“A Prayer in Times of Uncertainty”


Jeremiah 17:7-8 – Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Well, Lord, where do we go from here? You’ve shown me again and again that You love me and that You have a plan for my life. I really want Your plan, Lord, because I trust Your wisdom and love far more than I trust my own insight.

The problem right now is that I’m afraid I’ll miss that plan. A thick haze has drifted in and settled down in my mind, obscuring Your will and clouding my thinking. Yet, I need to make this decision soon. Lord, I can’t put it off much longer.

I feel a little bit like Abraham. You told him to go and You promised to bless him. But Lord, there were still many details Abraham didn’t know at the onset (see Genesis 12:1-3). I don’t recognize any road markers either. Lord, I wish I had a compass and a map. I’ve searched in vain for sky-writing.

Abraham went, Lord, not knowing exactly where but trusting You to show him the way because You promised to go with him. And You blessed him for stepping out in faith (see Hebrews 11:8-10). I, too, look to You in faith, trusting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and I have been promised the Holy Spirit to guide me (see John 14:16).

With Your promise of guidance, my not knowing the final outcome doesn’t seem as frightening when I keep Your Word in mind (see Psalm 27; John 14:1-27). Please give me the kind of faith that trusts You implicitly, Lord. You’ve shown me the pros and cons of this situation as we’ve talked it over together in prayer. I always feel especially lonely in times of uncertainly, so You’ve give me Christian friends with whom to share my feelings. Thank You for their patient concern and godly wisdom.

But they can only advise, Lord, and finally it comes down to simply trusting You. As the writer of Proverbs tells us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Bless me with this kind of wisdom, clarity of thought, and humbly receptive spirit. Help me to see Your will and give me the courage to do it.

And just one more thing, Lord Jesus. Please give me Your peace as I seek Your direction for my life. I need to feel sure of Your presence. Thank You for listening, Lord, and for Your Help.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, life is full of curve balls and things that blindside us. Train our hearts on Your Word and keep us there, abiding, and joyful in Your guidance and protection in our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

From The Lutheran Layman, April 1978 issue, “Sky-Writing, Road Maps, and What Do I Do Now?” by Jane Fryar

Reflection Questions:

1. Has your life been uncertain lately? At what point do you turn to God when things get crazy?

2. A well-watered tree is a powerful image in the Old Testament. Does that characterize your life of faith, or would something less, something more dried up and struggling, be closer to the truth?

3. Going forward in faith but not knowing where is hard to do. How do you find patience to truly seek what God has for your life?

Today’s Bible Readings: Psalms 27-29    John 11:1-29


“Oración en tiempos de incertidumbre”

… bendito el hombre que confía en mí, que soy el Señor, y que en mí pone su confianza. Ese hombre es como un árbol plantado junto a los arroyos; echa sus raíces junto a las corrientes, y no se da cuenta cuando llega el calor; sus hojas siempre están verdes, y en los años de sequía no se marchita ni deja de dar fruto.» Jeremías 17:7-8

Y, Señor, ¿qué hacemos ahora? Me has demostrado una y otra vez que me amas y que tienes un plan para mi vida. Quiero seguir tu plan, Señor, porque confío en tu sabiduría y amor mucho más de lo que confío en mí. Pero una espesa niebla se ha asentado en mi mente, oscureciendo tu voluntad y nublándome el pensamiento. Aun así, necesito tomar pronto esta decisión.

Me siento un poco como Abraham: le dijiste que se fuera de su tierra y prometiste bendecirlo, pero había muchos detalles que Abraham no sabía al principio (ver Génesis 12:1-3). Y Abraham se fue sin saber exactamente a dónde, pero confiando en ti para que le mostraras el camino, porque prometiste ir con él. Y porque fue en fe, lo bendijiste (ver Hebreos 11:8-10).

Yo también te miro con fe, confiando en Jesús como mi Señor y Salvador, y en que el Espíritu Santo me guiará (ver Juan 14:16). Con tu promesa de guía, no saber el resultado final no parece tan aterrador cuando tengo en mente tu Palabra (ver Salmo 27; Juan 14:1-27). Dame la fe que confía totalmente en ti, Señor. Me has mostrado los pros y los contras de esta situación, ya que lo hemos hablado juntos en oración, me has dado amigos cristianos con quienes compartir mis sentimientos. Gracias por tu paciente preocupación y sabiduría divina.

