Category Archives: Grow the Good Devotionals

Grow the Good – Day 30

Day 30

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Phil. 4:8-9

“The Lord be with you.” This has become one of my favorite prayers. It is a blessing that we will know God’s goodness and God’s peace. That in a world of mess, chaos, and pain we will know what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and excellent.

“The Lord be with you.” If the Lord was with you, what good thing would you celebrate? What gratitude would rise up in you? What praiseworthy thing would capture your imagination? What noble choices would you make? What purity would you celebrate? What truth would you share?

“The Lord be with you.” And the response is, “And also with you.” The excellent and praiseworthy peace we receive from the Lord we pass on. We are blessed to be a blessing. Who do you know that needs to experience truth, purity, loveliness, and nobility?

“The Lord be with you.” Share it!

Dear Lord, 

Fill our minds by guiding us into meditations on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Guide us to practice what we learn from You, to live out the good. Thank You, Lord, for being with us to make everything work together into the most excellent harmonies. Amen.

-Kent Landhuis


Grow the Good – Day 29

Day 29

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil. 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything…”, in a broken world filled with worry, this can be so incredibly difficult to do.  But by prayer and petition, and for myself, community, it is achievable.

In the few years that I’ve had the privilege of being a member of Cedar Hills I have learned so much, and one of those is that trusting in Him means we can be free of anxiety.  But I’ve also learned there is intentional action I need to take, and that action is to bring my worries to Him and trust that He will give me the strength I need to manage it.

Honestly, I did find it a bit ironic that “letting go” was going to require so much effort!  How easy it is to believe I can rely on myself to do good works, when really what I need to do is listen intently, seek God’s lead, and then follow it faithfully.

Father in Heaven,

Thank You for listening to our prayers!  Please help us to continue growing as individuals and as a congregation in our knowledge and faith in You, so that we may join You in growing disciples in the everyday stuff of life. Amen.

 – John Davidson

Grow the Good – Day 28

Day 28

“I focus on this one thing; forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ, is calling us.” Phil. 3:13-14

I appreciate the fact that Paul had the wisdom to point out some real obstacles that can cause me to stumble and lose the race of a lifetime.  Paul, a genuine man, knew what he was talking about.

I think of all the destruction and hate he caused the followers of Jesus.  He would have been stopped in his tracks if he had allowed those old recriminations to feed his mind. His mind’s voice: “How could God ever use you?  Look at how evil you were!  Once evil always evil, you are just fooling yourself to think God has a place and purpose for you.”  Jesus said as He died, “It is finished!! That means any sins, once confessed, and covered by the blood are gone forever.

That’s not all, Paul could just as easily have been tripped up by all his successes in the ministry. He could have had the attitude – I have already arrived.  No more maturity needed.  I have done enough for the kingdom. I should be able to go retire.  I believe, it wasn’t only past sins he was worried about, but also becoming proud of his achievements.  How many tricks the evil one employs to get us off the track, so we never finish the race and collect the prize! Here’s the antidote to counteract the obstacles—focus on what lies ahead.  Paul learned it from Jesus “for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross disregarding its shame.” (Heb. 12:2) Jesus’s prize is a seat at God’s right hand.  I have heaven and a prize waiting for me from Jesus.

Dear God,

You have a course and prize for me.  I understand to receive the prize I must continue to run the race.  Help me to identify my own personal obstacles, and then help me to avoid them. Also give me the endurance I need to finish the race. And please, Lord, keep my eyes focused on You, the destination, and prize.  Amen.

-Joanne Lodge

Grow the Good – Day 27

Day 27

“For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14

Are you dissatisfied with something about yourself?  It could be your weight, your hair (or lack of), your feet, your nose.  It is so easy to look at ourselves and not like what we see. We look at others and wish we could look like them.  How come some people are handsome or beautiful and I’m just ordinary? 

But wait a minute! Psalm 139:13 says I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  It’s no accident we are the way we are.  There’s a divine design to our complete selves.

