E-Devotions

Several times a month, Zion sends a devotion to Zion members via email. Here are recent devotions.

Devotion for August 14, 2019

“And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” (Luke 12:29-31)

Here is the word for you to share as much as you can over the next 15 months: “Seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

Until the elections of November 2020, our whole nation will debate the question of resources: who gets what and how? Will we get our fair share? Will others get their fair share? Will someone take what is rightfully ours? Will the rich share? Will the poor be okay? What policy or approach will deliver the goods? Our nation will more than debate it: it will fight over it as people (who may or may not really care about the answer) seek to use that anxiety to win your votes.

You be different, children of God. “All the nations of the world seek after these things,you’re your Father knows that you need them.” Rest in that promise. Let that good word, spoken by the Son whom the Father raised from the dead, and invite your family and neighbors to live by it. Every time the debates come up, simply speak the promise of Christ, directly and calmly, eye-to-eye: “Seek first His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” Call your neighbors away from the heated fights to the cool balm of trusting Christ alone.

Seek Him and His gifts—pray for them, go to them, eat and drink them. Then wait and watch. Let Him make good on the promise that everything else comes with them. He is faithful, and He will do it.

LET US PRAY: O Lord, deliver me, and my nation, from the heat of greed and passion, fear and wrangling. Teach us all to seek You and Your righteousness first, and trust that what good remains will come from Your hand; for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Devotion for August 7, 2019

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’” (Luke 12:20)

So says God to a rich man in a story that our Lord Jesus tells. Why does He say it? What made the rich man a fool?

Surveying his great wealth, the rich man had said, “I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry’” (verse 19). The rich man thought he had command of his own soul and his own future, and therein lay his foolishness. While owning many things, he had forgotten that he did not own himself.

How silly to cling to things, when we cannot hold onto ourselves!

Instead, we keep in step with the Spirit at work in us. It is the Spirit of Jesus, who gave Himself away. He didn’t take a breath but what He took it for you; even now He doesn’t utter a prayer to the Father that isn’t a prayer for you. Our Lord Jesus went to the cross because He wasn’t His own—He belonged to the Father, who gave Him to the world—and He doesn’t belong to Himself now, either. He belongs to the Father who raised Him, the great Giver, and therefore, He is yours.

Keep in step with Him, and you’ll be the richest, even though you’re poor.

LET US PRAY: Be life for me, Jesus. Be it all. Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Devotion for July 31, 2019

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)

For many, prayer is hard work. Time must be carved out of the busy day. A distracted mind and heart must be focused and tuned in. Excuses to stay busy and criticisms we often hear that prayer doesn’t matter must be silenced. Come to think of it, perhaps prayer is indeed hard work! The Devil hates it when the Lord’s people are in conversation and communion with their God, why wouldn’t he want to stop such communication between Savior and the elect?

Jesus here encourages perseverance in prayer. “Ask…seek…knock…” He encourages perseverance because the Father’s timing is not our own. We are to ask, seek, and knock not because God is negligent but because we can easily give up, or stop before even trying. We are to persevere, not because God’s answering our prayers depends on our own faithfulness, as if we say the right words or push God’s buttons the right way we’ll get what we want. No, we are to persevere because prayer is so good and essential for us. It is like oxygen for our faith. It is good for us and it witnesses to the trust we have in the Lord.

So keep asking, seeking, and knocking. Keep pestering the Lord with your prayers. Keep bending His ear your way. The Psalms are replete with examples of such faithful fervor in prayer. The Lord will give you an answer eventually. The answer may be yes, or no, or not yet. But everyone who asks will receive, and the one who seeks will find, and the one who knocks it will be open. The question is, are you prepared for the answer in prayer the Lord wishes to give to you? Prayer, in other words, doesn’t change God, but through it God is changing you.

LET US PRAY: How often I have desired to have you answer me Lord! How many questions have I brought before Your throne? How many times have I sought Your will and rapped away on heaven’s door only to not have it opened? Yet nevertheless, I will trust in You. You know what is best for me, for my family, for my church far better than I do. Though I cannot always understand Your ways, help me pray for those things would You would have me pray for and help me to stay true to You in prosperity and in adversity knowing all things work for the good who love You and are called according to Your purposes (Rom. 8:28). All this I ask in the name of Jesus, He who intercedes for me now and always. Amen.

Rev. Christopher Johnson

Devotion for July 24, 2019

The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

At Thanksgiving every year, and whenever we were at her house, my Grandma Johnson would invariably remind me to eat what’s on my plate. If I’m going to heap on a good portion of turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, then I’d better eat it. Once these portions were taken care of I could finally enjoy a good portion of pumpkin pie. She was a wise woman. Eating dessert first is wrong and unbiblical! One must enjoy portions in correct order.

