Daily Devotionals

A word from the Care Team:
"Every member a minister"

The Care Team of Westminster Presbyterian Church is dedicated to providing continued service to Westminster members, especially those who are ill or homebound and cannot attend regular church services and activities.  It is the goal of our volunteers to serve the needs of the Westminster Church family as well as support the work of the ministerial staff.

The team encompasses:
            Care Ministries
                        Bereavement Cards
                        Birthday & Care Cards
                        Nursing Home Cards
            Visitation Ministries
                        Hospital Visitation
                        Nursing Home Visitations
                        Care Facilities Visitations
            Special Services
                        Bereavement Care
                        Memorial Receptions
                        Advent and Lenten Devotional Booklets
                        Knit ‘n Purl

There are many Westminster members who volunteer to add this compassionate touch from the Body of Christ.

Mary Stanley, Chair
A word from our Pastor:
Dear friends,

Every year during Lent, I think about a quote from one of my favorite writers, Fr. Richard Rohr.

“Resurrection takes care of itself. It’s getting people into tombs that’s hard.”

Many of us do not like Lent. It’s uncomfortable to constantly talk of death and fragility. But accepting our fragility is, actually, the beauty of the Lenten season. Fragility allows us to relearn the powerful truth that God’s strength is shown forth in our weakness.

Human beings think we are all-powerful and in control of everything. We have a very hard time in moments when the world does not go according to our plan. Lent provides us six (6) weeks to form or reform the habit of depending on God. Through the practices of fasting and almsgiving, in particular, we come to find that what we thought we needed to be safe, secure, and happy were illusions. “Give us this day our daily bread” becomes a real and meaningful prayer.

So, may this season be fruitful for you. May you come to know that God will supply your every need, and may you begin to see yourself as one of the ways God supplies the needs of others.

I’ll see you at the empty tomb,
Landon Whitsitt, Senior Pastor

Sunday - March 12

John 4:5-42

I find it natural to read scripture from the outside, only putting myself in the stories of our faith where it is comfortable. But what if I try to find the questions scripture asks of me through each character I encounter?

I think of Jesus, leading with vulnerability rather than self-righteousness, asking for a drink from this Samaritan woman, an outcast from her own people. Can I reach out from a position of vulnerability to those I have been taught to reject?
I think of the woman, who has led a difficult life but can still serve others and who is willing to return to the very community that rejected her. Am I ready to risk further ridicule from those who have already hurt me?

I think of the disciples, putting their immediate doubts aside, trusting and serving their Jesus. Can I put aside my own doubts and continue our work?

I think of the Samaritans. They had ostracized this member of their society, failing to show the grace, peace, love, and justice we identify as pillars of the gospel. But they saw a courageous woman willing to share her story and went to see for themselves. Am I ready to acknowledge that I have treated people poorly and really listen to them?

Prayer:  Loving God, thank you for the uncomfortable situations you place along our paths. Help us bring dignity to the marginalized, not just by offering help, but by being willing to receive it. Help us remain open to being part of your amazing work amongst those who have hurt us. Help us embrace the other even when it is difficult. And help us to see your face and hear your voice in those we have cast aside. Amen.

Kevin Wilkinson

Monday - March 13

2 John 1:1-13

One of today’s readings from the Lectionary is Second John. I confess that I have not spent much time in the past reflecting on this very brief letter, though I’ve read it several times as I’ve read through the Bible, on the surface, it seems not to have much to offer us in this day and age. After all, you wouldn’t think we’d need to be on the lookout for Gnostics in our daily lives!

However, if we spend time during the Lenten season reflecting on Christ’s time and teaching, we see over and over the warning to beware of false gods and prophets, and to hold fast to what is good and true. When John reaches out to churches in his letters, that’s really his message---to stay true to Christ, to love one another as God loves us, and to watch out for the distractions and the false teachers that may come our way. For us, this will likely not be Gnostics, but it will likely be something or someone just as dangerous. John’s message is as important to us today as it was to his original readers.

Prayer: Lord, as we are in this Lenten season, help us to prepare our hearts and minds for Christ’s death and resurrection. Help us to focus on what is good and pure; to not be distracted or led astray by evil or false gods, but to persevere in carrying out Christ’s command to us to love one another as He has loved us. Amen.