During those nine months in the womb, he knit us together.  He made us into the person we are.  Psalm 139:15 says He shaped our bones (frame), and Psalm 139:16, we read that he determined the days of our lives. God gave us our emotions, our talents, our athletic ability, and our mental abilities.  Everything about us is unique.  God was and is intimately acquainted with everything about us.

We need to accept ourselves the way He created us.  He loves us just the way we are because He formed us and thought about us before we were born. Even though we might be unhappy with the way we were made, He is not.  However we were created, God had a reason, perhaps to teach us a unique lesson.

We celebrate Cedar Hills Community Church, started by people who were made in God’s image and loved Him 60 years ago.  We are unique people with one common goal, to love God and to love others – just the way we are. Our church is unique, and we praise God for His faithfulness.

Dear Father,

We praise You for who we are.  We thank You for creating us each as a unique individual made by You to serve You. Thank You that You don’t make “mistakes,” and remind us that each of us is precious and loved by You. Amen.

-Linda Drzycimski

Grow the Good – Day 26

Day 26

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Phil. 2:14-16

Whoa! A warped and crooked generation back in the day of Paul? I thought that our world was at its worst today! Paul couldn’t blame the Baby Boomers, Millennials or Generation Z for this or that! Do everything without grumbling and arguing – yikes! It sounds reminiscent of directives that come out of most parents mouths!

So, though the world continues to change by leaps and bounds, it must also remain the same. We still point fingers at others for the wrong in the world, and we still need to be reminded to keep our chins up and do our work without being resistant.

It’s become a cliché, but “Let’s be the change we want to see in the world!” Individually, as community members and as a family at

Cedar Hills Community Church, let’s face the world head-on without grumbling and show everyone in the Corridor that love, goodness, and hospitality have not been lost to days past. Let us be the shining image of hope left in this world that inspires others to seek Your ways.

Dear God, 

Help us to NOT be the cause of or feed into a warped or crooked generation! Remind us of the path You call us to walk and continue to encourage us to bring others along with us.  

Finally, let us tackle life’s tasks with ambition and positivity.  As Your children, we want to shine God. Help us each day. In Your name we pray, Amen.

-Mel Dahm

Grow the Good – Day 25

Day 25

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:4-6

It’s like Paul is saying this to the Philippians: “I was with you when the church started, and I saw the good work God began in your lives.  Because of that good work, we have grown to become partners in God’s mission. And what God started, He will finish.”  A good partnership is a great thing.

Over this past summer, I had the opportunity to chaperone a group of six youth to a conference in Chicago.  I had no idea of what to expect, but my co-leader was a great encouragement for me. While I was initially hesitant to spend an entire week at a youth conference, God used our partnership to change the lives of our group, as well as many lives in Chicago.  I know that it was God’s direction to put us together on this trip, because I had no idea of how it would turn out!  Funny how God works that way….

God started a Good Work in all our lives this summer.  I thank God for people who have the gift of encouragement and who are willing to lead others into situations where they must lean completely on God for direction.  Jesus sent his followers into the world in pairs because he knew that they could need encouragement from each other in an otherwise hostile world.  We can have confidence that if we trust God to Grow the Good in our lives, that He will carry it to completion, giving us joy and thanksgiving along the way!

Father God,

Thank You for calling us to do Your good works.  You don’t need our help, but You simply WANT our obedience as we grow to trust You more.  Thank You for good partners who encourage us when we are scared.  Let us remember that it is YOU (and not us) who accomplishes the good works.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

-Gary Mills


Grow the Good – Day 24

Day 24

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1:3-11

Paul wrote this letter to the church he started in Philippi, but I also see God sending this letter to our church at Cedar Hills.  We are in partnership as disciples of Christ to spread the good news of Christ around our communities and the corridor and He encourages us to continue this good work until the day He calls us home.  It doesn’t make a difference if we are experiencing joy or tribulation – God can work through us in all situations.

Sometimes His ways are not always clear to us, but His word helps us to discern what is best for each of us and Cedar Hills.