Pero ellos solo pueden aconsejar: al final, se trata simplemente de confiar en Ti. Como nos dice el escritor de Proverbios: “Confía en el Señor de todo corazón, y no te apoyes en tu propia prudencia.
Reconócelo en todos tus caminos, y él enderezará tus sendas” (Proverbios 3: 5-6).

Bendíceme con tu sabiduría, claridad de pensamiento y espíritu receptivo. Ayúdame a ver tu voluntad y dame el coraje para hacerlo. Y solo una cosa más, Señor Jesús: dame tu paz mientras busco tu dirección para mi vida. Necesito sentirme seguro de tu presencia. Gracias por escuchar, Señor, y por tu ayuda.

ORACIÓN: Padre celestial, la vida está llena de contratiempos y cosas que nos dejan ciegos. Entrena nuestros corazones en tu Palabra y mantennos allí, seguros y confiados en Tu guía y protección en nuestras vidas. En el nombre de Jesús. Amén.


“The Present Interim”


Acts 1:1-4 – In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. He presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, He said, “You heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Some of the toughest times in life are the “interim” times. People in business who have been appointed to temporary management positions have discovered it is very difficult to function in that capacity. Most of us find that these kinds of times in our lives—times when we’re waiting for things to transition back to “normal”—can be difficult to get through.

Jesus’ disciples were faced with one of these periods between the time when Jesus rose from the dead and when the Holy Spirit came to them 50 days later on Pentecost. This was probably a trying and puzzling time for Jesus’ followers. They experienced Jesus’ ascension into heaven which certainly would have been a faith-strengthening event, but still they had to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit’s arrival.

Waiting in Jerusalem may have been something they wanted to avoid altogether. After all, the intense spectacle of the crucifixion was still fresh on everyone’s mind, and—not wanting to suffer a similar fate—blending into the countryside would have been nice.

Like the first disciples, we live in an in-between period, too—the time between our Lord’s initial coming to earth and the time when He will come again. In a sense, this is a difficult period for us well. But just as our Lord told His disciples what they were to do in the meantime, so He has instructed us on how we are to live in our interim existence.

We are to devote ourselves to prayer and the study of His Word (see Acts 6:4), and we are to be His witnesses in the world (see Acts 1:8). If we live now according to His will, then our lives will be meaningful to us and will be lived to His glory.

For us in the present age who live between our Lord’s first arrival and His future return, waiting for His second coming is not to be a time of passive inactivity. Rather, it is to be a time of doing His will and spreading the Good News of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, as we wait for the coming of Your kingdom, make us good stewards of time and the message of life You have entrusted to us. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

From The Lutheran Layman, May 1980 issue, “Life in the ‘Interim’ Times” by Ron Schlegel.

Reflection Questions:

1. Have you gone through significant periods of waiting in your life? What were you waiting for? How did that turn out?

2. What kind of thoughts do you think would be running through your mind to see Jesus alive after the horrible way He died? Relief? Skepticism? Thankfulness? Anything else?

3. As believers, how can we weather the demanding interim periods we face in life?

Today’s Bible Readings: Psalms 7-8    John 7:28-53


“El presente interino”

Estimado Teófilo, en mi primer tratado hablé acerca de todo lo que Jesús comenzó a hacer y a enseñar, hasta el día en que fue recibido en el cielo, después de que por medio del Espíritu Santo, les dio mandamientos a los apóstoles que había escogido. Después de su muerte se les presentó vivo y, con muchas pruebas que no admiten duda, se les apareció durante cuarenta días y les habló acerca del reino de Dios. Mientras estaban juntos, les mandó que no se fueran de Jerusalén, sino que les dijo: ‘Esperen la promesa del Padre, la cual ustedes oyeron de mí.’ Hechos 1:1-4

Algunos de los momentos más difíciles de la vida son los momentos “interinos”. Las personas que son nombradas para puestos de gestión temporal descubren que es muy difícil funcionar en esa capacidad. Para la mayoría de nosotros, los tiempos interinos o provisorios que vivimos mientras esperamos que las cosas vuelvan a la normalidad, pueden ser difíciles de superar.

Los discípulos de Jesús se enfrentaron a uno de estos períodos entre el momento en que Jesús resucitó de los muertos y cuando el Espíritu Santo vino a ellos 50 días después, en Pentecostés. Este fue probablemente un momento difícil y desconcertante para ellos. Habían experimentado la ascensión de Jesús al cielo, lo que ciertamente habría sido un evento para fortalecer la fe, pero aun así tuvieron que esperar en Jerusalén la llegada del Espíritu Santo.

