Monthly Archives: February 2023

The Ruths of our Lives

walking together

Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. —Ruth 1:16

These words from Ruth 1:16 are often read at weddings, where couples commit to live their lives together. But when I think of the Ruths of my life, I think of those who drove me to the hospital when I was sick. Ruths. I remember the friends who stayed overnight in my house so I would not be alone once I returned from the hospital. Ruths. I think of the people who sat with me in my room. Ruths. I treasure those loved ones who say to me, “Call anytime, day or night,” and then answer when I do. Ruths. Who are the Ruths in your life? Thank God for them today.

The Ruth of the Bible serves as an example to us all to truly be there for one another, and not just say we will be. When the call comes, go. When the night is long, stay. When a hand reaches out, hold it. We are the companions on the road who are there through thick and thin and for the long haul. We are the fellow travelers in this life, as Christ is for us.


Ash Wednesday

Today on Ash Wednesday, we hear these words spoken over us as we receive ashes on our foreheads: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). It is a stark reminder to us that we are mortal and our time on this earth is finite. There is nothing that can change that.

But something that we need to remember on this day and throughout Lent is this quote: “Remember that you are God’s, and to God you will return” (Hiortdahl, Brian, “A Day to Remember.” Living Lutheran, January/February 2023, 13). Yes, we are mortal, but we belong to God, so our destiny is not finite death in dust, but everlasting life in and with him through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Lent then becomes for us a dual focus: on our limited human condition because of sin and on the unlimited love of God to save us from that state that we might receive limitless life through the death and resurrection of his Son.

We think of Lent so often as a somber time, and it is, in part, but as a whole it is an opportunity to remember where we have been in sin and confess that shortfall, and then look forward in joy to where we are going because of the forgiveness that transforms our lowly lives into glorious examples of our God at work.



And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. —Matthew 17:2

The account of the Transfiguration of our Lord is read before Lent begins in some church traditions and in the midst of Lent in others. The event involves Jesus going up to a mountain and his face shining like the sun with the glory of God. It is a bright spot in a season of darkness. Why does the Church include it? It highlights quite brilliantly what is just beneath the surface: Jesus is fully God as well as fully man. His divine nature is revealed in Scripture for a short time in this way to remind us of what is happening in Lent: God is being glorified in the suffering and death of Christ, even if it is not readily visible in these very human and horrific events.

Each Sunday during the Benediction, a mini-Transfiguration is spoken over us in these words: The Lord make his face shine upon you. We get a glimpse of the glory of Christ in that moment every week. Never forget what is just below the surface in the life of Jesus as we walk in his footsteps toward the cross: Glory shines within him.

Love That Lasts


In the song “One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture, the chorus goes, “Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.” It is a comfort to sing those words over and over in church and let them wash over you. We have a God who loves us unconditionally, who loves us without letting go and without ever abandoning us.

On this Valentine’s Day, it is good for us to remember that such an all-embracing love exists. Our human loves can never compare to the depth of God’s love. But it is still important for us to use the love of God as an example to strive toward in our many different relationships with others. Instead of candy hearts or chocolates or flowers, consider giving the more impactful gifts of extra kindness, full forgiveness and heartfelt care. Jesus demonstrated what the giving of these gifts of love looks like during his days on this earth, until the day he stretched his arms out to embrace us on the cross.

Love like his goes “on and on and on,” as the same song’s chorus also says. His love gives us the power to last in love for the long haul. It is our love for him that makes our love for others grow.



We spend so much time these days entering, remembering and resetting passwords for all sorts of apps and websites that it is harder and harder to keep up with them. I recently began writing them down neatly by hand in a little notebook I have stashed away in a secret place instead of scrawling them out on Post-Its I have scattered across my desktop and stuffed haphazardly into drawers.

What does this have to do with our Christian faith? I think we often treat the words of the Bible like we treat our passwords. We think about them for a while, then we forget about them. We carelessly toss them around instead of collecting them in a special place. The special place where we can collect our most treasured Bible verses is in our souls.

What, then, do we do with the Scripture we have carefully placed within us? We use these words to open up a whole world of God’s love toward us, an entire network of believers who support and inspire us, and an everlasting kingdom of blessing unlocked for us by our Lord and Master, Jesus. Let the words of Scripture link us always to a deeper connection to him.

Keeping Busy


We like to keep busy, don’t we? It can be something that we wear as sort of a badge of honor sometimes. Probably the most common answer to the question, “How are you?” is “Busy.” Like is so often said, there is nothing wrong with keeping busy, but the reason for it may need our attention. There are definitely legitimate causes for our busyness: a mountain of tasks at work, a packed schedule of our children’s activities, chores that need to be completed around our house. But our busyness should never serve as a distraction from the more important business of genuinely caring for our loved ones or growing in our relationship with Christ.

In other words, we should never let our busyness become our religion, if you will. We should never be busy just to be busy. Our busyness should be based in our commitment to love and serve the Lord and one another. Our busyness should never be a way to show how great we are, but should reveal how great our God is to provide us with the time to make his name known in word and deed.

Look through your calendar today and consider what is keeping you busy these days, and let God lead you to prioritizing those things that glorify him as well as taking less-than-God-pleasing tasks off the table. Your joy in what you are doing will grow more as a result when you are keeping busy for God.