As a teenager, I remember feeling lonely, fearful, and insecure.  A normal adolescent experience?  Probably.  Then hearing that Jesus loves me and wants to be the biggest part of my life grabs my attention to that radio program I’m listening to on a Sunday evening many years ago.  God interested in me?  Jesus loves even me?  Does that make sense?

I always wondered about spiritual things.  Like who God is.  And Jesus.  Used to try to go to sleep imagining how long eternity would last.  Forever and ever, then more and more, and even some extra, making it hard to nod off.  Having polio at age 2, being isolated in a hospital far from family and home, no doubt leaves me feeling like I’m skating on very thin ice most of the time.  You think?  Makes sense to me.

But then I met Jesus.  Actually, He takes the first step, offering me a new life.  All His love and lots more.  How could I ever turn Him down?  Couldn’t and didn’t.

Okay, not everything changes overnight.  Actually, I’ve no idea what all this Jesus stuff means.  Had to take it a day at a time.  Sometimes half a day.  Slowly but surely, I wise up to the fact that Jesus is in my life.  And, best of all, He’s here to stay.

Reading my Bible daily knocks some sense into me.  As time marches on, I sense His presence more and more.  Those fears and insecurities?  Less and less.

In Jesus, sense intensifies.  Quickens.  Deepens.  Heightens.  To begin with, we receive eternal life–‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life–the life was made manifest and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life… (1 John 1: 1-2).  Hear…see…touch.  Senses alive.

How long is forever?  Don’t obsess over it, Fischer!  Know that life gets better; so that at the end, which is really just the beginning, it becomes the very best.  Get the picture?

At some point, a light goes on that this earthly life isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  There’s more going on.  You can sense it.  Even see it clearer.  Less pea-soup fog and smog than before we believe in Jesus.

The Apostle John says this–‘…which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon…’ (1 John 1: 1).  No made-up stories.  No Brother John’s bogus snake oil.  No figment of someone’s imagination.  No fairy tales or myths.  They saw, heard, and touched Jesus.  This is the real stuff.

Here’s another godsend–fellowship.  That sense of belonging.  1 John 1: 3–‘…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.’  Loneliness loses traction as believers get closer to each other and to God the Father and His Son Jesus.  Guess what?  We’re never godforsaken.

But with unbelievers, as precious as their love and friendship can be, something’s missing.  You can sense it.  There’s a strangeness, a disconnect from what’s most important in our lives.  What’s that?  We know.  Not a what, but a who.  Jesus.

In Him, life comes alive.  You’ll sense that.

Thank you, Jesus, for being our all-in-all always.  Amen.


I’m always scared stiff to go to the doctor.  In a cold sweat and panicky.  Strangely, parking myself in the dentist’s chair is no big deal.  Think it’s because I’ve had a root canal, oodles of crowns along with regular teeth cleaning, so I feel like an old pro in that chair.  Frequent flyer.  Regular customer.  Hate it when my dentist hums the old hymn ‘Crown Him With Many Crowns’ and then does just that!

But the medical doctor.  That’s a horse of a different color.  Old sawbones.   And a trip to the hospital.  Specialists.  Strange and ominous-looking scoping machines.  Robots.  Not my cup of tea.

I’d rather be almost anywhere else until I notice something hanging on the walls of those doctor’s offices and hospital rooms.  What?  Purell sanitizers?  No.  Those blasted ‘no salt’ dietary restrictions and proscriptions?  Hardly.  That ‘do not resuscitate under any circumstances’ directive?  You wish!  Or that ‘pay now or you’ll really pay later’ warning signed in blood-stained ink?  My vital fluid type, no doubt.

What captures my attention is hanging up rather high on the wall that would be easy to miss if I wasn’t so beady-eyed nosey!  Glad I am.  It’s a cross with Jesus on it.  I’m in a doctor/hospital system run by various Roman Catholic orders.  And I’m glad.

But something’s different.  This is not a crucifix with our Lord displayed dead on the cross.  No.  He’s on the cross but alive with both hands held upward in victory.  He’s overcome death and crucifixion.   And, at that moment, I sense that He’s right there with me in that scary place, holding my hands upward along with His.  Must tell you how reassuring those simple wall hangings were for me.

In the Apostle Peter’s first letter he writes this–‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading…’ (1 Peter 1: 3-4).

Victory in Jesus.  Hands held high.  Death and the cross–both defanged of their toxic venom.  Now all born-again believers are gifted with a living hope through faith alone in the resurrected Jesus Christ.

Sure helped me to have His reassurance when I was shakin’ in my boots.  By the way, that’s when Jesus draws especially near.  Your need today?  Then look up…

Lord Jesus, thank you for being with me when I’m afraid.  Especially then.  Amen.


Psalm 88 is the gloomiest of psalms.  The only one finishing with hardly a glimmer of hope.  Concludes in the shadows of death and darkness.  What gives?

Well, the psalmist finds himself up against it all.  Troubles multiply.  Barely a trace of light at the end of his tunnel.  Dark clouds rule the roost.  Ever been there?  Who hasn’t?  Maybe that’s where you’re at right now?

As a believer in Jesus, I try, as often as possible, to see the upside in what I’m going through.  Some situations, many really, I leave in the Lord’s hands as I can’t make heads nor tails, rhyme nor reason as to the ‘why’ of whatever’s happening.  That’s where Psalm 88 helps.  Don’t think so?  Not sure?  Well, hear me out.

