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An introduction to this devotion: Thank you for picking up this devotional tool and taking it home with you

! Keep it on the kitchen counter or by your bedside. It is our hope that you will pick it up daily to read one of the pages and testaments of family and friends. I pray their brave words inspire you and encourage you in your own faith this Lenten season! A huge thank you goes out to all who courageously wrote and shared their faith in this way. What a gift that so many of you willingly crafted your message and prayer to help others grow in faith! You’ll find a few days scattered throughout in which the devotional scripture comes from the daily lectionary. Prayers associated with these readings are attributed to Bread for the Day, an Augsburg Fortress resource. I hope you find reflections on these passages to be fruitful in your devotion. This season of Lent, let us grow in faith together. Pastor Lindsay

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, „Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?‟ And I said, “Here am I; send me!‟ Isaiah 6:8 This verse causes me to think of the last phase of our mission statement, ―Going forth to serve‖. I believe that God was asking for someone that he could send on a mission. Many of us may think of a mission as going ―some place‖ to serve. But we can serve right here, in many ways. Even if our mission seems small and insignificant we all have a mission to complete. Music has always been a mission to me. Whether it is teaching the very young, ―Jesus Loves Me‖, singing for a wedding or for a funeral, it is one way that I answer ―Here am I.‖ The words of the hymn Here I Am, Lord, number 574 in the Eva ngelical Lutheran Worship comes to my mind when the Lord calls out to us, we need to answer, ―Here I am, Lord. Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart‖. Oh good and gracious God, help us all to be ready to answer your call. Let us be willing to go, for I know that you will not ask of me more than I am able to give and that you will go with me wherever you send me. Thank you Lord, for all those who have answered your call and open our ears and hearts to receive your call to serve. In Jesus’ name. Amen Laura Tjomsland

Lenten & Easter Worship at Red Oak Grove Ash Wednesday, Worship with Holy Communion: March 5, 1:30 and 7pm Wednesday Night services: March 12, 19, 26, April 2, and 9 Supper at 5:30 / Worship at 6:45 Maundy Thursday, Worship with Holy Communion: April 17, 7pm Good Friday Ecumenical Service in Blooming Prairie: 12pm Easter Morning, Worship with Holy Communion: April 20, 7 & 9am

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 Many years ago I was asked to be Education Secretary of the Rochester Conference. I felt I wasn’t qualified but the other officers assured me I could do it with God’s help and theirs. I told them I would pray about it and would get back to them. In devotions during that time I read Philippians 4:13; I can do al things through him who strengthens me. I knew God was talking to me. I said yes! Then came fall and I was to give an overview of the Bible Study at the fall workshop. Oh my!! I didn’t know that was part of the job description. I began to prepare and I called upon God’s strength to help me time and time again. The day arrived and it was a beautiful fall day. I was very nervous and then I began to talk to God. Again, I asked for His strength – I couldn’t do it by myself – He answered me and by my faith in him I became an instrument of His to those I spoke to. God does supply everything we need to see us through every day if our lives if only we ask Him. He does hear our prayers. Heavenly Father, we thank you for loving us just as we are and for listening to us as we need your strength and guidance every day of our lives to live with a purpose to serve you and to be a witness of your love in our lives. We ask this in your name. Amen Karen Johnson Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 Like a lot of women who have tons on their plate, I am often overwhelmed and anxious. I have a husband, children and a stressful job and sometimes I am worried about all three, often to the point of having my heart hammering in my chest. When I am feeling my most anxious I try to remember the verse above. I try to calm down and pray that God will take my worries and give me peace. To me this verse is about trust. We must have the trust to put our faith in our loving Father. To that end, I have purchased two wall hangings. One simply says, ―Worry ends where faith begins.‖ I often think how ridiculous I am to worry about matters that God clearly has in control. The other wall hanging is a painting that says, ―Jesus knows me, this I love.‖ This to me is the most simplistic and relevant way to convey that Jesus knows my heart, my needs and my desires, even before I do. I often fail in my faith. I still worry, still become anxious. But, remembering the promise in the verse above is so helpful. As I pray for calm, I know God is listening and that is a beautiful gift. Dear Lord, thank you for your presence in my life. Help me to trust and lay my worries at your feet. Please restore peace & calm to my heart. In your name, Amen Mary Weikum

