Laying a sure foundation for faith

Regular devotions can be a great foundation for our home-worship life. They can help nurture our faith and even that of our families, as they strengthen our relationship with Jesus, increase our trust in God and our openness to the call of his Spirit. We pray that you will receive blessings from the devotional materials here and in the Church@Home resources collection collated and shared on the special webpage at There are also other faith-building and practical resources available through this webpage. If you have internet access and a printer, why not print some and mail or deliver them to those who may otherwise miss out?


Proverbs 18:10    

The Lord is a mighty tower where his people can run for safety.


These reflections are from a collection of devotions written for our LCANZ family and friends to help us to keep our eyes on Jesus. They can be used by families, small groups and individuals as part of daily faith practice. You can find these and more on the LCA website at

The secret of the kingdom of God by Kathy Matuschka

He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you’ (Mark 4:11a).

Read Mark 4:1–12.

This is confusing. Jesus tells his disciples the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to them, whereas the outsiders are told truths via parables. But Jesus’ disciples don’t seem to understand either Jesus’ straight talk or his parables!

So why does Jesus say that the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to them?

Today, when we refer to ‘the secret’ in this way, we tend to refer to information (for example, a secret ingredient) or a technique (for example, the steps of a process).

No wonder we have trouble noticing the obvious – that Jesus is not referring to information or a process but himself: Jesus is the secret. Jesus has been given to the disciples and you and me also.

Do you know the secret of the kingdom of God?

I hope so.

Jesus offers this key, or secret, as he tells this parable of the sower. He invites us not to look at the soil conditions but at him. In the kingdom of God, it’s not about trying our best to be fertile soil. It’s not about judging and correcting others when they seem to be choked up by the cares of life. The secret is unearthed not through our productivity but in receiving Jesus. He is the secret of the kingdom of God in all the ways he is present: in Christian community, in the written word of God, in the sacraments, in suffering, in paradoxes, ambiguity and unpredictability. The secret is gradually revealed as we live an ordinary life with its ups and downs, with our good days and our bad, our times of plenty and scarcity, in the presence of Jesus, in the power of God’s Holy Spirit and to the praise of our Creator.

Dear Jesus, thank you for the many ways you reveal yourself and your heart to me. By your Holy Spirit, please continue to teach and inspire me to know you and share you in a world that so needs to know this secret. Amen.

Sleeping through a storm by Pastor Joshua Pfeiffer

But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ (Mark 4:38).

Read Mark 4:35–41.

In today’s reading, we find the disciples amid a chaotic, fear-inducing storm. The wind was blowing ferociously, and the waves were crashing into their boat.

If you’ve ever been caught in a serious storm, you know this is no joke – let alone when you’re out on a huge body of water.

There is something truly awesome when the forces of nature are unleashed in their fury, and we realise just how little control we have over our own circumstances.

But during the storm, there is another problem. It troubles the disciples, perhaps even more than the physical elements, namely, the apparent lack of care and concern from Jesus. He’s asleep!

Isn’t it true that problems we have in life are made even worse by the reality that those close to us don’t seem to treat them with the same seriousness? This is even more so the case when it comes to God.

In response, Jesus exercises his divine power by speaking peace and calmness to the storm, as well as calling for greater faith from his disciples. They recognise they are in the presence of no mere man, and the awe previously evoked by the storm is redirected to Jesus himself.

The final question of the text is the main point: ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

We know who he is. He is Christ Jesus, the Son of God, and our Saviour. He has come from the Father on a mission to restore peace to the chaos of this sinful world by dying, rising and sending his Spirit. Indeed, there is much in this world to fear with threats all around.

But let us never mistake the apparent inactivity of God for his indifference to our plight. On the contrary, no matter what we face, our Lord Jesus promises to be ‘in the boat’ with us, and he has all authority. Trust him.

Heavenly Father, my life sometimes feels like I’m in the midst of a storm. I fear, and I lack faith. Be near to me in your Son Jesus, and by the power of your Spirit, bring me comfort and strengthen my faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Hold our hands, Lord,
walk us through the loneliness
and the valley of our sorrows.
Hold onto us when we’re too afraid
to think about the future.
Let us lean on you, Lord,
when we’re too weary to continue.
Hold our hands through the night
until we see the light of dawn.

– Author unknown from LCA PRAYERS FOR A TIME OF CRISIS AND LOSS by Aub Podlich, at under the Pray@Home tab

Exodus 15:2        

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.

Who has authority? by Pastor Jim Strelan

He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits (Mark 6:7).

Read Mark 6:1–13.

How are you with authority? There are lots of people who have authority, and generally, we accept that. The government, the police, parents and those in schools have a hierarchy of authority going from the top and moving down to even the student body. Martin Luther taught that all those earthly authorities are extensions of God. Whether they recognise it or not, they work on behalf of God.

Jesus sends his disciples out, and he gives them authority. Their authority is not to do with their own abilities. It’s not to do with how much they have or how much they own – ‘take nothing for the journey except a staff’ (Mark 6:8). It doesn’t depend on their training or particular expertise. They go with the authority of Jesus, and in that authority, they drive out demons and heal the sick.

How are you with authority in your faith journey? Sometimes we can think that it’s only certain people who have this kind of authority. We can think that it’s only the pastor who has that authority, and we insist the pastor must be of a particular gender. But the authority is not the disciples’. Without the authority of Jesus, the disciples would have been timid and ineffective. It is the authority of Jesus, and it’s the highest authority there is. He gives it, and they go out in his name and do things they wouldn’t have thought conceivable.

We are to respect all authority that acts for the common good. The authority of Jesus is the highest of all, and he gives it to those who want to serve on his behalf – even you.

Jesus, I acknowledge that all authority is yours. Thank you for empowering all those who act in your name, even me. Amen. 

Remember me by Chelsea Pietsch

This is what the Lord, the God of your father David says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you (2 Kings 20:5).

Read 2 Kings 20:1–7.

Hezekiah is ill and has just received word from the Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, that he is going to die. ‘Put your house in order’, he is told.

What would you do if you were told that your death was imminent? What actions would you take? To whom would you turn?

Hezekiah’s first response is to pray. He turns his face towards the wall, perhaps to hide his quivering lip. His prayer is not necessarily a plea for longer life, though maybe that is implied. He asks God to ‘remember’ how he has strived to lead a faithful and holy life. And after he says this, he weeps. Bitterly.

Hezekiah’s tears are not necessarily tears of despair or even fear, as one might first assume. Perhaps they are just a way to mark the end of life and the gravity of death. Death is confronting. It separates us from the world we know and the people we love. It is also ultimately unknowable – a mystery to those of us on this side of life.

Irrespective of Hezekiah’s motives, it is clear that God feels moved by his prayer. If God has decided death for the good king, then he has now changed his mind.

This reading reminds us of the active and reciprocal nature of prayer. God hears us. Sometimes, as in the case of Hezekiah, prayer apparently prompts God to change course.

Hezekiah’s prayer ‘remember me’ also gives us words to say when we ourselves are at the point of death. Do you remember another instance in Jesus’ life when someone cried out to him, ‘remember me’, at the point of death?

Dear Jesus, now and at the hour of our death, grant us the faith and courage to pour out our emotions first and foremost to you. And remember us. Amen. 

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