’s temple a hand appears and writes on the wall that the king has been weighed on the scales of judgment and found lacking. This is God’s way of calling King Belshazzar to faith. What “handwriting on the wall” has God used in our lives to call us to a closer walk with Jesus?
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 13 October 2021
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. – Psalm 126:6
 
Eugene Petersen’s paraphrase of Psalm 126:6 found in his book The Message says, “So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.” During the heavy heart days of life, remember, armloads of blessings are coming. Our heavy hearts are never the end of the story. Blessings are coming that will brighten our days and lighten our hearts.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Tuesday 12 October 2021
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. – Psalm 126:5
 
Driving to church last Thursday I was overcome with feelings of missing my parents-in-law, and dear friend (and second Mom) Ann Bell. Tears streamed down my cheeks. When our spirits are overwhelmed with sadness or emptiness, we cry. Whenever we cry, Jesus is with us, holding us and using our tears to comfort, heal our spirits and strengthen our joy.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Monday 11 October 2021
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. – Psalm 126:4
 
During the dry season the streams in the Negev were empty gullies. We experience dry times in our lives when God feels distant; when our faith feels weak, when we are tired and blue. When we experience dry times in life, Jesus is with us, listening to us and caring for us – even (and especially) when we don’t feel His presence.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Saturday 9 October 2021
As for the saints in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight. – Psalm 16:3
 
Today my Grandmother celebrates her 102nd birthday. She doesn’t like birthday celebrations. “Your age is just a number,” she says. When it comes to faith, Gram has taught me the power of prayer; that some problems are God’s problems; that God calls us to have a thoughtful faith; never to check my mind at the church door; that God is large enough for all our doubts and questions. Gram has taught me to love opera, ballet, and God’s creation. Gram has taught me to try new foods at least once and to eat healthy food. Gram teaches me the value of thoughtfulness. Gram is the noble in whom is all my delight.
 
Affectionately,
Ric

 

Friday 8 October 2021

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:3
 
Air to breathe; water to drink; food to eat. The Lord has done great things for us! Friends who care for us; family members who love us; a church family that welcomes us; pets to love. The Lord has done great things for us! Forgiveness; new beginnings; satisfying life with Jesus that lasts forever. The Lord has done great things for us. Music, movies, plays and tv shows to enjoy. The Lord has done great things for us. And we are filled with joy.  
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Thursday 7 October 2021
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” – Psalm 126:2
 
Looking over our lives we discover times when God blesses us beyond our greatest expectations. Often God’s blessings come through the people who share life with us by walking us through difficult times, making our ordinary days special, and giving us hopeful perspectives. Remembering these blessings fills our spirits with joy.
 
Affectionately,
Ric
 
Wednesday 6 October 2021
16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. – Colossians 1:16
 
Jesus created all that exists. Jesus loves creation so completely that there is nothing we can do that will make Jesus love us less! Jesus who created us never stops loving us. Whenever we feel small, insignificant, taken for granted, or overlooked, or like we’ve failed, we can go to Jesus who cares for us, forgives us, and restores us, because He loves us.
 
Affectionately,
Ric