On Becoming more “Spiritual”

 Michael Zhang

If you listen to this:



…something will happen to you.


 What…I’m not sure. But because “God’s Word never returns void…”…be assured that something will happen to you (whether you are aware of it, or not)



Thank you, Pastor Mark.


Thanks to Michael Zhang, for the photo.




Short Break

Pastor Mark has not been feeling well and has taken a break from writing his daily devotionals.

On top of that he has gone back to the Midwest to see his father, who is also not in good health.


Thanks for your understanding.











Good Friday

                                    “Come, ye Daughters, Help Me Lament”,
                                  From the St. Matthew’s Passion by J.S. Bach.
                                               Double Chorus with Chorale


Come, ye daughters, help me lament,

Behold! Whom? The Bridegroom.

Behold him! How? Like a lamb.

Behold! What? Behold his patience.

Behold! Where? Behold our guilt.

Behold Him, out of love and graciousness,

Himself carrying the wood of the cross.


Chorus of the Daughters of Zion

O guiltless Lamb of God

 slaughtered on the stem of the cross,

always found patient, 

how despised You were.
You have born all sin, 

else we must have despaired.
Have mercy upon us, O Jesus! 


Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen!

Sehet !Wen? Den Bräutigam.

Seht ihn! Wie? Als wie ein Lamm!

Sehet! Was? Seht die Geduld.

Seht! Wohin? Auf unsre Schuld.

Sehet ihn aus Lieb und Huld

Holz zum Kreuze selber tragen!


 O Lamm Gottes unschuldig,

Am Stamm des Kreuzes geschlachtet,
Allzeit erfunden geduldig,

Wiewohl du warest verachtet.
All Sünd hast du getragen,

Sonst müßten wir verzagen.
Erbarm dich unser, o Jesu.

The Thomanerchor, or St. Thomas Boy’s Choir and the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, Germany, and  Gewandhaus Kinder-und Jugendchor ; The performance was given at St.Thomas Lutheran Church, Leipzig, where J. S. Bach worked as cantor.  Georg Christoph Biller, the current cantor of St. Thomas Church, and the 16th since Bach, is the director.

                                  All glory to Him who for our need His life did give!

Ephesians 2:8

“For by grace you have been saved…”


The law of love is the heart of the law. To love is to fulfill the law. There is no law against love. There are degrees and kinds of love to be sure. But not to love. That is not an option. The question is, do we love well or badly? This, in fact, is our problem. From birth the human will is engaged in loving. It has no option, no choice in the matter. What becomes readily apparent, even in the most adorable infant, is that self-love is the focus of the human being. So, in a very real sense, we have no so-called ‘free will’ to love or not love – God or anyone else. The myriad disfunctions of the world are all the evidence we need to conclude that bad love is the way with human beings. Oh, there will be variations toward the good, and many are quite adept at keeping their bad love to themselves, but from birth the die is cast; human beings are bad lovers. They are bound to be. This predisposition to love badly is what the bible calls ‘sin’, the turning in on the self. Asking the bound will to free itself from this mess does nothing. If you are bound you must be set free, from outside yourself. So enters the Gospel. St. Paul wrote that you and I might find it in ourselves to crank up sacrificial love for someone we consider worthy of it – maybe. But God shows His love for us in that “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.The love of God is perfect. God really and truly loves. And this is made supremely clear in Jesus our Lord, who gave HImself for the unlovely, for the bad lovers. This is the Good News! God’s will to love the bad lover is what we call grace. In mercy and love, for Christ’s sake, God simply declares the bound sinner free as an act of sheer mercy and grace. Someone once called it “amazing”.  And so it is.