Jane Puls

Tuesday - March 14

1 Corinthians 10:1-4

“Now I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.”
Just like our ancestors before us who were baptized into Moses, we as Christians are baptized into Christ. He sustains us and fills us with all the spiritual food and drinks we need, just as God did for the Israelites in the time of Moses. God gave his only son so that we may have salvation. I think back to Deuteronomy 7:7-8:
 “The Lord had his heart set on you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all the peoples…But because the Lord loved you.”

As we hear every Sunday, we are always already loved by God, and this is something that has never changed. We aren’t the first people to be given this gift of love with no price. God asks us to follow his commandments and believes in his word, but despite our failures, missteps, and often self-centered ways, God always already loves us, just as he has from the beginning.

Take care to remember that while you are not the first one God grants his love and protection without justification, you are also not the first to falter, to stray, to sin, or to walk a misguided path. God loved your father, mother, and theirs before that, and He will continue to be with you with his unwavering love throughout your life. Through Christ we have salvation. Thanks be to God.

Liza Cryder

Wednesday - March 15

Jeremiah 2:4-13 and John 7:14-31, 37-39

Imagine the confusion the Jews felt leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. The Pharisees said He deserved to die. Yet, He performed miracles and taught like no other. Who was this Man?

Ask yourself, would you recognize Jesus if He lived among us today? In our 24/7, media-infested culture, where would we find Him? Would Jesus be a Bible-thumping zealot, telling us of God, yet making us uncomfortable for the choices we’ve made? Would He be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tik Tok? What would He state was His occupation on LinkedIn? Or would He be in an obscure location caring for the unwanted, for outcasts, and the deplorable? Or, would He be one of the least of these Himself?

The truth is none of us really know if we would recognize Jesus. Do we want to mold Him to our own idea of who He should be? Instead, we must be transformed by Him.

In Jeremiah 2:13, the LORD told the house of Israel, “My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”  Do we dig our own broken cisterns when we feel like God isn’t listening? Do we forsake Him?

In John 7:13, Jesus tells the people, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

God is calling us to believe and follow. Can we hear His whisper in our everyday lives? When tragedies happen, do we realize He’s with us?

"The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." - Isaiah 58:11

Patsy Hosman

Thursday - March 16

Psalm 23 (King James Version)

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This Psalm is the most well-known and beloved Psalm. The Lord is pictured as our Shepherd, and we are his sheep. Sheep are helpless without their shepherd. Our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, cares for us like no earthly shepherd ever could.

When we are sick or in trouble, He comforts us. When we go astray, He gently turns and directs us until we are again on the right path, and when we enter the valley of the shadow of death, He guides and directs our way. We never need to fear for He will guide us all of the days of our lives upon this earth and will then lead us safely into His courts to live with Him forever!

What an amazing God we serve.

Pray that today you will walk in peace and joy because your Shepherd is faithfully there to lead and guide you in the way you should go.

Ruth Ann Regens

Friday - March 17

Ephesians 5:1-9

Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus

Paul says to be imitators of God as beloved children and walk in love just as Christ loved you.  What does it mean to be imitators of God who is a God of love, but also mystery? A dove on the shoulders of night speaks in a silent song of love, and the mystery becomes a walk of faith.

Paul goes on to warn his people of greed, immorality, impurity, filthiness, covertness, idolatry, and so forth. As he points out, our dark passions are real. Psychologist Carl Jung said, "One does not become enlightened by imaging figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."

I believe Paul brought up all the horrible dark things he could imagine because he wanted to emphasize the juxtaposition between our dark passions, and the fruit of the Light which consists in all goodness and richness and truth.

My prayer is that we will be blessed with love and Light as pilgrims on the spiritual path, and we will learn to love as Christ loves. Then, by grace, we will all be imitators of God.

Audrey Streetman

Saturday - March 18

John 1:1-9

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”  John 1:1   It is amazing, isn’t it?  Jesus was God in heaven, yet he came to Earth as a human.  He was fully divine, yet he assumed human form.  He became like us yet not us.

Do you ever think about it? When I was in college, we watched a film called “The Ant”.  In the film a human became an ant to interact with other ants and, in the end, he was killed. The film compared the human becoming an ant with Jesus becoming a human. While I suppose being an ant would be dreadful for any human, it is not the same.