This famous recounting from Luke reminds us of what is the “good portion” – sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to and learning from Him. One can serve and serve and run around the kitchen until they’re blue in the face, and thanks be to God for those who do! That “portion” of serving in the name of Jesus is important, but the “portion” of listening to His words, eating up His promises, His divine wisdom, the new life He offers and gives is the “good portion.”

The big issue many have in the church, including us pastors from time to time, is wondering where are all the “doers”? Who will do this, that, and the other thing? Getting things done, of course, is important. But a bigger issue, one us pastors know all too well, is getting people to slow down, stop doing, and start listening to the Savior’s voice. This is the great joy of the Divine Service over the weekend. You come and do nothing but receive. Worship is indeed that “good portion,” the meat and potatoes, which empowers us to then serve, and enjoy the pie of loving others as we love our God who speaks and gives Himself away in Word and Sacrament.

LET US PRAY: What a feast You put before me every weekend, Lord! Help me to choose that good portion: Your words, Your sacraments, Your saving presence. Help me also to give thanks for all those “Marthas” who love to serve, but turn me to follow Mary’s example to have the good portion before me and then send me to serve and love as Christ, my Lord, loves and serves me in the Liturgy. Before I am a “doer” help me to be a listener, a learner, a receiver, a believer of all You say and promise. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Rev. Christopher Johnson

Devotion for July 17, 2019

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

I remember in seminary a fellow pastor-in-training asking: “Is that all there is? The forgiveness of sins?” He didn’t ask this with guile or sarcasm but with an honest heart. His question was pastoral: Is this all we have to offer as preachers? And his question was ecclesiological: Is this all the Church has to offer the world? The forgiveness of sins – is that all there is?

Perhaps we may ask ourselves this same question from time to time too. Baptism brings forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of worship we regularly confess our sins, returning to the baptismal promise, and receive the proclaimed forgiveness. During the Sacrament of the Altar we receive the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. During sermons we often hear the promise of being forgiven by the work and person of Jesus Christ, promises planted into our ears and hearts by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we hear so much about forgiveness we start to tune out the promise when it is being gratuitously doled out.

Saint Paul, for very important reasons, connects the redemption we have in Christ to the forgiveness of sins. We must remember nothing unholy can be in the presence of a holy God. Without being forgiven we will not be redeemed. Without receiving the gift of forgiveness we will remain unholy, standing guiltily under the Lord’s righteous judgment. Sin infects and affects our minds, our bodies, and the world around us. No forgiveness means no resurrection. No forgiveness means no fellowship with God and His people, the Church. Because no forgiveness means we want nothing to do with Christ, the One who has absorbed our sins in His body.

The forgiveness of sins – is that all there is? What more could a sinner want?!

LET US PRAY: Gracious God, You are indeed slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Thank You for the forgiveness You offer and gratuitously give through Word and Sacrament. Empower my life with this gift that I would be eager and willing to forgive those who have offended or hurt me as well as seeking forgiveness from those who I have hurt with my words, actions, or inaction. All this I ask in the name of the one who forgave my every sin on the cross, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Rev. Christopher Johnson

Devotion for July 3, 2019

Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Our Lord certainly could be uncompromising at times. Tender with sinners who desire mercy, forgiveness, and healing, like with Jairus and his dying daughter (Luke 9:37-42, 49-56), Jesus could also be quite blunt when the situation demanded it. Setting His sights on the unavoidable confrontation that awaited Him in Jerusalem, the city that persecutes and kills the prophets, Jesus summons others to drop everything and follow Him, just like the first 4 disciples – Peter, John, James, and Levi – had previously done (Luke 5:1-11, 27-32).

Who could demand such a thing? Only God Himself. How unseemly would it be for a son to leave his family in the midst of burying the father? Very much so! How inappropriate and seemingly irresponsible would it be for a man to not say goodbye to wife and children before venturing forth with Jesus? Very much so! Jesus here demands unflinching obedience, but only a few could obey right there and right then. Such was His uncompromising call.

We must remember eventually all those who followed Jesus ultimately failed Him. The only place where the Son of Man could lay his head was finally on a cross. Jesus own body was buried by people who were not even related to Him. And about Jesus’ hometown at this moment in history: He was no longer welcome there either (Luke 4:16-30).