Y esperar en Jerusalén debe haber sido algo que hubieran querido evitar por completo. Después de todo, el intenso espectáculo de la crucifixión todavía estaba fresco en la mente de todos y, para evitar sufrir un destino similar, hubieran preferido alejarse de allí.

Al igual que los discípulos, nosotros también vivimos en un período interino o provisorio: el tiempo entre la venida de nuestro Señor a la tierra y el tiempo en que vendrá nuevamente. En cierto sentido, este es un período difícil para nosotros también. Pero así como nuestro Señor les dijo a sus discípulos lo que debían hacer mientras tanto, también nos ha enseñado cómo debemos vivir en nuestra existencia interina: debemos dedicarnos a la oración y al estudio de su Palabra (ver Hechos 6:4), y ser sus testigos en el mundo (ver Hechos 1:8). Si vivimos según su voluntad, nuestras vidas serán significativas para nosotros y para su gloria.

El esperar su segunda venida no es un tiempo de inactividad pasiva. Más bien, es un tiempo de hacer su voluntad y difundir las Buenas Nuevas de Jesús como Señor y Salvador.

ORACIÓN: Padre Celestial, mientras esperamos la venida de tu reino, haznos buenos administradores del tiempo y del mensaje de vida que nos has confiado. En el nombre de Jesús oramos. Amén.

The Lutheran Hour, Ron Schlegel

Para reflexionar:

  1. ¿Qué tipo de pensamientos crees que pasarían por tu mente al ver a Jesús vivo después de la horrible forma en que murió? ¿Alivio? ¿Escepticismo? ¿Gratitud? ¿Algo más?
  2. ¿Cómo te ayuda tu fe a resistir los períodos interinos que enfrentas en la vida?


“Unexpected Love”


John 17:1-4, 6-10 – When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, since You have given Him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. … I have manifested Your Name to the people whom You gave Me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your Word. Now they know that everything that You have given Me is from You. For I have given them the words that You gave Me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. All mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.”

It’s a strange thing to find out that someone has loved you for a long time—long before you ever realized it. I know it was this way when I finally realized my future husband was interested in me as more than an English tutor! I began to think back over our history together, looking for the clues I missed that showed that our lives were already beginning to be bound together.

Something like that is going on in our reading for today as well. It’s the night before Jesus’ death, and Jesus is settling everything He can before that happens. And He takes an entire chapter of the Bible to talk with His Father about us—the people who trust in Him, both then and now. We are His treasure, and He is asking the Father to guard us.

But the odd thing is, Jesus calls us “the people whom You gave Me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your Word.” If Jesus’ words are true—and they have to be true, this is Jesus speaking!—then that means that, long before we ever knew Jesus’ Name, we were already in God’s hands. We were part of the gift He was giving to His Son, before we ourselves ever had a clue. We had a history with Him that goes back “before the foundation of the world” (see Ephesians 1:4).

This is how long God has loved you—from the beginning, and before the beginning. This is how long He planned to make you His child, through the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. You have been on God’s mind and on His heart for so long. You are treasured.

THE PRAYER: Lord, how can we love or thank You enough? Live in us and through us. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.

Reflection Questions:

1. Have you ever been surprised to learn that someone else was thinking of you, or even loving you, when you didn’t know it?

2. How does it make you feel to know that God has loved you this long?

3. How do you want to respond to that love? Can you think of a specific example?

Today’s Bible Readings: Psalms 4-6    John 7:1-27


“Un amor inesperado”

  •  21 de mayo de 2020

Jesús habló de estas cosas, y levantando los ojos al cielo, dijo: «Padre, la hora ha llegado; glorifica a tu Hijo, para que también tu Hijo te glorifique a ti; como le has dado potestad sobre toda la humanidad, para que dé vida eterna a todos los que le diste. Y ésta es la vida eterna: que te conozcan a ti, el único Dios verdadero, y a Jesucristo, a quien has enviado. Yo te he glorificado en la tierra; he acabado la obra que me diste que hiciera … He manifestado tu nombre a aquellos que del mundo me diste; tuyos eran, y tú me los diste, y han obedecido tu palabra. Ahora han comprendido que todas las cosas que me has dado proceden de ti. Yo les he dado las palabras que me diste, y ellos las recibieron; y han comprendido en verdad que salí de ti, y han creído que tú me enviaste. Yo ruego por ellos. No ruego por el mundo, sino por los que me diste, porque son tuyos. Y todo lo mío es tuyo, y lo tuyo es mío; y he sido glorificado en ellos. Juan 17:1-4, 6-10

Es extraño descubrir que alguien te ha amado durante mucho tiempo, mucho antes de que te hayas dado cuenta. ¡Sé que fue así cuando finalmente me di cuenta de que mi futuro esposo estaba interesado en mí como algo más que su tutora de inglés! Comencé a pensar en nuestra historia juntos, buscando las pistas que mostraban que nuestras vidas ya estaban empezando a estar unidas.

