The Devotions Are Back

Greetings to new and old friends,

For the past few months I have been wrestling with my own sense of spiritual centeredness. It seems that life keeps bringing new surprises around every corner and some of them startle me. Turning 55 in October hit me like a ton of bricks. So that got me to praying about God’s will for my life, particularly around God’s will for showing up each day to write devotions.

I actually got so far as to open a new document on September 27th to start writing again. That, literally, is as far as I got. I typed one line: Week of September 27 – October 2, 2015. After that, nothing.

But then last week happened. A week bookended with two Saturday funerals. The first, a father who left behind three young adult children and then, this past weekend, a woman who left behind her 20 year old son. Neither were members of Faith Lutheran Church but, when I am invited into such situations, the mission and members of Faith Lutheran go with me. We remembered both names in our All Saints list this past Sunday.

All week, on top of everything else, I kept thinking “there is something missing.” What was missing was my willingness to show up at a keyboard each day. Seeking the Spirit and listening to the Word and then sharing whatever came out of that with others. But I wasn’t willing. I wasn’t even really willing to be willing.

At the funeral this past Sunday a woman approached me. She told me she missed reading the daily devotions I used to write. I do hear that from time to time but her particular timing really struck me. Yesterday morning before church I told a friend that I was thinking about writing again. He said that would be a great idea.

Then I got home from church, checked my email, and received a notice that my domain names “revkerry.com” and “revkerry.org” are up for renewal. Last night I told that story at our 6TEN recovery service – the theme was the 11th Step – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of his will and the power to carry it out.” I told those gathered that it looks like it is time to start writing devotions again.

Then early this morning I got a text from a friend with a question about a troubling Bible passage. Later this morning I got another text from another friend asking if I was still writing devotions.

OK God. I get the message. For better or worse, I’m willing to be willing. I’m willing to ask for God’s help. To adjust my daily routines. To re-enter that discipline. To trust that God provides and that helping others with their daily devotions even as I help myself will be a good thing. The daily devotions will begin again tomorrow morning.

If you think this is a good thing, then I need your help. Send me ideas – questions you have about faith/life, Bible passages that defy your understanding, suggestions for weekly themes.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, take the wheel lest I ride right into the ditch. For so many years, you richly provided spiritual food to be shared and re-shared. May your Spirit continue to lead us into new understandings, new insights, and new life giving behaviors as we pass on the blessings of your love in our daily lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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34 Responses to “The Devotions Are Back”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Can’t wait until tomorrow, we need you!

  2. Sharon Boyd Says:

    Good Morning, Pastor Kerry!
    I am sitting here trying to hold back the tears…YOU ARE BACK! THANK GOD! I DO understand the trials you have been going through. I won’t go into the details, but I continue to work on strengthening my relationship with the Lord and understanding what HE wants for me! I consider this life Christ’s Boot Camp, and having just turned 73 on last Saturday, you would think I am near graduation, but that’s not the case. Your honesty in your writings have always been such a help and will continue my growth in Christ. Know you and family are in my prayers, my Brother in Christ.

  3. Gloria Says:

    Glad to hear it and I look forward to your messages. I thought you and I were more the same age??? I haven’t been 55 for 15 yrs. ?!

    I am surprised that many, who have gone to church all their lives and, I would imagine, have HEARD Bible “stories” again and again — have never read them for themselves and seem to know little about the Bible.

    On the other hand, I started reading the “One Year Bible” and so many things became clearer. (the 12 tribes and the “duties” of each) etc. It gave me a new love for the scriptures, except for all the crude and bloody parts.

    Welcome back!
    Gloria

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Am so thankful that you are willing to start your devotions again. I have missed them. You have a gift to inspire, to teach and to reveal spiritual truths. Thank you.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Rev. Kerry,
    I am so pleased that you will be writing your Daily Devotions again! I have sorely missed them. I am a Lutheran Deacon in the Metropolitan New York Synod and one of my ministries at my upstate NY church is leading Evening Prayer twice weekly. In the past I used your Daily Devotions many times as readings during that time of reflective prayer as they were very helpful in giving myself and our parishioners a better understanding of the readings for the day. I know how difficult it is to keep our relationship and prayer life with God front and center when there are so many other things in the church (and life) that pull us in a thousand directions. I would read your devotions first thing in the morning and they helped to keep me grounded in scripture. So I thank God that you listened to His call and pray His Spirit and blessing upon you as you step back into this ministry.
    Peace,
    Cathy Boyce

  6. Arlene Says:

    Dear Rev. Kerry,

    I feel so thankful you are ready to start again. Over the years you have been helpful so many times in my understanding of what God has in mind. You will be in my prayers.

  7. Joan Iker Says:

    I need something to give me the energy to stay freshly engaging two congregations that I serve as pastor. It’s good to hear the struggle is not only mine.

  8. Julie Starks Says:

    What a nice surprise to receive your e-mail today! Consider pondering and writing on how we can walk together through our differences, how we can open our minds to bigger thoughts and how we can make the all important priority of time to be with God on a daily basis.