One thing we can learn from this moment in Jesus earthly ministry recapturing the urgency of the Gospel. Sinners still need to be saved from judgment and receive His forgiveness. Satan still seeks to wound and destroy. Death still takes and does not give back this side of the resurrection. Eternity remains at stake. But the question we need to ask ourselves is this: Do we take Jesus as seriously as He took our redemption?

LET US PRAY: Holy Lord, You know my weakness and faults. You know what truly keeps me from following You with all I am and with all I have. By your Spirit, continue to purify my mind, heart, and life that I would always and ever live for You, urgently seeking Your will and telling others about You greatness. Remove my excuses knowing You have forgiven the inexcusable in me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Rev. Christopher Johnson

Devotion for June 26, 2019

The LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity; guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints.

~ Proverbs 2:6-8

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, because it is the Lord who gives! Often times when we hear Holy Scripture speak of the fear of the Lord, we are apt to wonder; “Why? Why worship of a God—who is love (1 John 4:8)—with fear and trembling?”

These two things don’t always seem to coincide. As a matter of fact, fear and love seem to contradict each other. But love always carries with it a sense of fear. We fear the vulnerability that comes with opening our hearts—our lives—up to others. We are afraid of the consequence of such deep love. “What pain can they cause us!” we wonder.

We do not completely understand the ways of those we love, and that makes us afraid. Much less do we understand the ways of God which are deemed too great for us. We cannot attain them (Ps 139). And yet from the very mouth of our Lord, we receive wisdom and understanding.

We fear God for His mighty power; for that fact that He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth and it is in Him that all things live and move and have their being. What pain this God could cause us if it was His will. He could blot out our names forever! Yet for all God’s greatness, what is perhaps most startling is how that limitless power is made perfect in the weakness of His Son Jesus Christ.

Maybe it’s not so much the consequence of loving that we are afraid of. Perhaps we are more afraid of what God’s love can do for us. For it is the Lord who gives…and you have it all in His Son!

Let Us Pray: Oh Lord, you are life and light itself. Send forth your Holy Spirit into our heart that we may cry to you our true Father. Lead us by your grace out of the perils of this so called love that only the world knows and into your tender embrace; that we may see your face in Jesus and know that no greater love has any man that this. Amen

Devotion for June 12, 2019

“Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, ‘Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness’”(Luke 22:52-53).

Even the most eloquent, tactful and politic person you know is bound to say something you don’t like. If you know someone long enough and take care to hear what they have to say, there will come a time when their words just don’t match your perspective. But if you know this person as one of integrity—always inclined to speak the truth—their words can inspire reflection and meditation. Though they may sting at times, words of truth are always spoken in love (Eph 4:15), bending the heart towards reconciliation.

God Almighty, in His great mercy and wisdom, has rained down upon us grace upon grace (Jn 1:19). Not only has the Creator formed our very bodies in this truth (Gen 2:7), preaching it into our ears through the mouths of the prophets, but now in these last days it comes to us in the flesh and blood of His Son. The Son is yours, so that you may receive everything from the Father (Jn 16:14) as a beloved child receives everything from their earthly parent.

Yet, how often are our hearts, hardened like stone to the truth? Even when spoken in mercy through the mouth of Jesus himself, these words can give us grief. Our obstinate spirits can even see this Word—the lamb of God who comes to take away your sin—as a threat! “Would a loving God come to rob us of our own truth?” we ask ourselves. In that hour, how easy it is to give into the power of darkness and leave in a huff.

The Word of God—Christ himself—says these things “to keep you from falling away” (Jn 16:1) Once we could not bear them (Jn 16:12), but now our Advocate, the Holy Spirit, guides us into all truth. We need not fear loss, lashing out as against a robber, with swords and clubs. This Spirit is for life, that your hearts might not only bend towards reconciliation, but created a new (Ps 51:10); that you might turn to your Lord and live (Is 45:22).

Let us Pray: Oh Lord, by the mercy of your Son the night of our souls lost in sin has been banished. By the power of your holy Spirit confirm unto us your light of truth, that we might ever remain faithful; servants and witnesses of your great love. Amen

Vicar Joe Pinzl

Devotion for June 5, 2019

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but your received the Spirit of adoption…The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we might be glorified with Him.

~ Romans 8:15-17

So…what now? Walking all the way from Advent to Easter, we too are witnesses to the wondrous works that God has done for us in the body of His Son, Christ Jesus. We’ve received His mercy and have been confirmed by the call of the Holy Spirit, saying that we are His completely, to be mercy for the world!

But, we don’t always see this in ourselves. Much less does the world see it as something desirable! Sin nipps at our heals and singes our hearts daily, and if we testify to the truth of Christ we can expect nothing better from the world. So we pray with St. John, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20).