Almost from the get-go, the psalmist vents anger, frustration, disappointment, you name it, at his God–‘You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.  Your wrath lies heavy upon me…You have caused my companions to shun me…’ (Ps.88: 6-8).  You…you…you.  Read on.  There’s lots more where that came from.  The blame game points the finger directly at his God.

So, why is this poem in our Bibles?  Uplifting it’s not.  But maybe we’re not seeing the forest or the trees.  Could it be that God wants us to bring whatever we’re going through, all our gut feelings, our dreams and even nightmares, to Him?

Hide nothing from Him (as if we can).  Be bold.  Be direct with your Lord.  To Him.  And with Him.  He’s big enough.  He can take it.  Not like He’s never heard it before and probably worse.  But then I note little faith-glimmers in this psalm.  A lone sunbeam or two from the Lord.

My wife is so good at nursing dead-looking plants back to life.  I’m tempted to toss them into the compost heap.  I’ve learned to keep my grubby paws off them.  Over the winter a hardy hibiscus plant looks hardy no longer.  More like it’s pushing up daisies.  But that’s when my wife performs magic with her green thumbs.  And this summer we’ve had the most amazing, dinner-plate-sized hardy hibiscus ‘Starry Night’ blooms we’ve ever seen.  No thanks to me!

That’s similar to what I see in Psalm 88.  As the curtain rises, his opening words are these– ‘O Lord, God of my salvation…Let my prayer come before you…’ (vs. 1-2).  ‘My salvation’…’prayer’…’O Lord,
God…’ (he even uses God’s personal name of ‘Yahweh’ here).  Doesn’t it sound like he knows who to pray to and who has saved him, even though he drifts in and out of despair and depression?  That he knows where His hope lies?  And with whom?

Even when it seems like we’re hanging from an unwinding thread, remember who holds you with the tightest grip ever.  God will not let go.  You may think He has or will, but guess what?  You’re wrong!  Hear His promise–“…for he said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you'” (Heb. 13:5).  ‘Never’ still means never.

Thank you, Jesus, for always being our hope.  Amen.


My doctor was pleasantly surprised to hear that I took his prescribed medication every day until the last tablet slid down my gullet.  I asked him why he was shocked by this.  Doesn’t everyone?  No, he said.  Not at all.  Many poop out after a couple of days of pill-popping.  What?  He wasn’t kidding.  And then they wonder why they’re back in his office griping and complaining about not getting any better.  Take the medicine.  All of it.

Today’s devotional will be shorter than ever.  Who said ‘amen’?  I heard you and know who you are and where you live!  Nevertheless, God’s prescription is for daily reading of Psalm 85.  When?  Whenever.  Morning, noon, or night.  Most any translation.  Ingest it as many times as you want.  Without limit.  Don’t miss a day.  Don’t skip a verse or two and call it good.  No toxic side effects.  No huge price tag or deductable.  And no speed-reading, Fischer!  Okay, already, we get the point, which is probably on the top of my head!  Take the medicine.  All of it.

At the end of this week, I wonder how you’ll feel?  A tad happier?  Mood a bit lighter?  More praise than complaints?  Fewer fears and worries?  More trust and a closer relationship with your Lord Jesus?  Pretty good stuff, huh?

Take the medicine!  All of it.  Much better than a spoon full of sugar!  Psalm 85.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the Bible, your Word, which is so precious and true.  Amen.


I had the very best district manager in my financial planner career when I worked for a large investment firm.  The man who trained and mentored me was a gem.  A former music teacher, he exhibited the best when dealing with clients or prospects.  His honesty and genuine interest in others shined ever so brightly.

In those days, long before digital obsessions, personal interaction actually meant something.  As in listening to others’ concerns and goals.  Their risk tolerance.  Family issues.  Whatever.  So, I decided early on to keep visiting people in their homes, businesses, or schools much as I did as a pastor.  Not having an office works just fine.

My manager encourages all in his district to do more than people expect.  To be a ‘value-added’ person.  If you say you’ll get back to someone at a certain time or date, do it.  Spot on.  If you need to gather more information for someone, get it and deliver it.  Pronto.  By all means, don’t wait for them to remind you.  When financial markets go cattywampus, talk, communicate, be there, reassure and explain as best you can.  And listen, most of all.  Value-added!

Psalm 85 overflows with God’s value-added blessings.  Mainly it’s His character that adds worth to our lives.  ‘You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin’ (Ps. 85:2).  God’s forgiveness becomes a complete covering of our sin.  No cover-up, but a putting out of God’s sight once and for all.  Gone.  That certainly adds value.

The conclusion of this psalm is precious–‘Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.  Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky’ (Ps. 85: 10-11).  God’s love meets and greets with a holy kiss all that’s right and peaceful.  Faithfulness springs up from the ground to embrace righteousness, which descends from the heavens.  A kiss and an embrace like no other.

To top it all off comes this promise–‘Yes, the Lord will give what is good…’ (Ps. 85:12).  All added value comes from how good God is.  His goodness knows no bounds.  It makes way for all the blessings that He gives and gives and keeps on giving…to you and me.  Thank goodness for our good God!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving your all.  Amen.