Eunice Guild

“He Sees Us!” (May Devotional)

Grandma and Grandpa Twenhafel lived on Mary Street, a few blocks from Christ Lutheran Church, and my sister and brother and I grew up just a few blocks from them.  Aunt and Uncle Twenhafel, and our five cousins, lived in Michigan.  Neither of our families had the means to travel a great distance, so we were seldom together.  On one such rare occasion, we were gathered at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and while the grownups visited and prepared for a backyard picnic, we were told to stay outside and play.  Aunt Mildred, a wonderful and loving woman, and a Missouri Synod Pastor’s wife, warned us not to “get into mischief!” and then disappeared into the kitchen with a “SLAM” of the screen door.  My sister and I were sitting quietly at a shaded round table made of pebbled concrete.  We could hear the gab and laughter of our Aunt, Grandmother and Mom, and the sounds of pots and pans as they happily worked at doing what they did so well, when to our dismay, our three boy cousins, with no sound other than a few muffled giggles, began to “get into mischief!”  Suddenly, a voice like nothing I had ever heard but still remember well, rang out from somewhere deep in the kitchen, “CHILDREN!  I CANNOT SEE WHAT YOU ARE DOING, BUT JESUS SEES YOU!”  And with that, there was no more mischief from any of us!  How did Aunt Mildred know?!?!  She wasn’t even looking through the door!  My sister and I have often recalled this sweet memory.  It was definitely a lesson learned and heeded – at least when our dear Aunt Mildred was around!  As I was reading Psalm 33 in my wonderful little devotion book, “Reading the Psalms with Luther,” verse 13 made me think of that time in our grandparent’s backyard:  “The Lord looks down from heaven; He sees all the children of man.”  I smiled as I thought, “so does Aunt Mildred!”  The psalm continues with, “from where He sits enthroned, He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the heart of them all and observes all their deeds” (vs 14-15).  Dr. Martin Luther explains that this “is a psalm of thanks to God in general for His blessings, for helping His faithful people in all kinds of distress, and for not letting them perish.  He is able to help because He made all things and still creates all things with a word, so that nothing is impossible with Him.  GOD is also so good and true that He will help and willingly helps, as He has promised in the First Commandment: ‘I will be your God,’ that is, I will be your comfort, help, salvation, life, and all good things, and I will stand against anything that would do you harm.  That’s what it means to ‘be GOD’.”  Oh, isn’t that beautiful?  Reading the entire psalm and considering our God at work “being God,” I felt an extra measure of peace envelop me.  During this time of distancing and unknowns – and fear, our ever-present and all-knowing Lord is watching, and listening.  Aunt Mildred had to rely on motherly intuition, but JESUS SEES US!  He made us and knows us well.  As a loving and caring parent, God our Father is watching as we, His dear children, step out in faith to meet life’s challenges.  He is ready and will help us – and He does help us.  Whatever happens, our Lord and Savior is fully in control and will use it to accomplish His GOOD and Loving plans for our lives.  So, we say with the psalmist, “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His Holy Name” (vs 20-21).  And we pray (vs 22), “Let Your steadfast Love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in You!”  Amen. 

With Joy in Christ!  Duannah

“Watch and Pray” (April Devotional & Recipe)

