The Baruch Devotional: 52 Weekly Devotionals

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Thank you for celebrating Baruch Senior Ministries’ 25th Anniversary with us. As a faith-based organization founded on Biblical principles, Baruch is grateful for the opportunity to care for seniors throughout the state of Michigan. As we look ahead, we are challenged to remain true to Baruch’s founding principles and mission to honor God by serving people as they age. With this in mind, we reflect on the biblical origins of the name ‘Baruch’.

In the Bible, Baruch came from a princely family, the son of Neriah. His name meant “blessed’ by the Lord. Later, he became the closest companion and loyal secretary to the prophet Jeremiah.

As Jeremiah’s secretary, Baruch held the deed to land Jeremiah purchased and placed it in trust. He transcribed Jeremiah’s words as the prophet dictated them. He accompanied Jeremiah on the long road of exile to Egypt and, as his companion, learned to resist the temptation of ambition and be content with his lot. It is quite likely Baruch was responsible for the compilation of the Book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah purchased land to ensure his people long term security. He placed the deed in Baruch’s hands to display God’s commitment and faithfulness to His people. Thereby, Baruch served as an instrument for assuring God’s people that they would never be abandoned. Baruch felt deeply for the suffering of the people of his day. He was a man of prayer who was often found fasting and praying. He brought hope to his people, those who were forced to leave their homeland and live in exile, lost in despair. He pointed them to a God who knew their needs, cared for them, promised them a final reward, and resting place.

Just as Baruch selflessly and faithfully carried out his charge, Baruch Senior Ministries promises to uphold its commitment to provide seniors and people living with disabilities with housing and a continuum of care that promotes the value and dignity of every person. Additionally, just as Baruch faithfully proclaimed the message from the Lord to the people, we are committed to bringing the message of God to people and to fully integrating faith and work. At our core is prayer for the needs of those we serve. We give them hope by understanding their needs and providing them with personal and spiritual care that brings them comfort in this life and prepares them for the life to come.

Our prayer is that you will be blessed and inspired by this devotional. A special thank you to the members of the Baruch team that contributed to this publication.

Pressing On

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 to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in
Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Many years ago, I went on a backpacking trip through the Boundary Waters. Seven days
of traveling through rivers, lakes, and woods. It was very beautiful. And very hard. We
would canoe a river or lake, and walk the trails between the waterways, carrying our
packs and canoes over our shoulders. Carry our packs to the next destination, walk
back, and repeat with our food pack and canoes. Sometimes it was just 20 feet or so.
Other times, more than a mile. On the final trail, which by the way was about two miles
mostly uphill, I was exhausted. I wanted to give up many times in those 6 miles of back
and forth. I prayed, and repeated to myself…” step, one step in front of the other, one
step, just one more step” until we were at the final lake. I remember saying to myself, “if
I can make it through this, I can get through anything in life.” And the trip was amazing!

In Philippians, the people are being encouraged to focus on how to live well as
Christians for the long haul. Taking on ways of goodness and leaving behind ways that
no longer are needed. Pressing on in life; pressing on through struggles, pressing on
through joys. Pressing on to the goal of living life alongside Jesus.

We’ve just come through the Christmas season. The birth of Jesus. Reliving that God’s
love and light was and IS shining in the world. As we begin a new year, our devotions
will be exploring the theme of PRESSING ON to offer us strength as we travel every day.
Blessed New Year!

Chaplain Karen

Life Is Full of Surprises

The Christmas story is full of surprises.  A virgin realizing, she was pregnant.  Her skeptical fiancé surprises her by deciding to faithfully walk with her on the journey.   


The couple is unprepared for the birth of their child.  They don’t even have a place prepared for the birth.  They are surprised when a simple shelter is provided for their son to be born.  It is big enough to host surprise guests from the working class and the wealthy. 


The shepherds were performing their working-class job when they were surprised by an angelic choir singing “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, Peace.”   


