Blog

Blog

Daily Devotions

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” vs. 1 Psalm 103:1-8 The word “bless” is familiar to us. Some use it as a closing in their letters to friends and family, while others might use it as a quick response to a sneeze, as in “bless you.” In those instances it’s a prayer for the person addressed, a desire that good things might come to them. But the psalmist uses it…

Daily Devotions

If you call the sabbath a delight … if you honor it, not going your own ways … or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth …” vss. 13b-14a Isaiah 58:13-14 The prophets of Israel consistently pointed to sabbath-keeping as the center of the Jewish faith. In their eyes it was the most important of all the commandments given at Sinai. And early…

Daily Devotions

If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.” vss. 9b-10 Isaiah 58:9b-12 It is so easy to “drink the lemonade” of the times and take delight in its tangy flavors. And the politicized moments of these last months have offered plenty…

Daily Devotions

You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” vs. 56 Luke 12:54-56 Jesus had such contempt for the people of his day. They could predict rain and scorching heat by watching the wind directions, but they failed to see what was coming to pass in the present. We wonder what he might say to us. We have made incredible advancements in science and…
Howie Wennes Celebration of Life

Howie Wennes Celebration of Life

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Sunday, August 14 at Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks at 1:00 p.m. The service will also be livestreamed during that time on Ascension’s website at https://alcto.org/. The service also will be available for viewing at a later date. 

Daily Devotions

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!” vs. 51 Luke 12:49-53 Not everything that we read in the gospels brings joy to our hearts. Oh, there is much that is beautiful and inspiring, but Luke wasn’t in the business of censoring Jesus. Even when his words were disquieting and disturbing, Luke included them because they were a true reflection of what life in Christ is like. Jesus…

Daily Devotions

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…” vss. 1-2a Hebrews 12:1-2 The record of faithfulness outlined in Hebrews 11 is impressive. Scribes had preserved nearly two millennia of stories and regarded those records as their holy scriptures. By…

Daily Devotions

Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.” vss. 39-40 Hebrews 11:29-40 As he continues his teachings, the writer to the Hebrews recounts the great people of faith from Israel’s history, from Rahab, the prostitute, to unnamed prophets tortured and maligned in every horrible way. All had faith in common, it was their strength and…

Daily Devotions

Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” vss. 3-4 Psalm 82 This psalmist imagines God sitting in the divine council and holding judgment. And from that throne God calls out, “Give justice to the weak…maintain the right of the lowly…rescue the needy.” The psalmist has no doubt about God’s priorities–indeed we hear this refrain throughout scripture,…

Daily Devotions

How long? Will the hearts of the prophets ever turn back—those who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart? … Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” vss. 26, 29 Jeremiah 23:26-29 The prophets in Jerusalem drove Jeremiah to distraction. Many had the ear of the king and were crafting their message to his desires. They recommended alliances and treaties that could only bring…

Daily Devotions

Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the Lord.” vs. 24 Jeremiah 23:23-26 Twenty-five hundred years ago Jeremiah refused to believe that God could be manipulated or avoided. God was no idol of stone or wood hanging out in temples and having no connection to daily life.  Like many of us, Jeremiah believed that the Lord filled the universe, that God was present in…

Daily Devotions

You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” vs. 40 Luke 12:37-40 Believers are familiar with admonitions to be prepared. They occur regularly in the teachings of Jesus, particularly in those relating to the coming apocalypse. Disciples were warned that the Son of Man would be coming at an unexpected hour and that they should be ready. Early Christians taught that Jesus would be coming again, likely within their lifetimes, and even…