Algo así está sucediendo también en nuestra lectura de hoy. Es la noche antes de la muerte de Jesús. Jesús está resolviendo todo lo que puede antes de que eso suceda, y toma un capítulo entero de la Biblia para hablar con su Padre sobre nosotros, quienes confiamos en él tanto en ese momento como ahora. Somos su tesoro y le está pidiendo al Padre que nos proteja.

Pero lo extraño es que Jesús nos llama “aquellos que del mundo me diste; tuyos eran, y tú me los diste, y han obedecido tu palabra”. Si las palabras de Jesús son verdaderas (y ciertamente lo son, es Jesús quien las dice), entonces eso significa que, mucho antes de que supiéramos el nombre de Jesús, ya estábamos en las manos de Dios. Fuimos parte del regalo que le estaba dando a su Hijo antes de que nosotros tuviéramos una pista. Teníamos una historia con Él que se remonta a “antes de la fundación del mundo” (ver Efesios 1:4).

Ese es todo el tiempo que Dios te ha amado: desde el principio y antes del principio. Ese es el tiempo que planeó hacerte Su hijo a través de la vida, el sufrimiento, la muerte y la resurrección de Jesús. Has estado en la mente y el corazón de Dios desde siempre y para siempre. Eres su tesoro.

ORACIÓN: Señor, ¿cómo podemos amarte o agradecerte lo suficiente? Vive en nosotros y a través de nosotros. Amén.

Dra. Kari Vo

Para reflexionar:

  1. ¿Alguna vez te sorprendió saber que alguien pensaba en ti, o incluso que te amaba?
  2. ¿Cómo quieres responder al amor de Dios? ¿Puedes pensar en un ejemplo específico?


“Taking Jesus to Heart”


Acts 1:12-14 – Then they (the disciples) returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

What a time this must have been! The shock of Jesus’ resurrection had occurred only a few weeks earlier. (No doubt the disciples were still reeling from that!) Since then Jesus had spent time with His disciples, conversing with them, relaying priceless details on the kingdom of God and why all the things that had taken place were necessary. He also “presented Himself alive … by many proofs” and told them to wait in Jerusalem for the coming “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” (see Acts 1:3-5).

After Jesus’ ascension the disciples “were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.” With His departure, their beloved Rabbi, Teacher, and Friend was gone. While recent events showed God at work in a marvelous way, this still had to be a bittersweet time for the disciples. They so wanted to believe all Jesus had said and done. How they must have pressed their memories for details from His intimate talks with them, to hear again the truths He spoke about God’s forgiveness and their need to love one another. But those conversations were gone.

With Jesus’ departure, things were uncertain.

If you were there among Jesus’ followers after His ascension, what do you think you would have done? What would have gotten you through that difficult period? Would Jesus’ post-resurrection proofs have been enough to weather the storms that would follow? Would you cling to the Person whose words you had come to trust, whose life was now the model for yours, who gave Himself for your sins?

Or would the sneers and insults from an “I’m-not-buying-it” public chip away at your faith? Would the cold shoulders and little side comments (first from those you didn’t know and then from those you did) start to grind you down until you, too, were scaling back your conversations about Jesus—even to your family and friends?

The disciples must have wondered: how do we keep the faith now that Jesus is gone? And what is this “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” all about?

Jesus had told them already at their last supper together. (He said) “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).

It was a time for waiting patiently to see what God would do. It was a time for prayer. They would not be disappointed.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit to stand firm in the faith when things appear uncertain and out of our control. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.

Reflection Questions:

1. When times are difficult and trying, does your prayer life change in any way?

2. What do think praying “with one accord” means? Would that have any special implication for Jesus’ followers after His ascension?

3. Do you seek God’s help when your faith is criticized or put down by others?

Today’s Bible Readings: 2 Samuel 21-22    Psalms 18    John 6:22-40