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14 Do you ever wonder why God doesn’t answer your prayers sooner? A friend of mine was dealing with this dilemma when he realized the obvious answer. He shared a very important revelation. He said, ―I realized we live in such a fast-paced world now that we don’t have time for what really matters‖. ―Like what?‖ I inquired. He simply answered, ―time to look, listen and smell the beautiful surroundings God has awaiting us‖. He continued, ―with our electronic age we barely talk or listen to one another anymore‖. After pondering his thoughts for a bit, the following beliefs came to mind. Many of us pray to God and think our Christian duty is done. Is praying only a series of requests? I then realized praying also involves listening to what God is telling us. If we do this, we’ll then hear the answers God has to our prayers. We need to be quiet and take the needed time to be still. Dear God, thank you for telling me all I need to know. Help me be still long enough to hear you answer my prayers. Amen Randy Krulesh

So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24 Have you ever had a day when it was hard to get yourself going in the right direction? Really, think about it. Some days are just plain hard to get started. You think about the things that will be a challenge for the upcoming ay and then you think ―maybe I’ll just stay in bed‖. We don’t always choose how our days will go. Maybe there is a different plan put into place for us. It is already planned out for us by our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is best to start that unforeseen day with a prayer for guidance, patience, persistence and courage to make it the best it can be. If we trust in the Lord to guide our day, things will look more positive to us. ―Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil.‖ ―I am going to keep my pencil very sharp.‖ Heavenly Father, guide my actions through the coming day so that I will work for your good in all that I do. Amen Linda Christianson

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 As I look out our front window looking at all the snow, thinking I can’t wait for green grass and blooming flowers, it makes me wonder how all this magnificent beauty came about. How did God come up with this plan for this earth and all its people. It truly is GRAND. If earth is this grand we can only imagine what heaven has to offer us. Dear God, thank you for creating the heavens and the earth and all its glory. Thank you for all our families and friends. In your holy name we pray. Amen Cindy Hingeveld

God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. 1 Corinthians 10:13 For the past couple months, things have sort of been a little rough. Kind of a roller coaster. What I kept telling myself was that God has a path for me and that God gave me this life because I was strong enough to live it. I know that in the future their will be worse things that I go through and I did what I could to get through it. I’ve realized that the only one other than you that can completely understand the things that you go through is God. No one else. Everyone sees things in completely different ways. Feel completely different about situations that are exactly the same. It is always going to be 2 million times different in someone else’s eyes. God understands and he wouldn’t ever put you or anyone else in a situation they couldn’t get through and stay strong in. Dear God, thank you for understanding and not putting us through more than what we can handle. Amen Elly Magnuson

God is gracious-it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God. God takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me. Psalm 116:5-6 Lately I’ve been going through some tough things with my family. It makes it hard to want to go home, hard to be happy. I have to be strong when I don’t want to. I felt like I would never be able to find my true strength again. All of a sudden my friends began texting me every night, asking me how I’m doing, offering advice and showering me with inspiration. My family, that I never talk to, started checking up on me, making sure I was happy. I believe that God saw my strength was withering and I seemed like a helpless human being. Seeing this he provided me with the strength that I needed, my family, my friends and their abundant love. Dear God, thank you for blessing me with such caring, loving, amazing people. It has helped me find my strength to carry on with my life. Alison Pryor

Counting on God is rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. Habakkuk 3:19 This reminds me about a time that I was at a gymnastics meet and I was really scared to do a skill because it was a really hard skill that could take your life any second. I was just about to go for the skill and I felt this confidence boost on me all of a sudden. I went for the skill and stuck it on the beam. This goes with the Bible verse because I felt God was with me in the heart and I gained strength. I was prevailing against the beam. Dear God, thank you God for the strength and heart you have given me and the courage that you gave me to conquer my fear. Amen Marnie Reese