  9. Linda Stoetzer Says:

    Hooray!

    After 20 some years of marriage I got up the courage to suggest we do a daily devotion. I was delighted with that and also with finding your devotions. We have had many good conversations as a result of your sharings. Thank you!

    I am serving on our congregation’s call committee for a new pastor. I need some reassurances about God’s will becoming apparent regarding this daunting task. (Tomorrow my 12-step group begins a month study of step 11.).

    Blessings to you, Linda

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  10. Carolee Says:

    I am so happy to hear that you will begin anew your daily devotions. They have often been inspiring, stimulating, informative, engaging, and a true blessing. You do a great job on addressing scripture and translating it to be useful in our modern day lives.
    Here are a few devotion ideas:
    1) Understanding the Holy Spirit in our lives
    2) Accepting God’s Grace
    3) Recognizing God sightings
    4) Sharing our faith with others
    5) Realizing our talents and sharing them
    6) Help for putting God first and how to glorify him in our lives

  11. Debbie G Says:

    Yay–You’re back!! So excited to see the email in my inbox tonight. I attended Faith for the first time 4 years ago after relocating from Arkansas to Houston for my hubby to have a Stem Cell Transplant for Leukemia at MDA. You made an announcement that Sunday that you were starting the Daily Devotions again. I signed up as soon as I came home from church. You will never know how profoundly your words touched my life and gave me hope and strength at a time when nothing was certain, death seemed eminent all around me, when we had no family or friends geographically close to support us, and all I could do was cling to was my Faith. Your Devotions gave me a daily dose of human and spiritual connection and comfort, and helped me build a stronger relationship with God at a very difficult time in my life. I have sooo missed your devotional blog and look forward to “our time together” again.

  12. Lise Says:

    I too, am overjoyed that you are back. It’s truly a “God thing” for me as well. I’m a couple years younger than you, but have been deeply struggling with direction and purpose. Your devotions have many times been a direct message from God to me. I Sooo look forward to sharing this time with our Savior thru you.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    I am so happy to see you back! I so enjoy the daily devotion. I also struggle at times. I have been known to say “why me?”. I am try to be a good person, I am faithful, or at least I think I am, and they say God only gives you what you can handle…well, I’m not handling it well! I can’t wait for tomorrow’s devotion. Glad to see you back!

  14. Gus Keiser Says:

    Pastor Kerry, May God’s blessing be with you as you returnnot just to the keyboard, but to the hearts of those who have benefited so much from you past words. As I near the end of nearly a dozen years of providing a daily emal devtional; I can understand your struggles, especially when “the well runs dry.” There have been many times over these years when I felt like giving it up, when I felt as if there wasn’t anything left to say. But each time God reminded me that it wasn;t what I needed to say, but what he wanted me to say. So it has been, that God is the one that does the talking and I’m merely the fingers to transfer his message. With that having been said, my prayers for you are that he continue to feed you with is word and guide you with his Spirit as his words, through you, enrich the lives of so many.

    Blessings,

    Gus Keiser

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for coming back. I’m struggling with my faith and you help me so much. Thank you, thank you.

  16. stlcrdzlvr Says:

    Well, Pastor Kerry, I figure it has been almost 20 years since a Lutheran in suburban Northern Virginia first communicated with a Lutheran pastor in Houston, Texas. While I never “needed” your daily devotions to stay connected with you, I cherished them and thanked out God for the safety net they provided me on numerous occasions over the years. That they are back is a blessing beyond words. Thank you.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Pastor Kerry, It is good see you writing again. I have used your devotions many times with my high school Sunday school class which have led to many spirit-filled discussions. Thank you for hearing His call. May He continue to fill your cup.

  18. Steve Bales Says:

    Great to have you back writing again Pastor Kerry…I’ll keep you in my prayers, that the Holy Spirit will inspire you, guide you and strengthen you in your daily life!

  19. Mary Dvorak Says:

    Cheers from North Dakota, so look forward to your future devotions and maybe even repeat some of the old ones. Discipline is one characteristic I have to work on and your devotions make it easy for me to get that daily study going and center myself on those thoughts and prayers.
    I will send prayers your way for support, thank you Pastor Kerry,
    Mary Dvorak

  20. Rise G Says:

    Wow… that is some God Acks hammering at your head… I’m glad you are back. I’ve been spiritually circling down the drain so this in turn was a God Ack for me. Thank you for serving Him faithfully. – Rise G from MI

  21. anonymous Says:

    I have been struggling with the death of my 55 year old sister and understanding where faith falls in this journey. I feel God ignored the prayers of all the people who were praying for her recovery from a ‘super bug’ infection. Why do we pray when God already knows what we are feeling/thinking? I am finding no comfort in prayer anymore because I feel it has no purpose. That would be my suggestion for devotions.

