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About Cindy Hess Kasper

Cindy Hess Kasper served for more than 40 years at Our Daily Bread Ministries—30 of those in publishing where she was senior content editor for Our Daily Journey. During that time, she penned youth devotional articles for more than a decade before beginning to write for Our Daily Bread in 2006. She developed a passion for working with words because of her dad and favorite mentor and encourager—longtime senior editor Clair Hess. Although she retired in 2018, Cindy continues to write for the devotional. Cindy and her husband, Tom, have three grown children and—according to Cindy—several delightfully crazy grandchildren.

Expecting Jesus

By |2024-06-13T02:33:24-04:00June 13th, 2024|

My friend Paul was awaiting the arrival of a technician to repair his refrigerator when he saw a text on his phone from the appliance company. It read: Jesus is on his way and is expected to arrive at approximately 11:35 a.m. Paul soon discovered the technician’s name was indeed Jesús (hay-soos).

But when can we expect Jesus the Son of God to arrive? When He came as a man two thousand years ago and suffered the penalty of our sin, He said that He would be back—but only the Father knew the precise “day or hour” of His return (Matthew 24:36). What difference might it make in our day-to-day priorities if we did know the moment our Savior is coming back to earth? (John 14:1–3).

Jesus cautioned us to be ready for His return: “The Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:44). He reminded us to  “keep watch, because you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (v. 42).

On the day of Christ’s return, we won’t get an alert on our phone to give us a heads up. So, through the power of the Spirit working through us, let’s live each day with a perspective of eternity, serving God and taking advantage of every opportunity to share His message of love and hope with others.

Washing Feet . . . and Dishes

By |2024-01-18T01:33:16-05:00January 18th, 2024|

On Charley and Jan’s fiftieth wedding anniversary, they shared breakfast at a café with their son Jon. That day, the restaurant was understaffed with just a manager, cook, and one teenage girl who was working as hostess, waitress, and busser. As they finished their breakfast, Charley turned to his wife and son and said, “Do you have anything important going on in the next few hours?” They didn’t.

So, with permission from the manager, Charley and Jan began washing dishes in the back of the restaurant while Jon started clearing the cluttered tables. According to Jon, what happened that day wasn’t really that unusual. His parents had always set an example of Jesus who “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).

In John 13 we read about the last meal Christ shared with His disciples. That night, the Teacher taught them the principle of humble service by washing their dirty feet (vv. 14–15). If He was willing to do the lowly job of washing a dozen men’s feet, they too should joyfully serve others.

Every avenue of service we encounter may look different, but one thing’s the same: there’s great joy in serving. The purpose behind acts of service isn’t to bring praise to the ones performing them, but to lovingly serve others while directing all praise to our humble, self-sacrificing God.

Shadow and God’s Light

By |2023-12-04T01:33:26-05:00December 4th, 2023|

When Elaine was diagnosed with advanced cancer, she and her husband, Chuck, knew it wouldn’t be long until she’d be with Jesus. Both of them treasured the promise of Psalm 23 that God would be with them as they journeyed through the deepest and most difficult valley of their fifty-four years together. They took hope in the fact that Elaine was ready to meet Jesus, having placed her faith in Him decades before.

At his wife’s memorial service, Chuck shared that he was still traveling “through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4 nkjv). His wife’s life in heaven had already begun. But the “shadow of death” was still with him and with others who had greatly loved Elaine.

As we travel through the valley of shadows, where can we find our source of light? The apostle John declares that “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And in John 8:12, Jesus proclaimed: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

As believers in Jesus, we “walk in the light of [His] presence” (Psalm 89:15). Our God has promised to be with us and to be our source of light even when we travel through the darkest of shadows.

Don’t Lose Heart

By |2023-10-24T02:33:36-04:00October 24th, 2023|

I don’t remember a time when my mom Dorothy was in good health. For many years as a brittle diabetic, her blood sugar was wildly erratic. Complications developed and her damaged kidneys necessitated permanent dialysis. Neuropathy and broken bones resulted in the use of a wheelchair. Her eyesight began to regress toward blindness.

