Each Easter season the devotional team of Zion Lutheran produces a daily devotional booklet. This booklet contains devotions centered around a specific theme. The devotions are written by the members of Zion and include submissions from Zion's day school as well as congregation members ranging from youth to senior citizens.
Rich was asked to submit devotions for this booklet.
EVERY VALLEY RAISED UP - EVERY MOUNTAIN MADE LOW
Thursday. May 1,2014
A voice of one calling "In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord
make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall
be rased up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground
shall become level the rugged places a plain. And the gloy of the
LORD will be revealed. and all peop/e will see it together." Isaah 40.3-5.
I crested the hill outside of Palmer, Alaska, and caught a glimpse of the
Matanuska Glacier as it gleamed in the sunlight, but it didn't inspire.
Just west of Glennallen I saw Mt. Drum, Mt. Sanford and Mt. Wrangell. The
snow topped peaks were brilliant against the azure blue sky, but it didn't
This journey to Alaska began the previous year when I stood next to the grave
of my first wife of 35 years. I set out on a quest to find peace. That night I saw
my life laid out as a series of valleys and mountains, much like I witnessed on
my drive. I relived each valley of despair, desperation, and despondency and
called out in torment. I recalled every insurmountable mountain that I built -
mountains that separated me from God and my loved ones and I cringed in
Peace finally descended on my heart as I replayed each valley and could
recount how Christ was by my side. Peace grew as I recognized the lessons of
humility learned from mountains toppled by hands greater than mine.
ln the morning as sun rose, my heart was warmed by the words of the Son;
words of comfort and hope, words of love and forgiveness, words of
acceptance "l will never leave you nor forsake you." The rest of the journey
was filled experiencing God's love and forgiveness with each mountain and
valley declaring His majesty.
I longed to return and share how God raises the valleys and topples the
THE PRAYER: Lord, Thank You for the gift of Jesus, the One who lifts the valleys
and topples the mountains. Use me, Lord, to share that Good News to those
you send to me. ln Jesus name, Amen.
Written by Richard Cohrs - Husband, then widow and now husband to an
awesome godly woman, Carol. Father, Step-father, Grandfather, Great-
Grandfather, Manager of District and Congregational Relations, Lutheran Hour
Ministries, former Lutheran principal/teacher and a redeemed child of God.
I AM NOT ASHAMED
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for
salvation to everyone who believes - Romans I: 16
On Palm Sunday, 1962 I knelt in front of the altar to make my Confirmation vow to
"Suffer all, even death, rather than turn away from this Christian faith." Pastor
Lehman then gave me my LIFE verse - Romans 1:15.
Over the years I have been tempted to renounce my vow as I faced ridicule from
peers, chronic and serious illness, the deaths of loved ones, disappointments and
sorrows. Temptations linked together to strangle my soul in hopelessness. When I
recalled my LIFE verse the chains of hopelessness were broken and replaced by the hope of salvation.
At no time in my life was I tempted greater than when I fell in Erfurt, Germany,
and shattered my shoulder. The language barrier made it impossible to accurately
communicate the excruciating pain I was experiencing.
As I lay in the dark alone, my medicated mind drifted into a vision. I saw Satan in
hell, beckoning me to join him. Thousands of tormented souls urged me to give up
and give in - to abandon hope and join them. The promise of leaving this painfilled
world behind was very tempting.
Just as I was ready to succumb, I saw a small light being carried to me. The light
grew brighter and brighter until it filled the room. The Gospel light was placed in
my hand, destroying hell, easing the pain, and bringing peace. I feel asleep
clutching the hope of salvation.
"l am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation." The
comfort of eternal life is for everyone.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for the gift of the Gospel. We pray that all would know the comfort of this hope. We ask to be the voice that brings this hope to others. ln Jesus' name. Amen
The author of this devotion is Rich Cohrs - a redeemed child of God.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
The LORD ls my shepherd. . Psalm 23
I am a sheep: a wandering, foolish, dependent, defenseless animal that needs
constant attention, provision, and protection.
Yes, I am a sheep, and I need a Shepherd.
There was the time after my first pay check that I decided that movies and meals
out were proper celebrations, only to face the reality of no money or food with a
week until payday. My grand idea proved folly. As we sat down for our "last" meal,
the doorbell rang. A neighbor offered two bags of food. The Shepherd feeds me.
The wipers couldn't keep up with the onslaught of slush from passing drivers. The
washer fluid provided brief glimpses of road-until it ran dry. I knew the exit was
fast approaching, but the streaked windshield made it impossible to see. I prayed.
A large truck splashed slush; the wipers cleared the view just in time to see the exit
sign. The Shepherd leads me.
The night wore on as I lay in the hospital bed recovering from yet another surgery.
The pain drove me to cry out in despair. The nurse informed me that it wasn't time
for meds. As she left, the darkness descended around my body and seeped into
my soul. I closed my eyes and prayed for death to relieve the pain. The next thing I
knew it was morning. I had fallen asleep. The Shepherd comforts me.