Jesus could have been born as a prince in a palace but that was not God’s plan. He was a regular person, the son of a carpenter. In his infancy, he was taken to a foreign country to live in exile until it was safe to return home. He was tempted by the devil. His good friends deserted him when he needed them the most.

He knows us better than we know ourselves and still loves us. He expected Peter, James, and John to fall asleep while he was praying. He knew Peter would deny him three times. He saw us with all our faults, our sins, and our stumbles, and yet he died for us.  He was fully human so he could not carry the weight of the cross without assistance. With every pounding of a nail, he felt it. The taste of the vinegar was sour to him.  We may say we would “die” for someone, usually a child, spouse, or someone equally close but would we die as He did?

Every Lenten season I am amazed at the cruelty of the cross and astonished at the Resurrection. What Jesus did for us is beyond measure. He lived, suffered, and died as a human while maintaining his deity.  And he loves us, always and already.  We are truly blessed.

Linda Sheffield

Sunday - March 19

John 9:1-41
(Reprinted from 2020)

Although there are 20 other chapters in the Gospel of John, this one packs a punch.  There are so many shoes we can stand in and be enlightened by.  But the blind man’s journey into sight is the most intriguing.  We see his journey through his addresses to Jesus – first Jesus is a man, then Jesus is a prophet and finally, Jesus is the Son of God.  So is our journey with Jesus.

As we study, listen, encounter, discuss, and experience our lives as Christians, we grow into a relationship with Jesus.  We experience the grace, we experience the mysteries, we experience the guidance, we experience the forgiveness, and we experience our relationship with Jesus.  Unlike our earthly relationships, the more we get to know each other, the more we encounter each other’s weaknesses and flaws.  Whereas the more time we spend on our relationship with Jesus, the more awesome and Wonder-filled He becomes.  That’s not to say we shouldn’t develop relationships with one another – we need connection.  But during this time of Lent when we participate in self-reflection and walk into vulnerability, who better to go to than to Christ – the relationship that holds all the trust and love we need?

Kim Mitchell

Monday - March 20

Psalm 146

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!”

Psalm 146 is one of the five Hallelujah Psalms. At this point, all our struggles are behind us, and it is now time to praise God. Of course, as I read Psalm 146, I found myself singing the Hallelujah song I sang so much as a child where we would stand up and sit down every time the word “praise” was sung. All those VBS memories came flooding into my head making me smile!

In Psalm 146 we are reminded not to put our trust in mortals for man is not worthy of our confidence; only God is. After all, even the greatest of men are the only men who will one day perish along with their plans. God is sovereign and remains trustworthy amongst human frailty and mortality.
The rest of Psalm 146 shows us what an awesome sovereign God really is. As we say in confirmation class, he’s not such a bad boss to have! A person who trusts in God will have good fortune and be happy! How cool is that?! Also, God never tires and is continuously in action for us. He made heaven and earth. He executes justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, and sets prisoners free. He watches over strangers and brings ruin to the wicked. He is the greatest coach, quarterback, offensive lineman, running back, wide receiver, defensive lineman, and special teams player we could ever ask for! And the best part…He will be here long after we are gone looking out for all generations. Hallelujah indeed!

Amber Ray

Tuesday - March 21

Isaiah 42: 14-21 and Colossians 1: 9-14
Lent is a time to dance, to move, and to step in time to God’s holy call for your life. In Isaiah, the call is to “Hear, you deaf; Look, you blind, and see!” Isaiah 42: 18. The poem of Isaiah was written in a time much like ours, one that begged for voices to protest wrongs and misery and to imagine a better way, a better place. During Lent, we are especially called to embrace that hope and that courageous spirit in preparation for the Cross. The reality of our faith messages us in a vibrant way.
The walk toward the cross is one of action. “Sharing the inheritance”, as Paul writes in Colossians, means rising in thankfulness and using our hands and feet as those heirs. We are able to do this because we are already rescued, forgiven, and loved. In this Lenten season, we can be thankful to rise each morning to begin again on this exciting path and rest each evening “…giving joyful thanks to the father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:12

Prayer:  Dear God, during this time of Lent we are introspective and that is important for us but motivates us to action as well. Guide us to take inventory of our individual lives and to match our gifts with the needs before us in our families, church, community, state, nation, and world that rest on our hearts. Let us speak out against wrongs and meet you, God, in those places where You dwell with those in pain and need. Build our community of faith from within us so that we may feel your compassion more clearly and show that love to the world. Amen.

