Devotionals are short essays written by GSLC members and staff that explore the ways the Holy Spirit works within our every day lives.  There are several ways we invite you to use these devotionals:

  • Make them a part of a prayer practice - read a devotion and consider the ways that Christ has worked similarly in your life or works in unexpected ways.
  • Make them a part of a journaling practice - read a devotion and journal about what the Holy Spirit is stirring in you as you reflect on the essay.
  • Use them as a reminder that God works in all things, the bad and the good.

With over 400 available devotions, you can use these daily, weekly, or monthly.  It's up to you!  We just hope that by reading these inspiring stories provided by Good Shepherd's flock you are able to better see where Jesus is present in all things!  Thank you to all of our members that have provided devotionals throughout the past couple of years!

Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

Kristin Kalsem

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Deuteronomy 6: 5-7


My grandparents, Henry and Jeanette Torkelson, lived on a farm in northern Iowa.  When I was a child, I spent several weeks there every summer.  My grandparents’ faith was built into their everyday lives, from the dinner prayer we would say in Norwegian before each meal to the hymns that Grandpa would sing as he came in from the fields.  As I write this, I hear one of his favorites clearly in my mind, “Bringing in the sheaves, Bringing in the sheaves, We shall come rejoicing, Bringing in the sheaves.”

A few years ago, I was taking a writing class and wrote a poem about Grandpa Torkelson.  When I got home from class, my phone rang and it was my dad.  “Your mom is so alert today,” he said, “I wanted to call you so that you could talk with her.”  Mom was in the later stages of Parkinson’s and much of the time she was not really aware of what was going on.  But every once in a rare while, she was “on” and her old self.  “Well that’s fantastic,” I said, “because I just wrote a poem about Grandpa [her dad] and I want to read it to her.”  I read the poem to Mom and, when I was done, my dad said that she was clapping her hands and tears were running down her face.  She had long ago lost her voice, but it was clear she understood.  I like to think that she too was fondly remembering special times with my dear grandparents.  In every respect, God was in all of this!  Here is the poem:

Grandpa and God

Grandpa Torkelson told us
that one hot day in July,
God spoke to him in the barn,
something about not being happy
with the upcoming wedding and
move to Wisconsin of
Louie, Grandpa’s best friend.
While the topic seems odd,
if Grandpa said that
God spoke to him in the barn,
no doubt, He did. 

Grandpa and God were tight.
One of twelve children, educated 
through the fourth grade,
Grandpa was simple, but not.
One day he had asked God
to help him find a wife
and, as Grandpa would tell it,
who should walk into the 
church where he was singing
at a wedding, but Grandma,
a rare woman,
college-educated in the ‘20s,
who, lucky for Grandpa, had
refused the proposal of her
sophisticated city beau,
because she wanted to marry
a farmer.

Especially good with numbers,
Grandpa taught all of us math,
long before we learned it
in school.  Dominoes,
we played for hours,
Grandpa instantly calling out
all the ways that we could “make.”
“Double threes could make,
a five and a two, a four and a six,”
always trying his best
to protect us
from the dreaded bone pile.

In the evenings, on the farm, 
we had devotions.
Small glasses of Seven-up and
thin slices of longhorn cheese
accompanied Grandpa’s
readings from the Bible.
So comforting, as a small child,
hearing in his thick Norwegian accent
that the Lord was my shepherd and
I shall not want.

You know, if I were God
and wanted to chill out 
on a beautiful sunny day
that I had made,
what better way to spend my time than
in the barn with Henry Torkelson,
listening to him
confiding in me
how much he would miss
his friend Louie.

What special memories do you have of people who encouraged you to love God with all your heart, soul, and strength?

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8 comments on article "Daily Devotion"

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Mark Buelsing

For a moment there Kristin, I felt like I was there. Seven-up, thin slices of Longhorn cheese and Grandpa and his Bible and devotions. It is so good to hear that you had such a great role model for a person living his faith.

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Kathleen Peterson

Reading this was a gift! Thank you for sharing it, Kristin.

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Jackie Glawe

What a beautiful story and poem.

Thank you for sharing your Grandparents faith.

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Pat Badkey

Kristin, thank you for your devotions. I am grateful for our ancestor's faith which has shaped our faith and let us know we can talk to God about anything. .

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Tina morawski

Thank you for bringing this man of faith to life with your loving words! Miss you friend!

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Emily Small

I loved your story. I really connected with it. My grandparents live near north west of Iowa and have friends who's name are Bruce and Mary Torkelson

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Thank you! I am sure they are related! As I said, grandpa was one of twelve!

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Danelle Buelsing

Kristin, I love this poem and the legacy of faith that was passed down to you from generations before you. It is such a beautiful part of who you are!

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«November 2020»

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