God will fight the battle for you. Exodus 14:14 A couple of weeks ago I was chosen to be in my school Spelling Bee. I didn’t think I would do well. The days went by and it was time for the Bee. I got my first word right, then my second. After almost two hours it was me and my friend left. After nine more rounds, I got the word bulwark wrong and my friend got his word right. I got second place and advanced to regional’s in Rochester. Later that night while I was trying to go to bed, I thought of how the Lord was there to help me when I doubted myself. Thank you, God, for fighting for me when I doubted myself. Amen William Cardenas

God will fight the battle for you. Exodus 14:14 In life you will lose friends and people could hurt you. Me and my friend were having a rough spot in our friendship. It was seventh grade. We were always together until seventh grade. We stopped talking completely. We both went with it, we didn’t kno w what else to do. We finally got back together one day in the summer and it basically turned our friendship around. We then hung out every day of the summer, back to the old times. This just shows that ―God will fight the battle for you‖. We went on with our lives trying not to fight and make it worse and then God fought our battle for us and we won. We are now closer than ever. Dear God, please help me realize that in life, sometimes we just need to let you fight our battles and help us through them. Amen Ayren Ingvalson

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, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1- 2 It means to me we shall never give up in life. We shall run until the end. We will have friendly races sometime. Some people said give up sometimes and I will not give up because of this prayer. Dear Lord Jesus pray for us and keep us running and moving as long as you can. Amen Cory Wagaman

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name‟s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23 I don’t remember how old we were, but my parents would sit in our bedroom at night and taught us the Lord’s Prayer and then they taught us the 23 rd Psalm. The Psalm has been a favorite of mine, not only because our parents taught it to us, but it just gives me a sense of peace and calm. I see it as a picture of heaven; the still waters, path of righteousness. As well as comfort knowing that his goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. The psalm fills my heart with an overwhelming sense of peace. Lord, thank you for your peace. Amen Anonymous

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4 In the Old Testament God told Moses to build a tabernacle and gave instructions of how to build it. Later, He gave instructions to Solomon on how to build the temple. In both places God manifested his glory in the Holy of holies, God promised that he would be with them. In the New Testament churches of all shapes and sizes have been built – whether they be large cathedrals in the cities of Europe, small mud-walled grass roofed chapels in Africa, or country churches in southern Minnesota. Jesus has promised ―Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age‖. In North Dakota we actually did live in the ―House of the Lord‖ at Tokio Lutheran Mission on the Devils Lake Sioux Indian Reservation. Our apartment was upstairs and the church was downstairs. Whether we are in our homes or at church we can behold the beauty of the Lord. Thank God for our Bibles that we can read at any time and any place. In it we can see that God loves us and takes care of us and is preparing a place for us in heaven. Thank you, Jesus, that you have promised to be with us, wherever we are. Amen Evelyn Johnson

“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 When I was at Bible Camp one of my roommates taught us a song of this Bible verse. It made quite an impression on me as a teenager and still to this day I use it as my theme to daily trials. For me it means that as long as I wait for the Lord, and wait for my Savior, Jesus Christ to come I can make it through each day. I will be strong and not falter and I will not faint and I can do what my Lord asks of me. Because as I wait for the Lord, I know he is with me and is going to come and take me with him to heaven. Teach me Lord to wait. Amen
Dawn Peterson

Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives a prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others, I myself should not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Before I discovered running I never really fit in any where, when I didn’t run I wou ld always be frustrated and punish myself negatively. After many years of running, people have always asked me ―Why do you run so much?‖ or ―What’s your secret?‖. I would tell them, ―If you have to ask you’ll never know‖. The truth was I never understood either until one day, after being completely frustrated, I went to cross country practice for my workout. Being frustrated I ran hard and punished my body for one full 5 mile run. It was the best workout I have ever done and it made me feel better. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always came back to where it all started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and sense of achievement. God, grant me the strength to travel this distance, the courage to push through pain and the wisdom to know when to pick up the pace. Amen Alec Ille

Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with me. Revelation 3:20 It is a comfort to know that God is there every Day to assist you with your trials and tribulations. Nobody knows what the future will bring other then what God has taught us through scripture. ―I will strengthen you and help you‖ that is his promise he gave to us if we believe. God will not put on our shoulders what we cannot bear. Dear God, thank you for sending your son to the cross, so we can have eternal life. Bless our family and friends. Watch over us and guide us to the glory of your name. Amen Anonymous