Mary and Joseph were probably worried about finances.  God surprised them when the wise men gave valuable gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  The value of these gifts supported them for two years.  Including their unexpected journey to Egypt. 


Just as Mary and Joseph discovered life is full of surprises, even so, I’ve heard many stories of residents at a senior living home tell me of the surprises in their lives.  The one constant is that God is faithful to provide care in each of those surprises.  It would be interesting to share with others some of the surprises we have experienced in life and how God provided care.   


Christmas reminds us that life is full of surprises.  Christmas also reminds us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.   


Chaplain Jeff

Thriving Through Perseverance

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give
Galatians 6:9.

Persevering in doing good can make us weary. The dictionary defines good as a quality required
for a certain job, possessing a moral virtue, and giving pleasure. We grow weary of doing good
in our work; we grow weary of doing good raising a family; we grow weary of doing good in
being a caregiver; we grow weary of doing good as a Christian. As Christians, the influence of
politics, society and the economy challenge our perseverance in doing what is good and right.
1 Corinthians 15:58 encourages us these words: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast,
immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not
in vain”.

In the Bible, we are given numerous examples of God’s people growing weary of doing good yet
reaping the rewards because of persevering in that good:

The book of Job is a good place to begin. Job, a wealthy man, lost his animals, his crops
and his family to disease and famine. The only thing he did not lose, was his life, because God
told Satan he could not take Job’s life. In all of this, Job persevered in his relationship with God.

The prophet Jeremiah, in chapters 37 and 38, persevered in preaching and teaching the
Gospel to a rebellious nation in spite of threats, imprisonment and being exiled into Egypt.

In 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 we read how the apostle Paul was beaten, flogged,
shipwrecked, imprisoned, and threatened wherever he went. Despite physical pain, Paul
persevered in his faith.

Luke 18:1- 8 tells us the story of the persistent widow, who pursued the Judge to right
the wrong done against her until he gave in and brought justice. Like the widow, we need to be
continually persevering in bringing acts of injustice to the Lord.

People of God, keep on thriving in doing good for the Lord. When you are weary and tired, pray
for perseverance. Remember you will reap a reward!

God’s blessings as you persevere in doing good!
Chaplain Val

Focus on Love

John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so
you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love
one another.”

Several times a month, I cross the Mackinac Bridge. Miles before reaching the bridge, the
suspension towers shine white against the blue sky. During the almost 5 miles driving over the
bridge, the views are even more amazing. Looking out over the railings, I see ferries traveling to
Mackinac Island with white foam trailing behind, sailboats, and amazing shorelines. There are
so many things on which to focus. However, I am driving across a bridge high above the water!
This means focusing on the highest priority; the road and the traffic around me. In life, and in
faith, focusing on the highest priority is very important.

In John 13, Jesus shares with the disciples his principles for a life of faith. We are to focus on
love; especially loving each other the way Jesus shows love to us.

What does this look like? In Galatians and 1 Corinthians, loving behavior is described as kind,
patient, not irritable or envious, displaying goodness and self-control and gentleness. Behavior
that does not “bite and devour each other.”

How are you doing in these areas? When we see room for improvement, Jesus invites us to live
more deeply in the Way of Love. Love for God. Love for self. Love for one another. We do
this by spending time with God. As we do so, the very character of God rubs off on us, changing
us and filling us. We can then share this love with others in how we speak and act. As Jesus
stated, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples….”


Karen Henderlong

Observing the Lilies

The tiger lilies are in bloom along the roadside in July and August. Seeing the tiger lilies makes me
wonder if there used to be a farm house in that location. The farm house is gone, but the tiger lilies are
still growing. Those lilies are survivors.

Jesus invites us to “Observe how the lilies of the field grow.” (Matthew 6:28). He is pointing out that we
keep on learning by diligently studying, researching, and observing the world around us. There is
something in how a lily grows that Jesus wants us to observe.

