It wasn’t at the conference center’s ‘lost and found’ box.  A bracelet my wife gave me was missing.  Think the clasp wasn’t totally snapped in place.  By me.  So, it was hasta la bye-bye to this lovely gift.

Something more serious happens at a religious’ feast Jesus attends in Jerusalem.  At the Sheep Gate, there’s a pool where invalids gather to beg and hopefully be healed.  Like something lost, they need others’ help to be found.

Who comes by that day?  You know.  Jesus of Nazareth notices a man who’s spent a lifetime at this Pool of Bethesda.  Thirty-eight years begging and hoping.  Eking out a living and nothing more.  He’s lost but will he be found?

Jesus sees this man.  Zeros in on him.  Finds out how long he’s been at the pool’s edge.  Thirty-eight interminable years.  Day in and day out.  Month by month.  Seasons coming and going, and still no end in sight.

The paralyzing fog never lifting.  Crippling clouds never clearing.  Hanging on to pipedreams.  Thirty-eight years hopeless.  Ever felt that way?  About a job?  Family?  Life in general?  Possibly you’ll notice a man who comes close by, strangely knowing you and your situation.   Who is he?  Again, you know!

In John 5, Jesus asks this disabled beggar what he wants.  Seems obvious, doesn’t it?  To be healed!  But maybe, just maybe, this fellow would rather wallow in self-pity.  Has gotten used to being dependent and helpless.  Handouts are easier than hard work.  But not this guy.  He wants to get up and go… on his own!  And that’s what he’ll do, thanks to a word from Jesus’ lips.

I wonder what I’m clutching onto that holds me back.  A chokehold of my own making.  Not following Jesus fully because I possess such good excuses, which lets me off the hook.  Reasons that sound reasonable.  Can’t do this.  Can’t do that for X, Y, and Z reasons.  I’m an invalid at least inside.  Stalled while running for cover.  Somewhat lost.

But Jesus draws near.  He won’t let up until I get up and follow Him more closely and faithfully than before.  Not just me.  He’s got you in mind, too.  How about it?  Time to get up?

Join me.  I’d love the company!

Thank you, Jesus, for helping me to serve you.  Amen.


You know the ins and outs of the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman.  The scandal of talking with a woman, who’s also a Samaritan.  Jews and Samaritans distrust each other, and don’t mix well even on a good day.

One detail in John 4 jumps off the page at me.  It’s found in verse 28–“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did.  Can this be the Christ?'”

She left her water jar.  How strange.  She needs water and this well is exactly where it can be found.  Little or no indoor plumbing in those days, so she needs that water jar.  She’d place it on her head, walking it home.  But not this time.

A wise move on her part?  Hardly.  Will require an extra trip, hoping that someone hasn’t snatched it away.  Did she misunderstand Jesus’ comments about ‘living water’ (John 4: 10)?  Those promises that His H2O would never run out?  That ‘…whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up… (John 4:14).  Did she get the wrong idea?  That water jars will no longer be needed?

Think back to when you accepted Jesus into your life.  Those early days.  On top of the world.  Far from disappointing valleys.  Safe and secure on some mountaintop.  But what about your own ‘water jar’, some things left behind?  Running after Jesus occupies your heart and mind overshadowing other things. Focusing decisions on what Jesus wants.  There’s a change in the air.

My plans to become a stockbroker get radically altered, as in out the window, when I attend summer school at a Bible college, actually studying God’s Word.  That’s a first for me.  That undergraduate degree in business administration gets left at the well, so to speak.  When living for Jesus some things get left behind, abandoned, and forgotten.  Other things we attend to in a new way.  Fashioning them with our eyes on the Master, for a change.

We’re not the same after meeting the risen Lord.  Far from it.  Not by a long shot.  That’s how you know you’re His.  Your target in life shifts…in God’s direction.

Before knowing the Savior, I could care less about ever attending church.  Why should I?  What’s the point?  A colossal waste of time.  But then after!  Couldn’t get enough of a new church that teaches the Bible, while singing songs that mirror my own experience of Jesus.  Funny thing…I still can’t.

Those are some of my thoughts about her water jar.  And yours?

Thank you, Jesus, for being my all in all.  Amen.


When we purchase a pair of expensive, highly hyped pillows, we take careful note of the return policy in case we don’t like them.  Can they be returned?  Who pays the return postage?  If free, then where do we have to go to send them back?  Timbuktu?  An adjacent state?  What’s their return policy?

Turns out those infamous pillows of infomercial fame, feel like they contain small rocks under our heads.  Not in our heads but under, wise guy!  No way will we keep them.  Back they go with a refund gladly received!  Free return postage to boot!

Take a gander at Zechariah 1 in the Old Testament.  It tells us of God’s return policy.  Not of pillows but of sin.  Yes, that nasty three-letter word.  Unfortunately, missing God’s mark is, as usual, quite in vogue.  I’m in that regretful group.  Can’t seem to get out.  Membership renewed without any questions asked.  Autopayments are made with ease.  So, how do I return my sin?

Zechariah 1: 3–‘…Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you…’  Here’s how–return sin by turning to our Lord, who loves to forgive and forget.  Ask Jesus’ help.  He’s available 24/7, 365, and even on an extra day during leap year!

Yes, repentance.  Yes, confession.  Yes, restitution if possible and appropriate.  But all returned and finally dealt with by our Lord God.  His promise.  What more could we possibly need?  Good enough for me.