  22. Annette Says:

    i’m a United Church of Christ pastor in Maine who has missed your thoughtful engagement with Scripture, though I understand the need to stop doing even good things as one moves forward in one’s life. I am thankful the Spirit has been calling you to return to this work.

    One thing I have thought about is that we have a Savior who died young, who experienced much hardship and suffering, but was not acquainted in his own life with the sort of pain, sorrow, and losses associated with the aging process. At 67 I am myself entering that stage of life–have entered it–and I minister to many people far along in it. What are Scriptural resources for people enduring the long decline and immense losses of old age?

    Thank you Pastor Kerry.

  23. Kara Says:

    Was so excited to see Daily Devotions in my mailbox again. You are much appreciated by many.
    Few ideas I have to add: Being mindful of God’s presence/Holy Spirit in our daily lives, prayer, marriage with God at the center, reaching out in our daily lives/ministering, raising kids who know God and want to seek him out, being responsible stewards with money.
    Thanks again. So glad you are back!

  24. Linda W. in So. Cal. Says:

    Oh Happy Day!!! Missed you tremendously Pastor Kerry!
    Possible subjects:
    1. Biblical Discernment – what is it, why is it important and how to develop discernment in our believes, views, hearing God’s voice. etc.
    2. Finding a church – what to pray for, what to look for, red flags, etc. – for those of us who do not live in Houston 🙂 And then, after finding a home church- How to: get involved, to encourage the ministry, find your “niche”, becoming a church family. What does a healthy church look like?
    3. Jewish Jesus – what was our Savior’s homelife like before he began his ministry? What religious training did he have, what was required for a Jewish young man in Jesus’ time? For Jews today – what do they think of Jesus and his radical teachings. (I’ve been watching Dr. Amy-Jill Levine on youtube – so interesting!!)
    4. The Holy Spirit – Recognizing, welcoming, becoming closer to this Person of the Trinity.
    5. Methods of praying.
    6. The Book of Revelation – so difficult to understand! What is the Lutheran perspective?
    Thank you Rev Kerry for coming back – You made my day a happy one!

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Blessings on you and “welcome back!” Not surprising you needed a break, but so glad the Holy Spirit led you back to the keyboard. It must be 20 years or so I’ve been on your mailing list. You have a gift for sharing about tough issues in a “real” & “down home” way. I’ve always enjoyed our shared ND roots & references to that, like you speak my language rather than in fancy theologians’ phrases. Let the Spirit speak through you so the burden of daily discipline isn’t on you but on the Spirit! Maybe you could address the dismay many of us feel at watching our younger people seemingly have little/no interest in seeking God. Moral living, yes, but Jesus, no. The devotions are a great start to my day. Thanks for heeding the call to return. Sending prayers …

  26. john wesley Says:

    Missed your daily devotions for a long time. Looking so forward …..

  27. Steve M. Says:

    Good day, Pastor Kerry, and welcome back. I usually save your devotions to a file after reading them every day, and was looking through some past post’s, and wondering when you might be starting again. Well I don’t have to wonder anymore!! I truly appreciate your writings and look forward to them every day. May God bless you on your journey!! Blessings!!

  28. Arnie Says:

    I really missed your devotions and look forward to start receiving them again. As for subject: Let the Spirit guide you!

  29. Charles North Says:

    Welcome back to the keyboard. I am grateful that the Holy Spirit has encouraged you to continue. Until reading these comments I did not realize how many of us continue to struggle with our faith or the perceived lack thereof. Pray for strength and guidance for all of us.

  30. Kandi Says:

    I was glad to see that you will be doing the devotions again. Thank you for your willingness to say yes to God’s nudge. You will probably never know what an impact your service is making, but I, for one, am grateful.

  31. Lucy Says:

    Struggling in a traditional worship journey but still do daily online devotions – missed you something fierce – praying for our Lord to send your fingers flying across the keyboard and into our hearts and minds to give us spiritual nourishment and encouragement to strengthen our Christian resolve – thank you for this wonderful gift to us !

  32. Jo Anne Says:

    Welcome back. I have enjoyed your devotions. You are human just like the rest of us. I have been struggling with what to do with my life. I am just a few years older than you and I am dreaming of retirement and how to write the next chapter of my life. Take care and keep the faith.

  33. Anita Byrd-Petts Says:

    Thanks for coming back. Your sense approach to the “Good News” was a beacon for me for many years. I share your struggleGs with what to do with the rest of my life (I am 62) and keep listening for God’s voice. Perhaps we can listen together. Again, thanks and welcome back

  34. Susanna Lavdas Says:

    Oh, welcome back!! I have SO missed the devotions, and am delighted and praising God that He led you back to them! Woo hoo!

    I do have a subject for you…worry. Everyone does it to one degree or another, but I have a friend who is obsessed with it. She has reason in some respects, but her worrying goes beyond real circumstance and into worrying about things over which she has no control. I try to help her, but I feel like I’m hot getting through. Since this is something we all deal with, I’d love to hear your perspective on it.

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