But as her body failed her, Mom’s prayer life grew more vigorous. She spent hours praying for others to know and experience the love of God. Precious words of Scripture grew sweeter to her. Before her eyesight faded, she wrote a letter to her sister Marjorie including words from 2 Corinthians 4: “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, . . . inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (v. 16).

The apostle Paul knew how easy it is to “lose heart.” In 2 Corinthians 11, he describes his life—one of danger, pain, and deprivation (vv. 23–29). Yet he viewed those “troubles” as “temporary.” And he encouraged us to think not only about what we see but also about what we can’t see—that which is eternal (4:17–18)
Despite what’s happening to us, our loving Father is continuing our inner renewal every day. His presence with us is sure. Through the gift of prayer, He’s only a breath away. And His promises to strengthen us and give us hope and joy remain true.

Promise Fulfilled

By |2023-09-10T02:33:06-04:00September 10th, 2023|

Each summer when I was a child, I would travel two hundred miles to enjoy a week with my grandparents. I wasn’t aware until later how much wisdom I soaked up from those two people I loved. Their life experiences and walk with God had given them perspectives that my young mind couldn’t yet imagine. Conversations with them about the faithfulness of God assured me that God is trustworthy and fulfills every promise He makes.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a teenager when an angel visited her. The incredible news brought by Gabriel must have been overwhelming, yet she willingly accepted the task with grace (Luke 1:38). But perhaps her visit with her elderly relative Elizabeth—who was also in the midst of a miraculous pregnancy (some scholars believe she may have been sixty years old)—brought her comfort as Elizabeth enthusiastically confirmed Gabriel’s words that she was the mother of the promised Messiah (vv. 39–45).

As we grow and mature in Christ, as my grandparents did, we learn that He keeps his promises. He kept His promise of a child for Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah (vv. 57–58). And that son, John the Baptist, became the harbinger of a promise made hundreds of years before—one that would change the course of humanity’s future. The promised Messiah—the Savior of the world—was coming! (Matthew 1:21–23).

Room for Silence

By |2023-07-21T02:33:16-04:00July 21st, 2023|

If you like peace and quiet, there’s a room in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that you’ll love. It absorbs 99.99 percent of all sound! The world-famous anechoic (echo-free) chamber of the Orfield Laboratories has been called the “quietest place on earth.” People who want to experience this soundless space are required to sit down to avoid getting disoriented by the lack of noise, and no one has ever been able to spend more than forty-five minutes in the room.

Few of us need that much silence. Yet we do sometimes long for a little quiet in a loud and busy world. Even the news we watch and the social media we ingest bring a kind of clamorous “noise” that competes for our attention. So much of it is infused with words and images that stir up negative emotions. Immersing ourselves in it can easily drown out the voice of God.

When the prophet Elijah went to meet God on the mountain of Horeb, he didn’t find Him in the loud, destructive wind or in the earthquake or in the fire (1 Kings 19:11–12). It wasn’t until Elijah heard a “gentle whisper” that he covered his face and ventured out of the cave to meet with “the Lord God Almighty” (vv. 12–14).

Your spirit may well be craving quiet but—even more so—it may be yearning to hear the voice of God. Find room for silence in your life so you’ll never miss God’s “gentle whisper” (v. 12).

 

To Do or Not to Do

By |2023-03-30T02:33:03-04:00March 30th, 2023|

When I was a kid, a decommissioned World War II tank was put on display in a park near my home. Multiple signs warned of the danger of climbing on the vehicle, but a couple of my friends immediately scrambled up. Some of us were a bit reluctant, but eventually we did the same. One boy refused, pointing to the posted signs. Another jumped down quickly as an adult approached. The temptation to have fun outweighed our desire to follow rules.

There’s a heart of childish rebellion lurking within all of us. We don’t like being told what to do or not to do. Yet we read in James that when we know what is right and don’t do it—it is sin (4:17). In Romans, the apostle Paul wrote: “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it’s no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (7:19–20).

