Category Archives: Devotions

Until morale improves!

Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

There are three stages of the work of God: the impossible, the difficult, and the done. Miracles still happen. Just because we do not see people raised from the dead regularly does not mean God is not in the miracle business. The Lord receives glory from the miracles He does every day in our lives. We must continue to bring our cares and concerns to Him in prayer for the miraculous and not settle so quickly into doubt, anxiety, or fear. Miracles will continue until morale improves.

Just Larry

5,000 miracles

Thought for March 3– Miracle March

Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”


This prayer of Paul reminds me of the feeding of the 5,000 by Jesus. The people had listened intently to Jesus’ teaching. But the mind can comprehend only as long as the body can endure. The dinner stomach rumble had begun. The faithful leadership wanted to send them away. However, Jesus had something else in mind and He did it with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Many times, we look around at our meager resources and wonder how we are going to make it. Yet our Lord will meet all of our needs according to His miraculous abilities even using our puny provisions.  Look into your cupboards they are full.  Full of miracles waiting to happen.

# Just Larry

Miracle March

Mark 10:27 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man, this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”


Those who would call themselves Christian have clamored for miracles. Pleading for God to push His way in to repair something. By my will, I want to bend God’s schedule to do something that is beyond my might and measure. I pray for a miracle of relief from pain when we writhe in agony.  We pray and expect God to change the world but it does not improve and seems to be getting worse.  My prayers seem to bounce off some stone wall between God and me.  And yet, the miracle I seek might well have already been provided. I have endured one more day. The miracle I am praying for, which does not come as I had planned, does not mean that God has forgotten me or that He does not hear my heart’s cry. He does!

# Just Larry

Transformed by guarantee

2 Corinthians 5:1-5 “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”


As I rise from my slumber this morning wondering about the glory which God has for me, a smile comes to my face. God is more than good. Jesus, in his sacrifice, provides for me a promise. A promise of an eternal future.  A future greater than I can ever imagine. That I could be an object of perfect love astounds me. As Paul here writing to the church in Corinth states, “Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed in our heavenly dwelling,” I long for the day in which my groans will turn to heavenly leaps of joy.  And who is it to say it is not possible with God?


God, there is no dread of my life here on earth being over.  You gave it to me.  You clothed me in my present circumstances, and you will clothe me again.  I shout with joy unspeakable and full of Glory in the mercy you bestow.

Seek First…

Psalm 86:5 “You, LORD, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”


The best place to be is where you are at peace with God, with yourself, and with all those around you. So how do I find it? From where can I find help for my troubled soul? Where can I expect help to get to this peaceful place? If my expectations for help come from my culture, then I will certainly be disappointed. Can I find peace in the new normal as proclaimed by the government? I think not. Can I depend on my neighbor to be there at any time and at any place? Again, the possibilities are less than my need. Can I find this place of peace in my marriage? Can I find this place in the latest gadget? Maybe for a moment, but as the price of my continued, sustaining peace, each would come with disappointment.

I find my peace, true peace in my creator, my God, and my king. Peace is attained because He is forgiving, He is good, and He is abounding in love. So now, I call on Him for peace. Will you join me?

# Just Larry

Flag or healing?

Proverbs 17:9 “He loveth transgression that loveth strife: He that raises high his gate seeks destruction”


If you have been in any group of people there will flag thrown, as if there has been some infraction of an written social norm.  They want to throw out the victim flag like a referee at a ball game.  I am a victim, “throw the flag.”  Somebody used a word that made them uncomfortable, “throw the flag.”  I have it worse than you, “throw the flag.” I also have my own flag ready to throw it any time I need a warm fuzzy “Aaaw”.  With a glee to get sympathy, the red flag flies upward and outward. It was a flag I could throw with distinction.

But more likely the walking wounded would like to be left alone with their pain.  I have been there. I have been so filled with feelings of hurt that I did not want to be around anyone. My hurt becomes almost pleasurable because it was caused by someone else. I justify myself into believing that this enduring internal pain was good for me. It was the old, “no pain, no gain” mantra. Pride in pain. I raised it for all to see. “Look at me, I am well on my way to martyrdom.”