How shall we live under this threat in the “in-between” time? How shall we live waiting on the return promised by Jesus? “Take heart,” he says, “I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). There is blessing here. We have a Comforter, who comes to fortify us, that we may have joy in the midst of persecution, suffering, and cross bearing. Martin Luther speaks thus:

“All Christians are tried, especially those engaged in the ministry. They are so plagued by the devil and the world that they would surely become weary, despair, or give up their work if they were not supported by God’s Word and Spirit. Therefore, Christ comforts them here (Jn 15:26-16:4), lest they be influenced or offended by such trials, fall away from Him, or cease their work in troubled times…’This kind of treatment,’ says Christ, ‘you must simply be prepared to expect. It will tempt you to fall away from Me and to think: ‘Perhaps this is not the true doctrine. Perhaps I have been duped by this Christ.’ I am telling you this beforehand, in order that you may be armed against it and be able to withstand such offense.'”

Let Us Pray: Oh God of grace and mercy, send forth your advocate and guide to reign supreme in us. May we be so clothed in the comfort of your Word—that lives by the same Spirit of life—that amidst all trial and temptation we might only hear as a child of God; and so joyfully suffer with Him, so as to be glorified with Him, even Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Vicar Joe Pinzl

Devotion for May 29, 2019

“And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)

Blessed ascension of the Lord! Forty days after His resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ was lifted up before His disciples and returned to His Father. That great event we commemorate on this day.

As many Christian commentators have noted, the cloud that “took Him out of their sight” reminds us that He did not actually keep on rising, rising, rising, through the stratosphere, past the moon, and up towards Alpha Centauri, floating casually in His first-century woolen robe as He counted specks of stardust. Rather, He left this earthly existence to take on the heavenly existence and rule of God. And what does it mean for you that Jesus did so?

It means this: the Man who died for you and rose again now rules the universe. Even more, He is the power at work in the universe, and therefore in all of your life. Because Jesus is now robed with the light and glory of the Father, you may trust that all things in this life will work together for the good of you who love Him (Romans 8:28).

There is no secret, deep meaning to life that you must unearth by climbing the Himalayans or meditating in an apartment with the right color scheme to balance the elements. Rather, the secret is out: at the center of the universe, the “meaning of life,” stands a crucified Jew who now lives and rules as God. Even more, the nail marks in His flesh are the eternal proof that He is open and vulnerable to the earth’s suffering and need. His is merciful, His ears attentive to the cries of those who pray, and His Spirit poured out for the salvation of all.

Rejoice, good friends! Christ is not only risen—Christ rules!

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Devotion for May 22, 2019

“. . . and the sea was no more.” (Revelation 21:1).

The sea! Have you ever seen the sea whipped into a rage?

Just standing on the western shores of Michigan, watching the great lake crash against itself with foam and tall waves, can take away a man’s breath. But the sea! The early Christians knew all about the sea. The disciples had brooked storms on the Sea of Galilee in their fishing boats, and later they would cross the mighty Mediterranean to share the gospel in the lands of Greece and Rome. Seas can quickly turn into frightening pictures of chaos and even death.

But now St. John records a vision in which “the sea was no more”—that is, God has given to St. John an image of the creation free of chaos and death, and therefore free of fear and violence, with the return of His beloved Son to earth. He has given this vision to St. John for your sake, to comfort and encourage you in the Christian faith. Trusting in Christ is not for nothing! He will not simply whisk you away to another world; He will both free and tame this world. He will free it of evil, and tame its chaos. God is against the violence that is against His people; He lives to deliver and save.

In fact, everything written in Revelation is written for your comfort. Many people read the book as a description of fearful times for the Christian Church, and it surely speaks of evil attacks on the faithful. But even more, it shines with the grace and mercy of God and His power over all things. The sea is no match for Him—He can walk upon its waves!—even as death could not hold Him. Not even sin itself can keep Him from counting you as one of His saints!

LET US PRAY: O Ruler of the waves, rule in my heart also. Rule my mind, direct my doings, and calm my spirit; deliver me from all evil; defend Your beloved creation; forgive all sin; and speed the Day when we shall at least see You face to face. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Devotion for May 15, 2019

“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)

Neighborhood churches where I serve are putting out signs that say, “To Our Muslim Neighbors: Blessed Ramadan.” Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year and is marked by intense fasting, a hallmark feature of Islam’s obedience to Allah. These neighboring Christian churches, by saying “Blessed Ramadan,” are indicating either 1) that God blesses obedience to Allah, or 2) that they want God to bless obedience to Allah.