As believers in Jesus, we may puzzle over our struggle with sin. But too often we depend solely on our own strength to do what is right. One day, when this life is over, we’ll be truly dead to sinful impulses. Until then, however, we can rely on the power of the One who’s death and resurrection won the victory over sin.

What sins are the biggest struggle for you? How can you rely more on God’s power to overcome their stronghold?

Seeing a Need

By |2023-02-27T01:33:20-05:00February 27th, 2023|

In the last few days of my dad’s life, one of the nurses dropped by his room and asked me if she could give him a shave. As Rachel gently pulled the razor across his face, she explained, “Older men of his generation like to have a neat shave every day.” Rachel had seen a need and acted on her instinct to show kindness, dignity, and respect to someone. The tender care she provided reminded me of my friend Julie who still paints her elderly mother’s nails because it’s important to her mom that she “look pretty.”

Acts 9 tells us about a disciple named Dorcas (also known as Tabitha) who showed kindness by providing handmade clothing for the poor (v. 39). When she died, her room was filled with friends who tearfully mourned this kind woman who loved helping others.

But Dorcas’ story didn’t end there. When Peter was brought to where her body lay, he knelt and prayed. In God’s power, he called her by name, saying, “Tabitha, get up” (v. 40). Amazingly, Dorcas opened her eyes and rose to her feet. When her friends realized she was alive, word spread quickly through the town and “many people believed in the Lord” (v. 42).

And how did Dorcas spend the next day of her life? Probably exactly as she had before—seeing the needs of people and filling them.

So Beautiful

By |2022-11-27T01:33:05-05:00November 27th, 2022|

I was very young when I peered through a hospital nursery window and saw a newborn for the first time. In my ignorance, I was dismayed to see a tiny, wrinkly child with a hairless, cone-shaped head. The baby’s mother standing near us, however, couldn’t stop asking everyone, “Isn’t he gorgeous?” I was reminded of that moment when I saw a video of a young dad tenderly singing the song, “You Are So Beautiful” to his baby girl. To her enraptured daddy—the little girl was the most beautiful thing ever created.

Is that how God looks at us? Ephesians 2:10 says that we’re His “handiwork”—His masterpiece. Aware of our own failings, it may be hard for us to accept how much He loves us or to believe that we could ever be of value to Him. But God doesn’t love us because we deserve love (vv. 3-4); He loves us because He is love (1 John 4:8). His love is one of grace and He showed the depth of it when, through Jesus’ sacrifice, He made us alive in Him when we were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:5, 8).

God’s love isn’t fickle—it’s constant. He loves the imperfect, the broken, those who are weak and those who mess up. When we fall, He’s there to lift us up. We’re His treasure, and we’re so beautiful to Him.

Time Enough

By |2022-06-10T09:06:03-04:00June 10th, 2022|

When I saw the massive volume of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace on my friend’s bookshelf, I confessed, “I’ve never actually made it all the way through that.” “Well,” Marty chuckled, “When I retired from teaching, I got it as a gift from a friend who told me, ‘Now you’ll finally have time to read it.’ ”

The first eight verses of Ecclesiastes 3 state a familiar, natural rhythm of the activities of life with some arbitrary choices. No matter what stage of life we find ourselves in, it’s often difficult to find time to do everything we want to do. And to make wise decisions about managing our time, it’s helpful to have a plan (Psalm 90:12).

Time spent with God each day is a priority for our spiritual health. Doing productive work is satisfying to our spirit (Ecclesiastes 3:13). Serving God and helping other people is essential to fulfilling God’s purpose for us (Ephesians 2:10). And times of rest or leisure are not wasted, but refreshing for body and spirit.

Of course, it’s easy to become too focused on the here and now—finding time for the things that matter most to us. But Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has “set eternity” in our hearts—reminding us to make a priority of things that are eternal. That can bring us face to face with something of the greatest importance—God’s eternal perspective “from beginning to end.”

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