But then I realized, in this self-induced misery of pain, is not worth it. It is not enough to be a victim. It was not enough to hold my red flag of martyrdom at bay. I had to let it go. The better option was to forsake the walking wounded and join the forgiven and the victorious. Healing!


Proverbs 15:18 “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”


I have been there.  Walking this world with an inner dissatisfaction with everything.  It was a life with anger, resentment, wrathful disposition, and a furious spirit.  I may not have displayed it much, but nevertheless it was there. It was a soul characterized as one who simply had no forgiveness. It was a soul that went from issue to issue looking for trouble. It was a soul that had soured. It was a soul that could not and would not be satisfied with a simple, “I am sorry”. It was a soul that needed revenge, conflict, and discord. It was a sick soul which needed retribution and payback.

Then Jesus came and made me different. Over the years I have become the one who is patient, kind, calm, loving, and forgiving. I am becoming healthy. The presence of this healthy soul calms all those around. I still have some frustration in my life, but I must allow God to calm my quarrel.

“Please God, come evermore into my life and calm my soul.” One old hymn echoes in my heart today, “Peace like a river attends my soul and it is well with my soul.”

#Just Larry


John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”


I don’t understand that anyone would make a decision on the spur of the moment. It takes me more time than I would admit just to decide on the smallest of things. I refuse to settle for second best.  When I have a need for something to at any given moment, I search, research, make comparisons, consider opinions, and make lists of pluses and minuses, I have even resorted to making an Excel spreadsheet to weigh the pros and cons. Lastly in my quest for the best solution, I must ask the question, “Do I really need it?” Many try to fill their lives with perceived treasures. Each new shiny bauble becomes a distraction for a moment. Each new thing tries to fill a hole in their own lives. My friends, there is a minus sign with every plus.  Everything I own is another thing that owns me.  The full life, the abundant life is not things it is a person: Jesus! Without Him all else is arithmetic.   


Of my earliest memories was of a place called Ordside service. It was a corner lot owned by my Uncle Robert and housed a one-stop auto service center. It was a place where you could get the best Chevron gasoline. Three pumps provided the fully leaded Super, Ethel, and Regular. If my memory serves me well the regular was 29 cents a gallon and for Mom, two dollars would be enough to last a couple of weeks. Included in the complex was a car parts dealership serving the entire town of Marina and most of the Military personnel of Fort Ord. There was one of the first fully automatic car washes.

And my dad worked as a mechanic in the auto repair business behind the parts house. There were four giant roll-up doors for three repair bays and one for tires and oil changes.

Back and across the back of this family business was an area for cars that could not be repaired or fixed. High cement block walls went around this area with barbed wire on top. Occasionally a part from one of these cars was used to fix another. It was called the salvage yard.

I was not a church kid. There were 16 cousins in our little town of 1,645.  There was a little church about a ¼ of a mile away where I got my first encounter with all the “Church words”. When I heard salvation.  I immediately thought about that section of Ordside service.  The salvage yard. Salvage, Salvation, it sounded close enough. I figured salvation had to do with finding worth in something that nobody else wanted or needed. Salvation was about going out back and claiming something that was broken and messed up and then using it to fix something else. 

My idea of Salvation became an outgrowth of this idea. I was broken and I needed something to fix me from the salvage yard. Salvation was getting worth from something that was very broken. Salvation was making something good out of the worthless.

So when I attended that little church the youth leader told us we needed to be saved. I saw myself as something that was worthless and I had parts that needed to be used for better things.

I guess I was pretty close.