Obviously, we’ve been on a collision course with ourselves when sin dominates.  It’s not that God has turned His back on us.  Quite the contrary.  That’s how it is with sin.  It doubles back on us in an unwanted, unexpected, nasty way.  Like a boomerang that hits us squarely on the old noggin.  Returned to sender.

So, turn around.   Return to the Lord.  On your knees, so to speak.  With sorrow and regret.  Not hiding behind excuses of any sort any longer.

He promises that when we do, He’ll be right there, face-to-face, holding our hands, speaking loving words of forgiveness, while giving us a new start.  That’s His return policy.  When we take that first step, we’ll discover that He’s always been there for us.  Urging us on.  Wanting us to turn back.  Waiting like the father in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son.  Waiting and watching for us to return.  Gracious return policy, I’d have to say.

That is what Resurrection Sunday means.  A new day.  A new start.  Life overcoming death.  Forgiveness covering sins.  All because of Jesus, God’s only Son, and our Savior.  His life.  His death on the Cross.  His coming to life again three days later.  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!

By all means, have a Happy Easter!

Thank you, Lord, for all your love and forgiveness.  In Jesus’ name and for His sake.  Amen.

CREATION Psalm 104

Our son and daughter-in-law live not far from us on 38 acres.  Much of their property grow bushes, vines, and trees.  But a large area around their home is filled with all kinds of plants and animals.  Yes, a trip of goats, a flock of chickens, and a gaggle of ducks!  Did I get that right?  Google it yourself as I did!

You should see the French pumpkins, purple tomatoes, and pink blueberries they grow.  We’re glad they own a farm they’re developing.  We thank the Lord for what He’s given them to work and harvest.

But wouldn’t it be a shame to miss the Gardener for the garden as most do in this world?  Sadly so.  Not me.  I see Him everywhere.  A vision I choose to keep and cherish.  You too?  Look around.  Take in as much as you can, in gratitude to our Creator God.

Why not read Psalm 104 where praise abounds to that Master Craftsman.  For everything–birds, the sun, vines and plants, animals of the sea, livestock of the land, oil, and bread, trees and… you get the point.  Everything!

Forget about luck, chance, string theories, the Big Bang, and Darwinian evolution.  No dice.  These are often man’s ways of ignoring and discounting God.  Of stealing glory from the only deserving One.  Of dethroning the King of Creation.  Of robbing Jesus of what’s rightfully His.  Not nice to fool with Mother Nature let alone Father God!  Anyway, He won’t stand for it in the end.

So, give Him His rightful glory.  Psalm 104: 24, 31, 35–‘O Lord, how manifold are your works!  In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures…May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works…Bless the Lord, O my soul!  Praise the Lord!’

On this Palm, Sunday, raise your voice in praise to our Lord Jesus as those crowds did years ago now!

Thank you, Lord, for all your wonderful creation.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

KEY WORD Zephaniah 2

Key word.  Which one?  It’s snug as a bug in a rug in the Old Testament, in chapter 2 of Zephaniah’s prophecy–‘Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord’ (Zeph. 2:3).  Found it?

You thought it was ‘seek.’  Right?  Wrong.  What grabs me is the word ‘perhaps’.   It’s key to keeping balance as we search high and low for God’s will.  If we could only know for sure what He’s going to do and what He wants of us, clearing the air of uncertainty and indecision.  Of hemming and hawing, straddling a fence or two, frozen in place unable to move in either direction.  Wanting to obey our Lord Jesus if we only knew.

Yet here’s reality– many times we just don’t know.  We’re in the dark as to the specifics of His will.  Not about the 10 Commandments or other clear as daylight biblical admonitions.  No, not those.  It’s like some of these–where to live, who to marry, which car to buy, how to save enough money for retirement or for a child’s higher education.  And many more everyday decisions.  Perhaps this, perhaps that.

For the Lord gives us room to make our own decisions while we pray for guidance, perhaps checking it out with a trusted Christian friend or two.  Perhaps making mistakes and redirecting accordingly.  Perhaps failing, learning some valuable lessons.  Perhaps the Lord seems to direct you in quite a mysterious way, one without many guarantees.  Such is life.

What remains definite is that our Lord Jesus always stays with us– ‘And… I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Matt. 28:20).   And ‘always’ still means always.  Our relationship with Jesus is secure as secure can be.  Ironclad.  Nailed down.  Perhaps the only sure thing in this life.

For God knows we’re made of dust and clay.  After all, He created us.  He understands the fallen world we’ve been born into.  Nothing clueless about God.  And, most of all, He’s gracious, merciful, forgiving, kind, gentle, slow to anger, and loving, individually and collectively, with endless abundance, without limit

Perhaps knowing that God is minding the store, always there in the pinch, that His reliability strengthens us enough to make it through these tough times?  Perhaps?  No, for sure!

Thank you, Jesus, for always being there with me.  Amen.


I want to thank all of you who read my weekly devotionals. I love writing each and every one, praying that the Lord will use them to bless others and draw each of us closer to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Last month readers from 15 different countries tuned in to Reflections Out of Time. From a year ago March, people from 56 countries all over the world found these devotionals. For that and all of you who follow every week, I am so grateful allowing me to continue to share my somewhat quirky take on biblical truths.

I’ve a favor to ask you. Why not forward a devotional to someone you know and ask them to sign up for the free weekly devotions? Someone you’d like to bless. The more the merrier!

Again, thank you for standing with me in wanting more of Jesus in our daily lives. John