As I kneel at the altar for the Lord's Supper, I know that no matter how much I
wander from God, nothing can take away the goodness and mercy that follows me
all my days on this earth. When my days are finished, I will dwell in the house of
the LORD forever.
The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
THE PRAYER: LORD, thank You for all You provide for body and soul. Please use me to share the Good News of Your Story with other sheep who need Your provision, protection and promise. AMEN.
THE AUTHOR: Rich Cohrs - a foolish sheep redeemed by The Good Shepherd.
HEAVEN IS MY HOME. THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
For whatever was written ln former days was wriffen for our instructlon that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
When I was in grade school I was told that Aruba was a great place for a vacation and ever since then I longed to go. My hope was that someday I would see Aruba.
Decades later the "someday" arrived and I made preparations for the journey by reading about what Aruba is like, what to expect when I am there, and especially what is required to enter this island paradise.
When I was in grade school I was told that Heaven is even better than Aruba. My hope is someday l will see Heaven.
Over the years, I have been making preparations for my journey by reading about what Heaven is like, what to expect when I am there, and especially what is required to enter this Eternal Paradise.
Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther reminded us that the Scriptures are God's words of instruction. ln the pages of the Bible we learn that Heaven is indeed a perfect place with no sin, pain, or suffering. Scripture instructs us that we will be face to face with the Lamb of God who loves us.
The best news of all is that there is nothing I need to enter Heaven. To enter into Aruba I needed a valid Passport, Embarkation and Disembarkation card, proof of adequate finances, and a return ticket.
God's Word reminds us that Heaven is the free gift of God's grace (undeserved mercy) for Jesus Christ's sake alone.
When I visited Aruba, I discovered everything I had read about the island paradise was indeed correct - great weather, food, activities, a virtual paradise. However, it is only a foretaste of the perfect Paradise awaiting us in Heaven.
I am certain of this because the Bible tells me so.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You for
sending Martin Luther to remind us that the Bible is Your word of hope and
that Heaven is our home through Grace, by Faith in Christ lesus. Amen.
THE AUTHOR: Richard Cohrs, a fellow traveler on the road of life.
WORDS OF "GOODBYE" AND "WELCOME"
Tuesday, April 24
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he
ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John
also taught his disciples. Luke 11:1
After a long struggle with cancer, my wife, Bunny, lay in her hospital bed waiting for her heavenly Father's call home. Family and friends stood with her as I had to leave the room for a moment.
"Dad, come quick!" my daughter summoned me back. I entered and sat next to Bunny, taking her hand in mine. She felt my hand, gasped, and went home. As her hand began to lose its warmth I knew I had to say goodbye.
The room was quiet as I spoke aloud, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come..." I faltered and stopped.
The nurse standing behind me placed her hands on my shoulders and spoke, "Thy will be done." The entire room joined in as we finished the prayer. The words of hope, comfort, trust, and love that Jesus taught us to pray echoed throughout the room and down the hallways.
My words of "goodbye" to Bunny are God's words of "welcome" to His children. For Jesus teaches us that as children we can approach our Heavenly Father, knowing that whatever the world throws at us, His will is done. He will give us what we need for each day. By His grace we are forgiven and we forgive our brothers and sisters. He offers us hope in the midst of temptation.
But most of all, His Kingdom will come and He will gather us home into heaven. Evil and all of its by-products will cease. Sickness, doubt, hate, pain,suffering, anger, envy, pride, and even death will cease to exist as we are gathered to Him in heaven.
Today I hold the hand of my wife, Carol, and speak those same words that Christ taught His disciples. I praise and thank God for His words of welcome.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, we believe that Your will is to keep us strong in the Word untilwe are called to You. We confess that sometimes we are weak and want our will, not Yours. We ask that You would strengthen us both in Your Word and with the witness of faithfulfollowers. ln the name of Jesus. Amen.
THE AUTHOR: Richard Cohrs, An Elder of Zion, and a child of God.
HE BRINGS ME BACK
Tuesday, May 7
A shepherd must constantly watch over his flock, for sheep tend to wander and get lost.
When a sheep knows that it is lost, it tries to hide under a bush and begins quivering and bleating. The shepherd must find the lost sheep quickly, lest it be heard and attacked by a predator. When found, the sheep is so weak that the shepherd must carry it back to the flock and set it on the right path, restoring it to life.
Three times in my life I needed a shepherd as I was a lost, quivering, bleating sheep.
The first was when I was a teenager, overwhelmed by life's choices. I started on a path dictated by peers and headed to destruction. The LORD was my Shepherd in the form of pastor Swanson who sought me out, picked me up, and put me back on the path to life. He restored me.
The second was when I fell into a pit of despair after my wife died. I sat in the dark, weeping and contemplating a path leading away from God.The LORD was my Shepherd in the form of a Stephen Minister who sought me out, walked beslde me, turned me from darkness to light, and put me back on the path to life. He restored me.