I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven—I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 1:13-14 Solomon was a very wise, wealthy and powerful man. Although he had built very beautiful palaces and owned many servants and had many, many wives, he was not happy. He was continually searching for meaning to life. Isn’t that the way the world is today? People are striving to have more and more of material things. The Rochester DMC and the Viking Stadium are perfect examples. Nothing is enough. It has to be the biggest and best. People are like that. We want more and better than our neighbors. Solomon had learned that this is just ―vanity and striving after wind‖. There is only one thing that can fulfill our desires. That is a life lived in service to Jesus Christ. Without Him nothing under the sun can make us happy. Dear Lord Jesus: we thank and praise you for the scriptures that show us your way to peace and happiness. Help us to remember that without you our life is meaningless and empty. Amen
Vi Christianson

Don‟t panic I‟m with you. There‟s no need to fear for I‟m your God. I‟ll give you strength. I‟ll help you. I‟ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10 We all have fear, we all have struggles, we all have panic and worry. We may think at hard times that God is not with us that he is not by our side. God will always be by your side. He will give you strength. God will keep a tight grip on you to keep you up and right, he will help you all the way. Sometimes when things are good something may go wrong. But, stay strong, have hope God will guide the way. Now I pray this little prayer that God will guide everyone and put them on the right path, that they shall not have fear and they shall not have panic or worry. Amen
Alexyss Magnuson

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid. Palm 27:1 Fourteen years ago when they told my brother he had 18 months to live I was scared, mad but most of all afraid. What was going to happen to our family? My parents would loose a son. I would loose a brother. But mostly my small children would loose an uncle. I would take my brother to his apartment in Rochester. Every other morning when I would get my 2 other children off to school, Adam and I would pack my brother up and off we would go. Every morning I would pray: Lord, please make today a good day for all of us! Some days were better than others. When our last doctor’s appointment came and they said the radiation was not helping, my brother said this is enough, they could of done a different treatment. Again I was mad, scared but mostly afraid. Then I saw my brother being strong for all of us! A man who was not a ―church going man‖ was my strength. It was then I prayed again: Lord please be ―my‖ strength and get my family through this. I then decided death isn’t so bad! I’m not afraid I know God has my brother in his hands and he is taken care of. Dear God, In times when our life seems low or we are afraid, please be our light and salvation and make us not afraid of what life has in sore for us. Amen
Tammy Harber

Reading my Living Bible daily I find some passages underlined in red. They were special to me. It’s easy to see why God turns some passages out the way He wants them too!! I thank Him for these passages in Isaiah 28:22-29. The bottom verse is The Lord of Hosts is a wonderful teacher and gives the farmer wisdom. Also Proverbs 20:7, read it! Also Proverbs 17:17. In Proverbs 16:1 We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God’s hands. Most precious to me is Proverbs 22:1 If you must choose, take a good name rather than great riches for to be held in loving esteem is better than silver and gold. Have these passages in red under it with this note from me – so precious to me, MOM. Each morning as I look across the lawn at the trees across the road I see the one Red Oak Tree that keeps its leaves all winter. To repeat this poem is a good way to say thank to God.
Dorothy Kruger

Trees by Joyce Kilmer I think that I shall never see, A poem as lovely as a tree; A tree whose hungry mouth is prest, Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts its leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear, A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain, Who intimately lives in rain; Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Several years ago I had to undergo surgery. Because I had never had surgery of any kind before, I was apprehensive about this. I prayed that God would be with me and care for me through this. On the morning of my surgery, with my husband beside me, I arrived at the hospital and proceeded to do all of the preparations necessary for the procedure. When these were completed, I was taken to a waiting area, where I sat by myself. It was then that I felt the Lord’s presence. He was there beside me with his arm around my shoulders. I felt a peace come over me and knew He would be there with me through the surgical procedure. God knows all of our needs and will make his presence known to us. He does not leave us alone in the times of trial. Lord, no matter what I am facing in life, I know I can count on you to be there for me. Thank you for loving me and caring for me. Amen
Marilyn Ulland