Fall is the end of the beginning

Fall is the end of the beginning. Spring and summer are times of new life and growth but the fall is a special time.  A time of reflection and remembrance. The distinct crispness of the air sparks interest in lighting a fire and watching the sun set over the yellow, orange and red trees.   
This is the time of year when small towns in Northern Idaho like Orofino seem to wake a little later. It is as if the collective society just didn’t want to move away from the warmth of layered blankets braced against open window sleeping.  Amid their pillows and comforters there was a sense the coming of winter in the smells of wood smoke, smoldering leaves, and diesel fumes. Most of the newer homes were heated by oil fired furnaces which burned almost cleanly. Wood stoves were the norm for most. In the first days of fall there seemed to be a blue tinge to the air early as homes were warmed early each day.
The county had just resurfaced the street just outside of my red painted screen door with and oil slurry and a layer of small jagged rocks. With each tire rolling down our street a new grey specter of dust would rise.  Dust that permeated every corner and cranny of my world. We didn’t have a garage to shelter our little light blue Pinto wagon from the elements and sometimes it was difficult to tell if the car was out there amid the dust and diesel smoke.  The dust that rose from the two lane street was permeated with diesel smoke from the empty trucks.  The aroma hung in the still air from the parade of large snow treaded tires moving up the hill. They all were going up the valley, through our little town and in front of my door.
The logging trucks that usually rumbled through town before dawn on the way to the latest timber sale didn’t start quite so early in these late days of fall.  The drivers knew they would only make one trip instead of two each day.  It was just too dangerous to drive at night on those old logging roads.  Big trucks filled with big men all trying to meek out a living in an ever dwindling lumber supply. The available timber was being cut further and further up the hill. 
Orofino was not the end of the world, but as a friend once said, “you can see it from here.”  There was only one stop light in the town.  It hung from a cable across Main Street and it bore the scars of trucks filled with their burdens of logs piled just a little too high during the energetic months of summer.  It was almost a ritual each fall to replace the light.
On the lower sheltered hillsides the tamarack trees were starting to turn golden, then brown.  They were a stark contrast to the variegated green of the pine, cedar and fir trees. The trees in the town were mostly bare.  Each resident had raked the remnants of summer into small pyramids along the street side, and set them smoldering.  Each multicolored pile came with a little wisp of smoke raising high in the clear sky. They would smolder for days at a time.  Each pencil of smoke was an offering to the coming cold season to come. Each fanned again and again by each passing car or truck.
The Clearwater River went through town, dividing it in two.  The color was a deep dark green as it slowly swept down the valley.  In deep winter it would start to freeze along the edges, but now it flowed with defiance against the rocks.  Great swirls were the only marks of the car sized boulders that lay just under the surface. It was the time of year when the river was full of ocean going steelhead and die hard fishermen.  If you look closely you could see a few of these cold enthusiasts in their little silver boats plying for one of the silver fish, fresh up from the Columbia.  It was cold work and once in a while you would see a boat with a cook stove belching black smoke as it moved up and down the glassy river. A hearty people.
Alongside of the river is Idaho State Highway 12 and it was the main corridor for even more trucks. These trucks hauled Montana Red wheat from Great Falls to the port of Lewiston.  Rumbling day and night down that ribbon that connected the great wheat farms of Montana to the sea. About once a year one of these trucks would spill a load or worse not make a curve coming down from the Lolo pass and end in the river.  And the river would take the intrusion and roll it down and down the canyon and occasionally leaving only parts and pieces along banks.
Fall was the time of eagles.  Pairs of these majestic birds had come north to find a place to nest and rest before it was too cold to fish.  Here at the base of the Dworshack dam on the North Fork of the Clearwater River, the fishing was good for the soaring eagles.  Up the canyon in front of the dam they were protected from the upcoming winter blasts. It was here they would nest and hatch the next generation. Their white heads and dark bodies stood starkly against the pure blue of the sky.  They would soar and swoop in a mating dance all in anticipation of the distant spring.   
The Old Bridge, the only connection between the two sides of town, looked new and shiny from a distance.  But up close you could see it was just another layer of silver paint to cover the blemishes of age.  The rivets that held it together had been painted over so many times they had started to blend in with the rest of the aged iron. There had been talk of replacing it after the last big thaw that had weakened the substructure, but it serving its purpose.  The founding fathers just put another coat of paint on it to keep the bridge from falling way from rust. It was a testament to the never changing life that was Orofino.
For a month or so from now, the morning the ground would be covered with a bright and starry frost. The white enveloping blanket would last a little longer every day.  The frost was a promise of snow that all knew would come. 