The third was when I was in a hospital bed facing cancer surgery. The darkness of the room surrounded my heart. Giving in to the dread, I was lost on a path away from God. The LORD was my Shepherd in the form of Carol who came into my room, held my hand, & spoke words of hope & promise that put me back on the path to life. She restored me.
The LORD is our Shepherd. When we are lost, He seeks us out, showing up in the form of people who are His hands that carry us back to the path, who speak His words of hope and comfort that restores us.
Daily I am tempted to wander away from the path, to get lost in sin. The LORD is my shepherd who brings me back to the path. He restores my life.
THE PRAYER: Thank you, Good Shepherd, for watching over us, for showing up & bringing us back to the path of life. Grant that we may be your feet, hands, & voice that restores a lost sheep to the path of life. ln Jesus Name, Amen.
THE AUTHOR: Richard Cohrs: husband to Carol, a lost sheep thankful for
the Good Shepherd.
The Lord Fights for You
WEDNESDAY, April 15
You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.
For forty years Moses commanded the nation of Israel in their journey to the Promised Land of Canaan. Now it was time for Moses to gather the people together and give them his final instructions before God called him home. Moses knows that Joshua would now have to lead the people across the river to take the land.
One can only imagine how Joshua felt, recognizing that he would soon be the leader of an outnumbered army facing battle hardened troops. Moses speaks into his fear, reminding him of past victories, comforting him with the words, “it is the Lord your God who fights for you.”
I can relate to Joshua. The pain in my hip kept returning, growing in intensity, despite trips to the doctor and medication. The x-rays indicated there could be a serious problem, an MRI was ordered.
The phone call came days before the scheduled doctor visit, “The results are in, stay off your feet – immediately. We will talk more when you come in.”
I faced an unknown enemy that threatened my future, perhaps my life. Enemies multiplied – doubt, despair, depression and fear. That night fear griped my thoughts and dreams – fear of disability, fear of becoming a burden on my family, fear of death. Fear drove me to recall all the other times in my life that I faced a life altering diagnosis.
Fear gave way to confidence as I remembered the outcomes – for God was with me, fighting for me in the form of doctors and nurses. God sent visitors and prayer warriors to stand with me – offering comfort and encouragement. God gave me strength through Holy Communion. God gave victory.
Everyday Satan assails believers with his attacks. He appears to be bigger than our faith, he whispers words of doubt when we suffer, he shouts words of defiance when we prosper. He and his warriors are battle hardened and battle tested.
Moses reminds Joshua, Moses reminds us, “You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.”
PRAYER:: Lord God, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, we come before You confessing that we believe, help us in our unbelief. The trials of the world often seem to overwhelm, help us to see You. Send us Your servants to stand with and fight for us. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
AUTHOR: Richard Cohrs: husband to Carol, Elder of Zion, Commissioned Minister, child of God
Friday, April 9
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. Psalm 130: 5-7
King David begins Psalm 130 with the words, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!” He is calling to God from a place of utter and complete despair. In this state, the only course of action is to call out to the LORD. Once he pleads to God, he relaxes and waits, confident that God will provide hope born from love. King David saw waiting as the opposite of despair.
Despair came unexpectedly for me: my wife passing out; the car engine stranding us on the side of the highway; the doctor telling me I needed a hip replacement; and a virus bringing sickness and death to loved ones and the loneliness of quarantine to all.
Despair cast me into the depths of emotional darkness, a complete and utter sense of separation from the world and the good gifts of God. I wallowed in self-pity until a plan for action surfaced: an ambulance was called; a tow truck summoned; a surgery performed; and prayers for a vaccine begun.
The watchmen of King David’s time stood on the wall all night, ready to sound an alarm when they saw danger, especially from enemies using darkness to sneak up and attack. They waited eagerly for the morning. Their wait was rewarded as the night yielded the hope of morning.
In my time of despair, I waited anxiously for relief to come: minutes for the ambulance, hours for the tow truck, weeks for the hip to work, and months for the vaccine.
King David reminds me that there will be times I will fall into the depths of despair, especially when I recount my sins and inequities. It is in these times that I can look to His Word of promise found in the Holy Scriptures. For there I find Jesus, God’s Son, born of a woman. He suffered the punishment of my sin and rose from the dead to secure the hope of eternal life in heaven.
In my times of earthly despair, I wait minutes, hours, weeks, and months for the joy to come. This joy of waiting is but a foreshadowing of that which will be mine in heaven after years of waiting for the LORD to love me into eternal life.
Like the watchmen of old, like those that wait today, let us be filled with the joy of forgiven sins and the hope of standing in God’s love forever in heaven.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we wait for You, confident of Your words of hope and love. Comfort us with this confidence as we face times of despair. Strengthen us to share these words of hope and love with others who are in despair. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
AUTHOR: Richard Cohrs: husband, Elder, father, redeemed child of God, waiting for the LORD.