The tiger lilies were not only surviving, they were thriving. The plants I saw had vibrant green leaves
with beautiful orange and black blossoms. That’s what I saw on the surface. It would have been easy to
overlook the underground realities which influenced the plants thriving. Underground there was the
composition of the soil, the workings of the root system, the available moisture, and the important role
that worms play. All of these unseen factors are necessary for the tiger lily to thrive.

There are unseen factors in our life that are necessary for us to thrive?

To thrive we need nutritious food, clean water, proper medical care, and comfortable shelter. These are
what we see. We also need a proper root system. These roots are the relationships that we have with
family and friends. Being strongly rooted builds vitality in our life. It would be interesting to diagram all
of the relationships in your life. The diagram will probably look like a root system.

We need to give and receive love, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, and goodness. These are
essential emotions for a healthy person. A thriving community, like good soil, is composed of these
upbeat, Godly emotions.

How are you like the lily? What do you need to thrive today?

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew

Thriving in God’s Protection

Our focus for the month of August is Thriving in God’s Protection. Isaiah 43.2 is the verse we will use to focus on God’s protection. We read, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you”.

In Isaiah chapter 42, we see God reminding the Israelites they are his “chosen people in whom he delights” (v. 1) and in verse 6, he tells them he “will take you by the hand and keep you..” As chapter 42 continues, God also reminds Israel of their failure to hear and see what God is doing in their life. In chapter 43, God reminds Israel that in spite of their failure to hear and see, God has redeemed them and called them by name.

He will not allow them to be overwhelmed or consumed by the waters and fires of life.

We see examples of God’s people thriving in his protection. Exodus 14 tells of how, at the Red Sea, God parted the waters for his people to pass through and then let them fall upon the Egyptians, drowning them. In Joshua 3, God held the waters of the Jordan River back while the priests stood there with the Ark of the Covenant until all the people had passed through the river. We see God’s protection of Daniel and his friends from the heat of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3. All throughout scripture, God is protecting his people.

I challenge you to ask yourself how you are thriving in God’s protection this day, this week, this month. Are you feeling overwhelmed, consumed? If so, remember, God has called you and he is transforming you with the power of His redeeming grace.

Rest in his grace, Chaplain Val

Baruch Senior Ministries Celebrates 25th Anniversary and Announces Executive Transition

Baruch Senior Ministries, a 501(c)(3) faith-based nonprofit, and the 13th largest nonprofit assisted living provider in the country, celebrates 25 years of serving seniors throughout the state of Michigan. Along with this celebration, Baruch announced an important transition within their Executive Team.


In 1997, Baruch Senior Ministries was founded with an emphasis on the spiritual care of residents and providing an affordable program that enabled seniors to make Baruch communities their homes. The Lifetime Promise adds the assurance that they can stay even in times of financial and medical hardship. Since then, the organization has grown to serve 27 communities across the state of Michigan and plans to continue to expand its reach and mission in the coming years. While the communities served span throughout the state, Baruch’s corporate office is located in Grand Rapids, MI.


On July 1, 2022, Baruch announced that their CEO and Founder, Tom Nobel, transitioned to the part-time role of Founder & Executive Chairman. In his place, Mitch McNeal assumed the role of President and CEO. Mitch has served as the President of Baruch Senior Ministries since 2018 and has devoted 11 years in total to the organization.


As of July 1, the Executive Team also includes the promotion of Connie Clauson as Chief Operating Officer and James Tew as Chief Financial Officer. Connie has been instrumental for 22 years in overseeing Baruch operations as Executive Vice President. James has also made major contributions as Vice President of Finance and developing Baruch’s in-house finance function.


“In a few months, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Baruch, and more importantly, celebrating God’s goodness and blessings over those years,” Founder Tom Nobel said, “I’m confident that the executive team will continue to look to God’s guidance while using their gifts to honor God and serve people as they age.”


Baruch Senior Ministries is a faith-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring God by serving people as they age. Baruch currently has 27 assisted living communities across the state of Michigan that seek to care for seniors while upholding Biblical principles. Their focus in each community is to create a compassionate and loving environment where seniors can make a lasting home.