2021 Daily Devotion - Day 309

The story is told of a 10-year-old boy who decided to study Judo, despite the fact he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese Judo master. The boy was doing well, but he couldn't understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,” (teacher) the boy finally said, “Shouldn't I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know,” the Sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals. This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more

2021 Daily Devotion - Day 308

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” - Saint Augustine During periods like the one we are experiencing with the pandemic, we often learn good things can come from what is now so difficult. We don’t always think about this fact, because we get so caught up in our day-to-day struggles and setbacks. However, maybe we can step back and realize one of the benefits to waiting and being patient is it causing us to grow in wisdom. One of the great things missing in our time is wisdom. We will all be better off for learning and developing greater wisdom in our lives. In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to young Timothy, he cautions him not to be taken in by the sins and brokenness of this world. He teaches Timothy the “love of money is the root of all evil” (notice he says the “love” of money and not money in and of itself). Then he goes on with more advice: 1 Timothy 6:11 ESV But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentlene

2021 Daily Devotion - Day 307

Many years ago, a Christian doctor carried out an interesting survey involving his patients. As they waited in the waiting-room, they were asked to fill out a little survey on themselves. One of the questions asked was, “What is your number one wish?” On analyzing the answers, the doctor found the number one wish of 67% of his patients was to have peace of mind. Here is how the Apostle Paul writing to the church in Rome would respond: Romans 5:1-2 ESV Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Many times, we lack peace of mind because of our past. There are things we wish we had not done, and we also think about the times we failed to do anything when we should have. We walk around with this sense of guilt and shame for the things we are not proud of. But here, we find we have been “justified” or ma

2021 Daily Devotion - Day 306

Throughout my life, I have witnessed many expressions of faith and religion. I have worshiped on occasion in a variety of churches. From Presbyterian to Assemblies of God, I have seen their services. When I was in middle school, I attended the bar mitzvah of some of my friends at their Jewish synagogue. I have seen people healed of brain tumors and other challenging illnesses. I have seen people “slain in the spirit” which is when they pass out and fall backwards to the floor. I have heard people speak in tongues and watched others prophesy. I was brought up a Lutheran and, am now an ordained Lutheran pastor of many years. Torild and I have traveled to many places in the world, learning more about issues of faith. The reason I bring all this up is because over the last several years, I have been thinking about the deepest spiritual experiences someone can have. Is it speaking in tongues? Is it meditative prayer? After faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, I believe the deepest experience is

2021 Daily Devotion - Day 305

Mary Lou Retton is a retired American gymnast. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, she won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition, as well as two silver medals and two bronze medals. Her performance made her one of the most popular athletes in the United States. But I think one of the things I remember the most about her was her incredible smile and outgoing personality. Here is her philosophy in her own words: “Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.” – Mary Lou Retton She is absolutely correct. If you want to improve the relationships in your life, become more positive in your outlook. Instead finding fault with everything around you, look for what is good and uplifting. Focus your attention on the things that are going well. People want to be around someone who is more upbeat. It doesn’t mean we should never be sad or feel down. However, we need to work at trying to look for what is inspiring. T