Erase Contact

March 12, 2023 by  
Filed under Faith

By Peter Lundell –


I got a message that a long-ago church member had died a month previously. After a protracted battle with cancer, he finally gave out. I hadn’t seen him for six years, and I had talked with him perhaps three years earlier. His name and phone number were still on my cell phone contact list, just as I had once called it.

It seemed so strange to have a contact number and an email address for someone who was no longer on earth.

If I called his number, who would answer? So I called: Three screechy tones, then, “We’re sorry. You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please check the area code and the number and try your call again.” Beep, beep, beep, beep . . .

I wondered what it would be like if the phone company had a message like, “We’re sorry. The person at this number has left the rat race on earth and entered eternity. We hope you can make contact when you go there too.” I doubt I’ll ever hear that.

Anyone with a cell phone has added and deleted names and numbers from the contact list. But when I went to do it this time, I stopped and could only stare at the name. Erasing his name seemed like something only God should do.

When I finally erased it, I did so with reverence—and sadness that a life had slipped away in obscurity. Others who had known him well hadn’t heard about his death either.

But God knew him—and I’m sure welcomed him as he checked into heaven. No matter how obscure we are, whether in life or in death, the important thing is being known by God.

“Father, You know my name. You know who I am. I’m not very well known on earth, but I don’t need to be. You know me. I am Yours and You are mine. And I am in the palm of Your hand….”

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains” (Psalm 116:15-16 NIV).



A Wise Young Man

February 11, 2023 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Peter Lundell –    

The world we live in is good at caring for the disabled, and they get lots of government benefits. But rarely do I see anyone learning from them.

I was invited for supper, where I met a young man named Justin. He has Downs Syndrome. Such people used to be called mentally retarded. Now they’re referred to as developmentally disabled. But no one ever calls them character advanced.

Justin was positive and enthusiastic about everything he did and said. When I smiled at him, he beamed. And he’d give a thumbs up. He took it upon himself to clear two large tables covered with serving trays, dishes, cups, and utensils. It took a long time, and while the family members chatted, he carried every last thing with joy, never once asking anyone to help. When I passed him a plate, he thanked me as if I had done him a great favor. When I thanked him, he thanked me back more. When I simply picked up my wife’s purse, he wanted to help. That’s enough, Justin. Thank you.

It didn’t seem to occur to Justin that a person should act any other way. His family says he’s always cheerful and helpful. He never stops.

And I thought of how many “smart” people don’t come close to Justin’s character. I wondered how many could even hope to approach it. I want to be one.

Justin helped me to see more clearly than ever: While the world may consider him the least of these, Jesus would consider him among the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Justin loves Jesus very much. And I have no doubt of how much Jesus loves him.

Thank you, Justin, for helping me see, helping me love, and helping me serve.

What a wise young man you are.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV).

Father, open my eyes to see as you see, to know the heart as you do, and to grow in character as Christ enables me.

A Day on the Freeway

February 10, 2023 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Peter Lundell –   

February 19, 2014. 2:30 p.m.
57 Freeway northbound, right lane. 65 mph.
Siren behind me but nothing in the rear-view mirror.

Out of nowhere—a white four-door sedan careens across four lanes right at me. About to collide, I slam the brakes. The madman clears my front bumper by inches. He barrels up Pathfinder exit and looks back.

Flashing lights in the mirror. The siren. A highway patrol car veers across the lanes right behind me, misses the exit and tears up the embankment beside the exit, bounces over the curbs, and keeps charging after the lawbreaker—who apparently thought no pursuing cop would dare make such a move.

I’m now passing under the bridge. My hands are shaking. What just happened? And what didn’t happen is more terrifying. I could have been killed or grievously maimed for life if that sucker had hit me. If I had flipped. If I had been crushed by cars behind me. If I had not been paying attention as I drove. All in an instant.

The cars on the merging freeway drive along in their normal day. And we all live the same way, as if nothing will happen to us. Until it does. Or almost does. And it certainly does happen to someone every day. Like the four kids in our church who died on a nearby freeway when things didn’t go so well.

How our lives hang in a precarious balance. How the veil between earth and eternity can be so porous. How we must always be ready. We’re wise to put ourselves in God’s hands.

If you can grasp this as it relates to your own life, I’m sure you will appreciate the precious gift of life in the face of eternity. Live every day God gives you as a gift back to Him.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. . . For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:1–2, 11 NIV).

“Lord God, my Protector and Shield, I know my days are numbered, yet as I live each day I do so by Your grace and protection. My life is in Your hands.”

Old Shoes, New Shoes

December 28, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Peter Lundell –

My old running shoes needed help. The laces had broken several times, and the knots tying them together kept getting caught in the eyelets. I found some laces at a dollar store, came home, and put them in. Hmmm… Half the length they needed to be. But they’d do.

Not optimal, not what I could have, but a stopgap for what could be worse. I only use the shoes for walking in the park or when I dress grubby.

I have a good pair of running shoes I use when I jog. But these old shoes with new mismatched laces were my partial effort at shoe renewal.

Then it struck me: people do the same things with their lives that I did with my shoes.

The Bible says, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). And we are to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2 NIV). So we have this offer and expectation of newness and transforming renewal.

In terms of shoes, that means whole new, or renewed, shoes. But I see so many people who hold on to their old shoes and put on new laces; sometimes mismatched.

They keep old problematic attitudes and behaviors, old self-oriented identities and interests, and they go to church. It’s like putting on a new pair of mismatched laces to convince themselves and others that they’re doing the Jesus thing now. The truth is that a renewed life would cost them more than a few modifications.

Then I thought of how many times I myself have been that way.

I don’t mean to be unkind. I just want to encourage all of us to pay the price of letting go of our old lives to genuinely receive the new. It is so worth it.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22–24 NIV).

“Lord, forgive me for the times when I played around with modifications on my life rather than giving myself over to a whole new life in Christ. Lead me each day so that I would live the life of being transformed by the renewing of my mind. . . .”

A Lesson from Mandela

December 27, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Peter Lundell –

Presidents, prime ministers and royalty from around the world came to pay tribute at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, held in a soccer stadium.

People carried banners that bore a close-up of his face. On the left, his birth year (1918). On the right, instead of the date of his death was the word “eternity.” In people’s minds he didn’t entirely die in 2013. He passed into eternity.

I’m not talking about theology of salvation here. I’m talking about how a person can live such a life on this earth as to be regarded to not die as much as to pass into eternity and still live on as a beacon of inspiration.

The irony is that the man spent twenty-seven years in prison. During the prime of his life. Breaking limestone boulders into gravel. By hand.

Many of us go around with full schedules trying to do everything we can to make the most of life. Busy. We’re so busy.

And this world-renowned inspirational leader was off on a prison island doing hard labor.

He was there because he was the primary leader of resistance to Apartheid. Yes, he was busy fighting the government before he went to prison, but his impact had little to do with how much

he got done each day or week or month or year. His value lay in who he was. And what he did about it, by suffering in prison for so long and by forgiving his captors and forging peace after he was released.

What would happen if each of us focused our lives twice as much on something valuable and reduced our busyness by half as much?

I’m thinking about my life. What would happen in yours? Of course the world around you would resist such a change. But if you did so, what would happen?

Prayer: Lord, You have given me one life. Work in me to focus it well, to do what I was most created to do—and not get sidetracked or seduced by busy stuff.

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4 NIV).

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