Our hope is not in our circumstances.
It’s something I need to be reminded of regularly. Especially during times that are not routine or are unexpected, or when it becomes apparent that so little is in our control.
Special thanks to the ministries of St. Lucas Lutheran Early Childhood Center and Word of Life Lutheran School in St. Louis, Missouri, for taking the time to educate my children and many others on the promises of God.
In my household, I get the pleasure of dropping both of my children off at school each day. My wife is a full-time Lutheran school teacher, so she arrives at school quite early and is not able to drop the kids off on a consistent basis. As I load my two- and four-year-olds into our purple Ford Flex, they fill my car with songs from school—songs about Jesus. They kick their legs with excitement as they belt “Jesus Loves Me” with a remix of “Jesus, Remember Me” with a feature by the “ABC” song. I open our sunroof to get some fresh air and therapeutic sun into the car as the kids scarf down their breakfast, bellowing lyrics as we drive along.
Earlier this summer, I received a phone call that caused me to drop my glass cup on the floor right before heading into a Bible study. My doctor had called to tell me that the “routine” COVID-19 test I had taken was not so routine and that I had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease. The next few seconds were a blur, and I quickly popped into the Zoom Bible study feeling as if I had been hit with a ton of bricks.
I had COVID-19. What was going to happen to me?
As I write this, I am listening to the decisions made by my home state of Minnesota about school this fall. After this spring and the experience of distance learning , my children and I are ready for school to be back in session.
Back-to-school season was much closer to “back-to-chaos” season for my family. Even as an only child, I was part of so many extracurriculars that my parents were constantly running me around, even on weekends. There was rarely time for family dinners, much less a moment to try and squeeze in family devotions. My family could have used a steady routine, especially when it came to planning family time.
I am far from an expert on prayer.
I’m not the person to go to for tips on how to be consistent in prayer.
I can remind you of the assurance we have in prayer because of Christ.
The prayer we now call the “Lord’s Prayer” did not originate from a monk or a mother. It was given to us by Jesus, our Lord. He tells us to pray to our Father with simple words. Jesus ensures us that the Father knows what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:5–8).
During hard times, it can be difficult to find the energy to rejoice. It feels easier to focus on how bad everything is and to dig in your feet and say, “Nope, nothing to be joyful about here.” I am frequently guilty of this. I often take a look at what is going on in the world and, instead of bringing my worries to God, I bury myself in how bad it is. In biblical times, there were many situations where believers could have lost all hope. But God’s promises break through and turn hard times into joy.
When planning time for daily devotions, ideally, what does that look like to you? If my ideal devotional time was fulfilled, I would find myself at my favorite lakeside coffee shop each morning. The smell of coffee and caramel rolls would mingle in my nose. My four kids would be playing outside and my ears would faintly pick up on their encouraging words to one another and soft giggles. My mind would be free from clutter and ready to learn. I would always have my favorite leggings and soft plaid shirt clean. The coffee would be a perfect drinking temperature. Not too hot to drink and far from cold.
Last Sunday after breakfast, I took a warm cup of coffee upstairs to get ready for Easter church. I was simultaneously feeling exhausted and excited, and very much looking forward to twenty quiet minutes alone while getting ready for the day. Just minutes after arriving in my bedroom, I was joined by one child and then a second child, both desperately needing to talk to me. We had brief conversations, and I sent them back downstairs to play and help their dad clean up breakfast.
In the New Testament, Christians are often told to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Greek language uses different words to describe love: storge, philia, eros, and agape, to name a few. What do each of these types of love entail? How can you share them with people in your life?
Read about the different types of love below, then download some floral or woodland-themed Valentine’s Day cards with Scripture, created by Oar + Arrow— a creative team led by wife, Sherry Luhman, and husband, LCMS Pastor Ethan Luhman. Use these cards to share God’s love with parents, children, grandparents, friends and other loved ones.