But God’s blessing is not ours to bestow as we see fit. The Church exists for one purpose: to hear and to declare “the whole counsel of God,” the phrase that St. Paul used to describe his ministry and the ministry of the apostles. That “whole counsel of God” rests on one simple confession of faith: God the Father has raised from the dead His Son, Jesus, the son of Mary, who now rules the universe as Lord and God.

God’s blessing therefore comes into the world through Jesus and in His Name. If the Church blesses anything, it is what our Lord Jesus tells us to bless, using good words that He’s given us to use. Fellow believers, our enemies, food and marriage, even the Lord Himself—all these things God blesses, and we therefore bless them also in His Name. But we do not bless activities and beliefs that direct attention away from the blessed and Holy Trinity to a false god or religion. Doing so is a sin against the beauty of holiness and the glory of God.

Instead, we endeavor to “not shrink from declaring” to our neighbors, whomever they may be, “the full counsel of God,” namely, the wonders that He has accomplished through the prophets and apostles in service of His Son, Jesus, the sole Savior and Mediator of the world. That Savior has freed us to fast if we wish and as we see fit, but even more, He has freed us to feast at His table in His Name. What a blessing to share, with everyone!

LET US PRAY: O Lord Jesus Christ, mighty Conqueror of death, incarnate Son of the Father, miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary: we thank You and bless You for our neighbors, whom You have created with Your Father in great love. So bless our witness and service in Your name that our neighbors would hear the whole counsel of Your Word and so also believe and rejoice in Your love; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Devotion for May 8, 2019

“Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles.” (Acts 5:12)

If we love Christ, then we also love the apostles.

We love the apostles, because they are the branches of Jesus, the Vine (John 15:5), and no one can have a Vine without its branches. No branches, no vine; and if no vine, then no fruit, no joy, no wine-at-the feast! God would not have it. God will have His joy—His joy is to give you joy!—and so He will not keep His life to Himself. He put that Life, that risen Jesus, to work in Jesus’ apostles also. They healed as Jesus healed; they preached as Jesus preached; they even raised the dead.

It was a sign and promise that the life of Jesus will continue, not as an amazing memory or hidden world in the sky, but as a flood—no, a vine, a vine that would spread across the earth, putting forth branches and then tendrils and leaves, the growing Church, all of it hung heavy with the Wine of heaven, the cup of salvation. In the signs and wonders and preaching that the apostles performed after the resurrection, Jesus continued His ministry, laying the foundation of the Church that stands to this day and will stand forever.

So if we love Christ, then we also love the apostles, for they are members of His body, branches of this Vine. And what of you, all you tendrils and leaves on the branches? Is the life of Jesus at work in you? Indeed, for as He promised, His Church would “do even greater works than these” signs and wonders (John 14:12). And what is greater than these signs and wonders? “The greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

LET US PRAY: Holy Vine of Israel, heavy with the cup of salvation, full of health and life: press Your good wine into this world through the branches and tendrils of Your Church. Quench the thirst of those who seek righteousness, and satisfy the hunger of those who seek life, that You may be glorified, with all the company of your prophets, apostles, martyrs, and believers, now and forever. Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Devotion for April 24, 2019

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:26)

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Death has been dealt a deathblow by Christ on His cross and through His resurrection. One day, when He returns triumphantly to this world for all to see, bringing heaven down to earth with Him, ushering in the New Creation, the old foe death will finally succumb to the mortal wounds inflicted by Jesus Christ so long ago.

As we face enemy death now, we should be people who are eternally hopeful because of this very truth. Death no longer has dominion over you, over this world. Death is no longer an enemy to be feared but an enemy that is mortally wounded and will one day be eternally vanquished. Yes, sadly, death still lingers here and now but death has lost its sting (1 Cor. 15:55)! Jesus is risen and you are attached to His resurrection through your baptism.

When death comes your way, personally or through friend or family, rest in this truth: Death will one day be destroyed forever. In fact, in baptism, you already have died so all there is to do now is joyously wait for the return of your Lord and the resurrection of your own body. So joyously worship the Lord each and every Saturday/Sunday knowing this truth of your soon to be vanquished enemy. Joyously receive from the Lord all His blessings which flow from His victory for you. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

LET US PRAY: Lord of life, how amazing is your way of life and how wonderful is your salvation! Help me to cherish the gift of life here and now and the gift of life eternal dwelling in my heart. Help me to remember that no matter what, the victory has been won and death will not have dominion over me because of Jesus, your beloved Son, is my risen Lord and conquering Savior! Amen.

Rev. Christopher Johnson