The Up Devotional

Welcome to The Up Devotional!

This is a devotional that comes out five mornings a week (Monday to Friday) at 5am. It is written by Pastor Ruttan.

Think of it as your 1-minute shot of daily soul espresso—biblical and down-to-earth.

You read back issues here and also find it on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

It is also available as a podcast through Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Enjoy!

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  • Helping someone in their sea of alligators December 7, 2022
    In John 13:34 Jesus gave this new commandment: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Sounds nice. But what is love? When you look at the use of this word in the New Testament here is what you find. To love someone in this way means acknowledging that […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Desperate times call for… December 6, 2022
    Desperate times call for desperate measures.  It’s an expression we’ve all heard. Maybe even used. Think of a hail Mary pass near the end of a football game. Or the person who is in such financial ruin that the only thing they can think of doing to help their situation is to rob a bank. […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • An alien visitor at Christmas December 5, 2022
    It’s December. Christmas is approaching. Indulge me with an illustration. Imagine an alien from another planet was sent on a mission to earth to learn about Christmas. And imagine that it came to your house to watch your celebrations and to collect data. And then imagine that it had to report back to its mothership […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Happiness and contentment December 2, 2022
    A woman named Sarah went to visit Martin Thielen. She had marriage problems, problems with her children, and overwhelming stress in her job. He asked her what she wanted most out of life. Turns out, she wanted to be happy. After thinking for a few moments she explained further: “I make a lot of money. […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • The Topsy-Turvy Kingdom December 1, 2022
    In the previous devotional I highlighted Henri Nouwen’s phrase “downward mobility.”* It stands in stark contrast to modern definitions of success (including “upward mobility”) which are focused on accumulating influence and power. When I was young we would sometimes read the Mr. Men books. One of them was Mr. Topsy-Turvy. Things were very unexpected in […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Striving to do good, or to look good? November 30, 2022
    One of Jesus’ most memorable actions was washing his disciples’ feet. The one who had walked on water and turned water into wine took the posture of a servant, even a slave. Foot washing was a job normally reserved for the lowly. But that’s what he did.  Consider this context which helps us appreciate his […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • It’s okay to simplify Christmas November 29, 2022
    Christmas is coming. “It’s practically here!” So sayeth the Grinch. This past Sunday marked the beginning of Advent. That’s a word which means “coming,” referring to the coming of Christ. It’s the four-week period leading up to Christmas. As December 25th draws near, so do many complicated feelings. Because of the pandemic, our celebrations have […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Losing ego, finding God November 28, 2022
    John 12 tells us about some Greek people who wanted to see Jesus. Verse 25 records a part of Jesus’ response:  “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” In view of these seekers, Jesus cuts to the heart of […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Presently, not just eventually November 25, 2022
    “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue…” (2 Peter 1:5, ESV) Salvation. It’s a big word. When a lot of people hear that word, they think about heaven. And they should; it’s one of God’s promises. When you believe in who Jesus is and what he has done for you on the cross, […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Before darkness overtakes you November 24, 2022
    Jesus said: “Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you” (John 12:35). One of the stories I have read my kids is “The Dark” by Robert Munsch. A shadow comes to life and starts eating other shadows. As a result, he keeps getting bigger and eventually lives on top of the house casting […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • The scales have been tipped November 23, 2022
    After explaining the significance of the resurrection, Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15:57: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s a source of inspiration. But also of confusion. If Jesus has given us victory, why is there still so much pain and hardship? Professor Oscar […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Our enemies shall not touch us November 22, 2022
    I recently read the biography of an ancient monk named St. Anthony. It was written by the church father and great defender of the faith, Athanasius.  I was struck by Anthony’s humility and power. Usually we don’t think of humility and power going together, but they do. When someone is truly humble, God works powerfully […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Steadfast minds November 21, 2022
    In April 1943 bomb-raid sirens rang throughout the air above London, England. People dropped their things and searched the skies. Buses stopped, people flooded into the streets. Gunfire started to be heard. A nearby antiaircraft artillery launched some rockets. People started going into a frenzy. Some shouted, “They are starting to drop them!” although no […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Something greater than ourselves November 11, 2022
    [Note: After today The Up Devotional will go on pause for a week. It returns on November 21, 2022.] Some Greeks wanted to see Jesus. “Anyone who loves their life will lose it,” he said, “while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). Talk about heavy! […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Resisting the opinions and emotional climate of the crowd November 10, 2022
    Mark Sayers describes a problem that many people encounter: “We want the freedom and autonomy of radical individualism while being dependent on the opinions and emotional climate of the crowd.”* Do you see the tension? We love to think of ourselves as rugged individualists who don’t need anybody else, thank you very much.  Yet at […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • Re-dedicate it to Jesus November 9, 2022
    God needs to be first in our lives. Agreed. When we appreciate who God is and what he has done for us, we want to show that appreciation in meaningful and often sacrificial ways. When someone is a follower of Christ and realizes they’re not doing that, they tend to prayerfully think things through and […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • We all benefit, we all contribute November 8, 2022
    In 2021 Megan Hill gave a talk titled, “Teach your kids to love the local church.” [You can link to it below.] At her church, volunteers sign up to take turns cleaning the church every Saturday. Each family signs up for two slots each year. When they showed up for their first turn, they brought […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • When you’re feeling low November 7, 2022
    Recently I was feeling a bit low about some things. As I folded my hands to pray, I felt as if God shoved into my mind a long list of blessings he had poured into my life—things, experiences, opportunities and people from my childhood, to my early adulthood, and to now. It was as if […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • He makes your life better, not worse November 4, 2022
    Don Miller tells a story about when he started to take God more seriously in his life.  A key moment came at Christmas: “For my mother that year I had purchased a shabby Christmas gift—a book, the contents of which she would never be interested in. I had had a sum of money with which […]
    MatthewRuttan
  • The best of us, not what’s left of us November 3, 2022
    Mary the sister of Lazarus “took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair” (John 12:3). That pure nard was equivalent in value to about $30,000! That’s how grateful she was to Jesus. She was trying to show her devotion with […]
    MatthewRuttan