I don’t have a favorite verse for I find that there are different verses that fit whatever it is life has thrown my way. So I chose this one out of Pastor Lindsay’s envelope. I think this verse fits my life no matter what has come my way. I’m fond of saying ―Does God really want to put that on my plate. Are you sure he didn’t mean to place it on my neighbor’s plate‖. Some mornings I get up and start the race of my day. When those days happen those are the ones I really wonder what I am going to do with everything that is happening in my life at that moment. It is times like this that I have to remind myself that is God’s hand holding up my plate not me. Anything is doable with God’s right hand holding me and my plate up. With the Lord I can get through whatever it is that is placed on my plate. Dear God, thank you for all that you have placed on my plate even though I was not thrilled with it at the moment. With the strength you have given me it has allowed me to grow and be strong in my faith. Amen
Julie Hoffman

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11 I was 21 when I graduated from college. I had the world ahead of me. But how was I supposed to know what to do next after my final research paper was handed in and graded, my internship for the past 3 months was over and I would no longer be expected to attend classes, write papers or take tests? Sometime last February all of this came crashing down on me in just one day. And it continued; what do I do when I graduate? Where do I go? Who do I talk to to get it all figured out? I went through a time where I was the complete opposite of who I really was. I cried many days on my drive to my internship, sometimes talking to my mom telling her I just wanted to come home and I didn’t know what to do. I lost weight, wanted to sleep all of the time and ended up having to pay a visit to my doctor. During this time, many would say I was depressed and anxious. And that could be true, but when I look back at that time in my life, I realize I was simply lost. I knew in my heart that the Lord had a plan for me and I had to trust in him that he was putting me through that struggle just to show me how strong I was and how much stronger I would become from it all. I now have a full time job working with adults with developmental and physical disabilities who give me joy and love each and every day. From this experience, I have learned and believe exactly what the scripture above reads and I couldn’t be more thankful today for all that I went through to get where I am now. Dear God: I thank you each and every day for this life you have given me and the struggles and the accomplishments you have put in my path, because in the end, it only makes me love and trust you that much more. Amen Emily Harber

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, no angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-38 I need this reminder every day. I need to hear these words from Romans spoken to me, directed at me, all the time. I preach this message often because it is on my heart … probably because I need to hear it just as much as anyone el se. I have a measuring stick to which I hold myself. Every day, I overanalyze conversations. Should I have said that differently? I hope I didn’t offend them when I said it that way. I wonder about relationships. Are they mad at me? What did they mean when they said that? I critique my own actions and wonder what I could have done differently. In so many aspects of my life, I feel like I need to earn my way. I need to do better, act better, be better. I have a piece of paper that hangs behind my desk. It reads: I will hold myself to a standard of GRACE not perfection. That’s what I hear in these verses from Romans. This love from God is all about GRACE. It’s not earned or deserved. This love of God in Christ is not only given when we improve, when we act without sin, or when we earn a certain level of approval. It doesn’t require perfection or a history without blemish. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God. Nothing. God: May we hear the promises of your deep love for us each day. May we understand that there is nothing that we can do, nor anything in all of creation that can separate us from that love. Amen Pastor Lindsay Stolen

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But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:22-33