To brace ourselves against the coming chill, the wood was stacked against the side of the house. Each stick cut with the sweat of summer was a promise of warmth and comfort for the coming winter. This stack of promise had to be used sparingly because there would be no replacement until next year. Fires were struck each morning just to lift the chill for the rest of the day and let go out by mid-morning. The kids were a little quieter these mornings.  Each trying not to get out of bed before the fire had warmed the kitchen.  It was difficult to get them up and ready for school.  Sweaters and coats stored for the summer were brought out to protect from the early morning touch of winter.
A couple of blocks down the Michigan Avenue was the testament of even earlier times. The Ponderosa was the meeting place for everyone.  It has stood the test of time and had won.  Each seat had be reupholstered many times but they were still sturdy after 30 years of big men and even stronger women.  Above the counter was a clock with a rotating flip card display of the local businesses surrounded by a faint hue of neon light.  Sugar was still in glass dispensers, not in pretty packets of white, pink and yellow. The cups were large and heavy and some with a chip or two bespeaking of the years of wear.  The default coffee in the Ponderosa was a cheap-cheap and not so good for you brew. The standard is to sweeten it with enough sugar and when it is finished there should be a remainder of undissolved sugar at the bottom to start the next cup.
The Ponderosa was the place of meeting for Kiwanis and Elks service clubs in town. If you sat in a corner and waited long enough the world of Orofino would come in the door.  The gyppo contractors, and woodsbosses would congregate early to share knowledge and prospects for the latest timber sale.  This group would always be in a hurry and leave quickly.  But the club most noteworthy kept no attendance and had no membership rolls. Each would sit in a designated spot and at the designated time each morning they would start their meeting.  It was the meeting place for the old loggers.  Each would sit at the warm up spot, drink coffee and trade stories of log jams, yellow pine and virgin cedar. Each season the club membership was getting smaller and smaller. The ravages of time and injury were taking their membership one by one.
At the same place and the same time every day but Sunday.  Sunday was when the wives and daughters forced them into their best church clothes and would drive them to church.  This club was special cadre of men with a special uniform and unique language.  The most senior of the club called themselves tree fellers, because a tree falls and the wielder of the ax did not. It was their club.  Their heavy wool plaid coats layered on the coat tree in the corner, they were dressed in the uniform of the past and leaning on the now worn café counter, they huddled together as if for warmth.  Green wool pants held by red suspenders and cut off above the boot tops was the dress of the day.  Big black boots, called chalks, with worn off nails in the soles, laced high and tight, covered the two pairs of wool socks protruding above the boot.  The boots resonated with metallic clamor as they walked in and out. A plaid long sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbow was worn atop a faded pair of long sleeved long johns.
If you listened closely you would hear words like: choker, high line, wanigan, and peavey.  Each word was spoken with a special meaning to the group and most likely used to keep outsiders out of their domain. The only interruption allowed in their meeting was the waitress offering a fill up to the now lukewarm coffee they held in their grizzle hands.  
Life had turned into a slow clock ticking its way to eternity. Like the clock over the counter, their light was still shining but the cards were a little over worn. Their age and past crippling accidents no longer would allow them to venture into the high country for the next great stand of timber. That is if there was a next great stand of timber.  Most if it was gone.  Gone from years of logging.  Gone from years of sweat, pain, spent youth and great nature bending efforts of strength. The club members would speak of trees six feet thick that once were found just a few miles from town.  Now there was none to be found.  And the lament went on in the latest meeting of the fellers. Great men forced into retirement.  As easy as it would be to dismiss this all to the past and the Fellers Club along with it, their no frills approach to their autumn days has a welcoming familiarity.  They have become content in their lives.  Each remembrance brings a little jolt to the system as big as one more cup of coffee.
And the waitress asks for the sixth time, “Can I offer you a fill up?”  No I am fine.
It is all about memories.  Who a person is, is not what they have, or even what others think of him.  It is more than that.  It is your perception of your place in the whole.  And no matter what your perception is, it is always good.  It is good because that is the best it can be.  These fellers cannot change the number of logs on the hills but they can memorialize them in their demeanor and their resolve.
Today, I am more like the fellers in the Ponderosa, recollecting the glory days, than the brash young man willing to hike to the stars in search of fulfillment.  But there is not a day that goes by that a cold day in Idaho does not cross my mind.  And each time, I am reminded of the memories of wood smoke, dust, stale coffee and cold.  And it brings me warmth.