Mary Richard

Wednesday - March 22

Matthew 9:27-34
Was it a life lived well? Are you not sure you can tell?
It is of our own choosing. Though sometimes hard to tell.

Are you looking up? Or are you looking down?
Wearing a smile or wearing a frown?

It’s all up to you, a tough lesson you know.
Life is a test. Not just a show.
We may just fade away. Or let our lights grow.

We think we have problems;
we don’t even know.
Those in Turkey and Syria; tonight, all alone.

Jesus talked to the blind man. And the deaf one as well.
And based on their faith, God made them each well.

The faith of a mustard seed was all that they needed.
For the deaf to hear and the blind to see.

The tiny mustard seed, ever so small,
with undying faith, will become majestic and tall.
Knowing forever the Lord is there for us all.

Though earthquakes may strike, and buildings may fall,
   remember our Lord is there for us all.

Love your neighbors and say your prayers.
Never lose faith in our Father upstairs.

Rex Hodges

Thursday - March 23

Revelation 10:1-11
(Reprinted from 2020)
The question of when Jesus will return has been debated for centuries with countless Biblical interpretations.  John’s words in this scripture tell us that ‘God has revealed all we need to know to live for Him now’.  In our desire to be ready for His coming, we must not place more emphasis on speculation about the last days than on living for God while we wait.

Ultimately, we can take comfort in Jesus’ actual words to us.  In Matthew 6:25-34, He sums it up by telling us not to worry.  Again, in Mark 13:32, He reminds us that only His Heavenly Father knows when that day or hour will occur and that we need only keep alert and awake.

Let us:
- Trust His timing.
- Rely on His promises.
- Wait for His answers.
- Believe in His miracles.
- Rejoice in His goodness.
- Relax in His presence.
- Be prepared.
- Study His word.
- Reflect His Light
- Continually thank Him
For His endless Grace.
Thanks be to God.

Tina Love Ridley

Friday - March 24

Ezekiel 33:10-16

James E. Davison in his book, The Year of the Bible, reminds us that this last part of Ezekiel “speaks about a future restoration for God’s people”.   He writes that quite a few of the objects and images in this book are also significant in the New Testament.  Another interesting fact about Ezekiel is that he and Jeremiah both trusted God’s mercies.

What caught my attention in this passage was the mention of the evil man being told to turn from his evil ways and to do “what is just and right”.   Upon doing this, his life was changed and none of his sins were remembered.  God wants abundant life for us and will go to extreme measures for us to have that.  It is so reassuring to see God offering mercy in both the Old and New Testaments.
As we go through this Lenten season, may this idea of God’s mercy give us renewed hope for ourselves and our world.

Kathleen Johnson

Saturday - March 25

Lenten Prayer:
Lord, let everything I do this day and in this season of Lent come from you, be inspired by you.

I long to be closer to you.  Help me to remember that nothing is important in my life unless it glorifies you in some way.  It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of my life and keep saying, “Tomorrow, I will spend more time in prayer”, but now my longing needs your love and I want to do it now.

Help me to rely on you for help.  The prayer asks you that I reach perfection.
Please, Lord, remind me that “perfection” isn’t the crazy, “successful” way I try to live my life, but the perfection of my most authentic, real self.

My “perfection” might be holding my flaws in my open hands, asking you to help me accept them.

Heal me, Lord, and help me to find you in the darkness of my life.  Let me reach out in this darkness and feel your hand and love there to guide me.

Creighton University:   Lent – One Prayer a Day

Sunday - March 26

A Lenten Hymn
(Reprinted from 2020)

The Christ Who Walks Among Us
Tune:  Palmer Square

The Christ, who walks among us still,
Is callus to greet
The souls, this day, akin to those
Who walked the Naz’reth street?

The call of Christ is heard again,
As one in Galilee,
The fisher and the merchant lord
Become both you and me.

The sacrament of bread and wine
Begins the life of care,
When liturgy of love prevails
For all, a task to share.

Then take our live, O Christ, this day.
Trans form and e’er refine.
As, in the Cana feast, you changed
The water into wine.

The Christ, who walks among us still,
Is calling us to greet
The souls, this day, akin to those,
Who walked the Naz’reth street?

Prayer:  May the call of God in Christ be evidenced by the life he has transformed and we must ever refine.  Amen.