Isn’t that just like us. We take our eyes off the prize for one second and the waves begin to take us under. We forget what we’re supposed to be f ocusing on; instead our perspectives shift to worrying about the troubles, obstacles, and struggles we face in our everyday lives and we begin to sink. I had this revelation on the back of a moto, on top of a mountain, in the middle of a rural village in Africa. A twenty minute twisty, windy, bumpy, rocky, nerve-wracking dirt road moto ride away from any pavement, any clear and open road ahead, the drivers seem to get a thrill over how fast they can speed around the loose sand corners with barely enough time to slam on their breaks before avoiding the rivets and potholes surrounding us. And I think, ―I got this.‖ I can survive being a missionary; I can survive anything I’m tossed into. But naturally, as the storm raged on and the waves began to form, I found out nothing prepared me for this. I’d never felt so lost, distant, overwhelmed and just disgruntled in all my life. Fear started to take over and everything began to add up, realizing just how unequipped I really am. Like the potholes in the road, each hardship throws one more obstacle I have to try and avoid. Insecurities. Questions. Doubt. Elements, fear, workload, and pressure. Tossing me around as if sitting on a moto, I was shaken up as the emotions came, heavy and eager to take me out of the game and off the path I was traveling. Those rocks, twists, turns, and bumps were all I was seeing. As I focused only on the obstacle, I lost sight of Jesus—the one, literally walking on water and holding out his hand to save me, and I let the waves begin to take me under.
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As I jolted around, gripping for my life, I caught a glimpse through my crooked helmet out over the land and saw the gigantic volcanoes peaking above the clouds in the distance. The hundred different shades of greens painting the hillsides. Every flower in bright bloom over the horizon. Endless miles telling the story of His beautiful creation. On the back of the moto that evening, the revelation came when I realized I never even felt the bumpy ride, the rocks in our path, or the potholes we were avoiding while I was gazing at the breathtaking view ahead. As I directed my attention in front of me, I forgot about anything else around me. And in that moment, the waves surrendered. The elements, self doubt, questions — they all faded in the background. As I saw Jesus on that mountainside, as my focus shifted toward his outstretched hand, my perspective changed in an instant and I was reminded about the Purpose. No, I don’t ―Got this.‖ HE does. Jesus, our Savior. Help us to change our focus. Help us shift our perspective. Help us to remember that even in the midst of life’s most vicious storms that you are there, waiting for us to trust you enough to grab on and get us into the boat. You are always there, reminding us to look up and look ahead. Help us trust that we will not be taken under by the obstacles we face every day. Help us to cling to your saving hand, to keep our eyes on you. Amen Amanda Herdina

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God‟s Grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 It’s not so unusual for many of us to have heard this—―God works in mysterious ways.‖ How true this is! I had an experience recently where my many Guardian Angels, who were, of course, working together with God, saw me through what could have been a very devastating ordeal for me. In December, 2013, I was so fortunate to be surrounded by many Guardian Angels, whose names I didn’t know. My friend and I were on our way to the SPAM Museum for a Hormel Foods retirement holiday party. However, it wasn’t meant to be, as I took quite a tumble landing on the cold, hard cement on the sidewalk with so many thoughts going through my mind. But, I was instantly surrounded by a group of sympathetic people who wanted to help me. One gentleman was keeping my head and neck secure until the ambulance came and its crew could put a brace on my neck. Then a blanket and pillow appeared; then people were actually removing their warm coats to put over me. It was a very cold and windy day. I worried about them too having no coats on, but they kept telling me ―you come first.‖ I know this all kept me from getting pneumonia, as the group was keeping the wind away from me. My friend and I were in the ER for over 4 hours and when the doctor came in, she said that both she and the radiologist were totally surprised that I had no broken bones. How could an almost 87 year old take such a hard fall and not have any broken bones or fractures? And, I know the answer to that—it was all with the help of the Guardian Angels with the aid of God that saved me from that ordeal.

This story doesn’t necessarily end here as the next day after I had written a ―thank you to Guardian Angels’ letter, I was taking it to the Austin Daily Herald to be sure that all my helpers knew how grateful I was for their faith in administering God’s grace. And, just then, another Guardian Angel was ready to help me again! It was another extremely windy day and snow and ice were by the curb so I drove into their clear parking lot. As I was walking to get to the Herald’s door, a lady drove right up in the front by the curb and just as I was to turn the corner by the building, a huge gust of wind was giving me a balance problem and this lady saw it. She jumped from her car; held me up; kept me by the arm; carried my purse and guided me inside. She waited for me until my business was completed; she had taken my car keys and drove my car up to the curb; escorted me to my car; tucked me in! What a blessing – another Guardian Angel right when I needed one. I thanked her over and over, telling her she was a blessing. So – then I assured her I was going home and not doing any more errands and never when it was windy! We agreed it was a good idea. I guess none of us really know when we will receive this much needed care and it can inspire all of us to do all we can to assist others in whatever way we are able. We are blessed by the Grace of God. Dear God, thank you for the guardian angels who work among us and so deeply bless our lives. May we use the gifts given to us to be angels to others. Amen Madelon Collette

Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church Lenten Devotional Book

2014