Weekly Devotion

LEA Weekly Devotion

Week of July 6, 2020

If God Could Love Nineveh...

Jonah 3:1-2

July 4, 2020. The only things not missing were mattress sales and illegal fireworks.  Read on...

Gone Fishing series

LEA Gone Fishing series


Still fishing remains a popular strategy....  Read on...

Guest Devotions

New Normal?

Within the confines of the Covid-19 outbreak and accommodations the term “new normal” has been tossed around a lot. But, I ask you, is there ever truly a normal?

Let me share with you the last 18 months at Dallas Lutheran School, where I am blessed to serve. In October of 2018 I was in a courtroom for 12 days representing the school in a lawsuit, that a family brought against us because of the actions of a teacher three years prior to that. Over the summer of 2019 our Board got a new chairperson and some new members. On October 20th of 2019 (exactly a year after being in the courtroom) a tornado rendered our main classroom building unusable, which led to two weeks of online learning followed by several months of courses in makeshift classrooms around our gyms and main hall. On March 9 we moved into 14 portables followed by, you guessed it, cancelling on-campus classes because of Covid-19. Normal? Not sure what that is anymore.

I’m sure you could come up with your own list of occurrences (besides Covid-19) that have disrupted what you thought was normal at your school. It may have been personal issues and tragedies within the community that affected families of students, faculty, and staff. It may have been financial, academic, or physical plant issues. Whatever it was, I’m sure your normal was affected.

And, what about your personal life and that of those dear to you? Physical, emotional, financial, and relationship issues abound; even in the best of times. Normal is elusive.

However, what I know without a doubt is that the “normal” of God’s love and peace has never changed. He has been present with all of us throughout our journey through this and every school year. He is the constant, he is the normal we must depend on.

He was there with Joseph as he dealt with the “new normal” of being shipped off to Egypt. He was there with the Israelites as they dealt with plagues around them (no Covid-19, but still…). He was the constant with those same Israelites as they travelled to the Promised Land. He was still there when the Israelites were shipped off to Babylon. He was about the only “normal” thing left in Job’s life. He was still there with the disciples even after Christ ascended into heaven. Soon after that He sent the Holy Spirit to keep things “normal” as the church grew throughout one challenge after another.

What’s normal about any of those situations? Nothing on the surface, but underneath there is the normal that you and I can depend on. The grace, love, and mercy that God shows us every day. It is that “normal” in our lives that produces the hope for the future. (“And hope does not disappoint” Romans 5:5 RSV).

So I encourage each of you, as the world and those closest to you struggle with this “new normal,” is that you point them to the unchangeable One. It is He who makes every day normal through His unending love and mercy!

Blessings as you finish the year strong and “normal.”

©David Bangert 3-2020

This Too Shall Pass

By Richard Cohrs

Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. Isaiah 26:20

Isaiah knew that we would face times when danger would come upon us. He cautions us to enter into our chambers and shelter in place for a little while, until the fury has passed.

Educators understand this as they practice tornado and shelter-in-place drills, preparing the students to close themselves in and hide until the danger passes. No teacher wants to experience firsthand a tornado or an active shooter, but everyone takes comfort in knowing the proper precautions are in place to ensure maximum safety.

God’s people know how Isaiah’s words have been practiced throughout history: Noah hid with his family in the ark, the children of Israel shut themselves inside during Passover, and Rahab took refuge in her home when Jericho was conquered. Sheltering is sometimes the best way to preserve the family.

When the tornado siren wails, we rush to shelter. When the flood waters threaten, we run to high ground. When fires advance, we seek safety. We know how to hide ourselves from danger.

Most recently the COVID-19 pandemic afforded the country a time to enter into our chambers and hide ourselves until the fury passed. However, this time there were no practice drills, no direction on how long, or even if we would be safe from danger. It was a time of fear and stress.

In a very short period of time the country was faced with inventing a new normal that would protect the most vulnerable, while maintaining as much of a stable routine as possible.

No longer would congregations be allowed to gather together for worship. No longer would schools be filled with students and teachers. No longer would office building bustle with the business of the day. The world was faced with a changing form for business as usual.

Literally overnight educators were faced with the task of establishing a process for continuous education, as pupils were ordered to remain home. In addition to providing for the children, educators had to devise methods to help stressed parents who were struggling with working from home and monitoring their child’s education. For some parents, the task was compounded as they were forced to continue to venture outside the home to perform the essential services needed to maintain life and health.

Teachers did what teachers do, use the available resources to adapt and prevail. Many thanked God for the incredible gift of high-speed internet and the virtual connections it made possible. Educators moved from face-to-face to Zoom, letting students see their teachers and be reassured by them. Churches used LiveStream, YouTube, and dozens of other platforms to continue to provide the words of hope and comfort needed by the people.

The form changed, but the substance stayed the same: God is our ever-present refuge from the storms that threaten to tear us away from this life and to destroy our faith.

The world has always been and will always be a dark and scary place, filled with illness, disasters, setbacks, hatred, mistrust, and death.

But the darkness did not win on Golgotha, nor will the darkness win now. For we bask in the light of the open tomb, the light of the world, Jesus, who brings us hope and eternal life.

As we continue our life journey, we will face many tomes of trials and tribulations. Some will be shared by society, like the COVID-19 pandemic, most will be private struggles.

We can take comfort in knowing that when we can’t take all the necessary human precautions, God will give us His protection.

There will come a time when our life on this earth is ended, then we will be released from our hiding place into the eternal glory of everlasting life, a time with no storms, no illness, no fury, no death.

We praise and thank God.

REFLECTION: What fury will you need to hide from today?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are our refuge and strength. We thank You for the gift of Jesus, our Savior from sin and death. Be with us as we face trials and tribulations, strengthen us to always proclaim You, to always trust in You, to always shelter in You, In the name of Jesus, Amen.

©2020 Richard Cohrs
Retired Lutheran educator