We are so blessed to be able to go to Him at any time with our concerns, joys and anxiety.  God who began a good work at Cedar Hills 60 years ago will carry it on to completion until the day we are all united with Him.  Press on by continuing to dwell in His word and seek Him for your everyday choices in life and learning to be “disciples of His great love.”

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for being with us every day in working to spread Your love to those who are missing the joy you give in knowing You.  We also rejoice when we look back at the ways You have helped each of us individually and as a church grow more in Your love.  You have blessed us with each other and leaders who look to You to discern what is best for Cedar Hills so that Your good work will continue for years to come.  Amen.

-Diane Potter


Grow the Good – Day 23

Day 23

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal.” Phil. 3:12-14

When I jog, I am often exhausted long before I reach my daily goal.  One way that I press on so that I can finish is by setting little goals. I will run to the next driveway, I will run to the corner, I will not stop until I pass two more mailboxes. When I reach this little goal, I set another. I reach the finish line by achieving one little goal after another.

God invites us to press on toward a goal that will one day be complete. We WILL cross the finish line. God moves us toward this goal one step at a time. Pressing on, it seems to me is about one step at a time.

One member of our congregation always answers my question, “How are you doing?” the same way. She says, “One step at a time.” She often says this as though it is discouraging. (At least that is how I hear her.) I find her response refreshingly accurate as a description of our walk of faith. What other way is there to go forward but one step at a time?

We are well on our way toward the goal that God sets before us and we keep moving toward that goal one step at a time.  When you feel like your feet are heavy, your arms are tired and you are ready to stop, what keeps you going? Ask God to strengthen you one step at a time.

Dear God,

Strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees. Give us all we need to press on toward the goal You set before us. Amen.

-Kent Landhuis


Grow the Good – Day 22

Day 22

“Complete my joy by being of the same mind… Have this mind among yourselves, which you have in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 2:2-5

Paul hopes believers will be unified, working together with one mind and purpose.  But this is a difficult challenge for any group of people with different ideas and strong personalities.  Is it even possible?

Paul is quite sure it is!  But it only happens if we share the mind of Christ.

Let’s say you’re tuning twenty pianos by ear to play in unison.  What’s the best way to accomplish this?  Suppose you play piano #1 to tune #2, then #2 to #3, #3 to #4, etc.  The problem is that each successive tuning can introduce a tiny variation.  And twenty minor variations can add up to a very large dissonance!  (It’s like the “telephone game” where a sentence becomes increasingly garbled as it is whispered around a circle of players.)

The best way to unify twenty pianos is to tune each one with the same tuning fork.  Then they all resonate together from the original tone.

In the same way, we stay in tune with each other when each of us allows his or her mind to be transformed by the mind of Christ. Christ gave up his divine privileges and took the humble position of a servant to save us.  When we have this “mind” among ourselves, we no longer look out only for our own interests, but take an interest in serving others too.

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Help us to be transformed and become like-minded with You.  Let us tune our hearts to sing Your praises, and join with others to be unified in Your spirit and love.  Amen.

-Alan Crandall


Grow the Good – Day 21

Day 21

“…not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your salvation—and this is from God.” Phil. 1:28

Life happens. It can be beautiful and exciting or ugly and heartbreaking. This we are not in control of. A year ago, I did life differently. I thought I was handling things pretty ok. I was a good person and I was doing the best I could… or at least that’s what I thought.

This past year I found Cedar Hills. This past year I found Jesus. This church and the community introduced God to me in a way I never knew. But the honest truth is, He had been with me the whole time… I just needed to open the door.

Now I’m learning what it means to be Christ-like, and my life has transformed. My heart has never been so full and complete as it is today. I now know I am no longer in control. I’m surrendering and trying to listen to the Holy Spirit to allow God to do His work through me, for He has much bigger dreams for me than I could ever dreamed of.

Joy actually comes not through glory, but humility. He has started a good work in me, and He will carry it on to completion. Trusting in the Lord and adopting the same attitude as Jesus Christ will save me.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for never giving up on me. I know that I’m a work in progress, but I will try to glorify You in all that I do. Amen. 

  • Lauren Palmersheim