In Rev. Michael Newman’s book, “Hope When Your Heart Breaks,” there is a devotion titled, “When You’re Disappointed.”  In it, he writes about learning to handle disappointment, by observing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  As I read and reread the Gospel narratives of this moment in our Savior’s life, as I watched Him in Gethsemane, I learned much more than I expected.  At Jesus’ last Passover with the disciples, He joined them in singing a common hymn of praise (Psalms 115-118).  Perhaps as in Psalm 118, Jesus sang: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” (vs 1), “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid” (vs6), “The Lord is my strength” (vs14), “You are my God, and I will give You thanks” (vs 28), and “Your [His] love endures forever!” (vs 29).  Then they walked to the Mount of Olives and into the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus fully knew that He was taking His final agonizing steps toward His cross, yet those steps were taken with the words of praise and comfort in a song still fresh from His lips.  He never faltered, He continued on.  In the Garden, Jesus wanted to spend time in prayer with His Heavenly Father.  He was true God, but He was also true Man.  He knew He would give Himself up to die, and He knew the torture, pain and humiliation He would experience.  Although He was innocent and without sin, He would be punished for the sin of all mankind.  He would feel the full misery and dreadfulness of death.  Jesus wanted to be alone in prayer, but He also desired the support of His three closest friends – Peter, James and John.  He “began to be sorrowful and troubled” (Matt. 26:37).  Taking the three a little further with Him, He said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death . . . keep watch with me” (vs 38).  Falling to the ground in prayer, He implored His Father to not turn away from Him as He became sin for us, but even so, that He was willing to do His Father’s will.  Three times He returned to His disciples, and to His disappointment, found them asleep even after telling them to, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (vs 41).  During this time of Lent – and this time of pandemic, the account of Jesus in Gethsemane, moves me to tears of remorse for my sin, but also tears of great comfort and hope.  By watching my Savior in His last hours, He shows me how He wants me to react, to cope, to live always, but especially during challenging times.  Jesus was so overcome with anguish that He sweat blood.  He knew disappointment in others, and rejection by His own Father.  He felt torturous pain and humiliation.  Whatever I’m going through, Jesus has experienced, and so much more.  He knows, He understands, He cares.  There is absolutely nothing the devil can do that is bigger than our Lord.  There is nothing too large or too small that I can ask of Him.  He tells us, as He told His disciples, “Watch and Pray.”  He wants us to keep our eyes on Him and His cross always, and especially through times of trouble.  He wants us to stay in contact with other children of God for the support only they can give.  He wants us to stay in constant contact with Him through prayer and thought so that we are not tempted to fall asleep spiritually.  Our Lord and Savior watches over us every moment.  He is with us every moment.  He tells us that not even death can separate us from HIS LOVE.  We are people of EASTER!  We know without a doubt that Jesus rose from His grave to walk on this earth.  People saw Him, talked with Him, ate with Him, and witnessed His glorious Ascension to His Father!  No matter what we go through in life, what is to come – OUR LORD WILL NEVER FAIL US!  So that we may never fall asleep spiritually, He tells us: “Watch and Pray!”    

Ever with Easter Joy!  Duannah 

Resurrection Cookies   (Makes 24) 
1 cup pecans (or mini chocolate chips)
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar             

Make these cookies just before going to bed.
– Preheat oven to 300⁰ F.
– In a zip lock bag, crush pecans into small pieces.  John 19:1-3.  Jesus was beaten by Roman soldiers.
– Put vinegar & vanilla into a medium mixing bowl.  John 19:28-30.  While on the cross, Jesus was given vinegar to drink.
– Add egg whites to the bowl.   John 10:10-11.  Eggs represent life – Jesus gave His life to give us life.
– Sprinkle salt into bowl.   Luke 23:27. This represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers & the bitterness of our own sins.
– Add cup of sugar.   Psalm 34:8 & John 3:16. Our sweet Savior died on the Cross for us because He loves us!
– Beat with mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks form.  Isaiah 1:18 & John 3:1-3.  The color white represents the purity in God’s eyes for those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
– Fold in pecan pieces.
– Drop by teaspoons onto two parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Matthew 27:57-60.  Jesus’ body was laid in a rocky tomb.
– Put cookies in hot oven, close the door, & turn off oven.  Matthew 27:65-66.  Jesus’ tomb was sealed.
– Go to bed.  John 16:20 & 22.  Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
– In the morning, remove cookies from oven.  They are hollow!  Matthew 28:1-9.  On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers found the tomb open & empty!  He is Risen!  Indeed!