For those who have lost track of me, I have moved blogs, short stories, movie reviews and many other inspiring writings to Sonrisen.com.

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This is a “Good Morning” type devotional website. You’ll enjoy it.

You can always write Beloved Blogger at awake@Sonrisen.com

I would love to hear from you.

Beloved Blogger



A Valentine Brother

Love stories come in various shapes and sizes. And speaking of size, our family was a large one with seven kids. The perspective from the sixth position is one of always looking up.

I looked up to my brother Paul as the first-born boy, but also because God had given him a lot of wisdom from his early years.

In the era of my youth, sports were often a huge part of a boy’s life. Paul was a rock star. He could throw a football and lead a team and he would score 25 in a basketball game as a point guard for our high school.

But Paul wasn’t just a jock. Paul was gifted in many areas. He was a reader, a thinker, and above all, a listener and a counselor.

There were countless times as a pre-teen and then as an adolescent where I’d walk down the hall, turn right in to his bedroom, cross diagonally toward his desk and kind of park myself next to him and talk…and talk…and talk.

Sure, girls and relationships would become an increasing part of the mix. Even in this delicate area, he seemed to come up with sound advice.

He became my dad’s understudy and he would eventually become an All-Star father of five.

A few years later, we would keep up this brotherly dialogue as he’d take me back to college in his VW Bug through snowstorms and all sorts of weather. He always seemed to be a quick-study on personalities and bents. This knack made me feel very secure. Whether it was in his room, his Beetle, or later, over long distance calls, talking with Paul was as safe as a confessional booth.

My heart sunk my senior year in college when Paul was transferred to California. Ma Bell would have to do. She certainly cooperated and since then, we have probably logged over 1,000 hours easily; maybe a few thousand at that.

Through the years, we even celebrated our birthdays together – me on February 15 and he on the sixteenth. Now, we have it on the same day. Here’s how it’s done. I call him after midnight from the east coast so it’s his birthday here and still my birthday on the west coast.

Today, he celebrates his sixty-third birthday and nothing has changed over those many decades. He still is an All-Star with his ears and his heart. And that is certainly not limited to me. Oh, I still lean on him for his counsel. But I also see how he guides his children and offers these same qualities to so many.

My portal to heaven regarding my brother is how God will put someone who acts as His surrogate-of-sortsIMG_1299 into our life so as to prepare us for those same kind of conversations with Himself.

It’s funny. The opposite gender still comes up as we are both married and have eight girls between us. Sports and politics make their way in as easily as cars merge onto highways from ramps.

But appropriately enough, our talks have shifted over the years to our experiences with God and His walk with us. It only makes sense. After all, it was He who placed Paul just a few steps down the hall, to the right and diagonally across.

“Love one another with brotherly affection.”

Paul (the other one…The Apostle) from Romans 12:10



Although Mark Temple understood he was a mere mortal on the new year, he was infinitely more aware of it by April when he got a diagnosis for throat cancer.

“You’re not going to be around forever,” he felt God saying. “I’m not messing around. What do I have to do to get your attention?”

Mark is an intelligent and prosperous man. Spiritual deafness is not part of his character. So what was stalling God’s agenda in his life?

“There were the typical distractions of running a successful business and all the trappings that come along with that,” he said.

As one who has been in the hearing field for a good part of his career, I can tell you that “background noise” is one of the leading motivators for patients to get hearing aids. It’s hard to hear over distractions.

Were there nebulous reasons why God was grabbing him by the collar? On the contrary, Mark was aware of precise works that God had been nudging him about and that made this infraction a bit more serious.

My portal to heaven was thinking on my own spiritual hearing loss and the universality of essentially ignoring God, or at least His timing and urgency.

Oh well, I guess that’s what collars are for.

[to be continued…]

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.”Jonah 3:1-3a

I suffer from being a human – especially when it comes to planning for a new year.

As I look upon sheep and meditate on Psalm 23, I realize that sheep really don’t know where they are going. They are simply led to where they are going. So, it’s one step at a time following a voice command, and occasionally, a gentle or swift poke in the butt.

In a word, they trust.

One morning when I was in Israel, I had some devotional time on what I vaguely remember being the outskirts of Jerusalem. A shepherd was leading some sheep along a hill. But as he got to some rather large bushes, the sheep seemed to disappear into them. It seemed like close to a half hour before he got them out of there, rounded them back up and continued on his journey.

My portal to heaven through that experience and Psalm 23 is that sheep don’t think ahead. They are led. Whether it’s feeding, rest, protection, direction or whatever, they simply rely on their leader.

Millions of us who claim to follow The Good Shepherd could learn a lot from dumb sheep as we plan our year ahead, make intricate goals and envision dreams that we consider so dear to us.

Sheep don't know where they are going - even in Israel.

Sheep don’t know where they are going – even in Israel.

“He leads me…” Psalm 23:2b


We have exciting news regarding this blog. It now comes five days a week in the form of a “Monday No-Mourning” piece, a shorter devotional-style called “Sonrise” from Tuesday-Thursday and our weekly “Weekend Warrior” on Fridays.

Hopefully, you are already receiving these. I love to write these blogs. When the new JournalWithGod.com website is redesigned, we hope to simply have these posts dropped into your email which will connect you with the site so you can read-and-journal; one-stop shop.

I must apologize for neglecting to inform readers that we transitioned to this format. The Beloved Blogger is my pen name. If you are not receiving it in the format mentioned above, contact us at journalwithGod@gmail.com and we will make sure you get it in your email.

We LOVE hearing from you: journalwithGod@gmail.com

Robert J. LaCosta

The Beloved Blogger


We have exciting news regarding this blog. It now comes five days a week in the form of a “Monday No-Mourning” piece, a shorter devotional-style called “Sonrise” from Tuesday-Thursday and our weekly “Weekend Warrior” on Fridays.

I must apologize for neglecting to inform readers that we transitioned to this format. The Beloved Blogger, the name I write under, comes to you in email form. If you are not receiving it, contact us at journalwithGod@gmail.com and we will make sure you get it in your email.

We love hearing from you: journalwithGod@gmail.com

Robert J. LaCosta

The Beloved Blogger

January 15th marks the second anniversary of the passing of my spiritual dad, Royal A. Cutler, Jr….

FullSizeRender copy 21This piece of paper is on my desk. As you can see from the photo, Royal’s exercises well into his nineties would tire many people of a lesser age. I can’t remember if he showed all of them to me. But what I do remember is the vigor and determination with which he went through them.

And part of what spurred him on was his heart attack in his sixties and the physician who told him he’d be lucky to get another 10 years out of his life. The doc only missed that one by a couple of decades.

Exercise can be thought of in a lot of ways and the particular one that Royal helped me learn was exercising love. Like his arm twirls or knee bends, loving stronger was something he practiced over the years. I can recall asking him about the last time he really lost his temper. He thought long and hard and humbly said, “Probably 15 or 20 years ago.” Even his memory was sketchy, that kind of “exercising” is what is reminiscent of another elderly man who just happened to pen The First Epistle of John.

The Apostle John must have exercised this type of love for many decades before he could stuff the word “love” thirty-four times into roughly one chapter. I implore you to read it for yourself.

So if you’re wondering, “Why this scrap of paper is on my desk?” Let’s just say I’m one of those guys who has trouble getting his workout in even when it’s right in front of me.

Fight Frigid!

IMG_1949These are frigid times but we have to keep the fires of our hearts going just as we double-check our heating systems during these cold snaps.

Jesus said, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Matthew 24:12

So feed your furnace with The Word; remain in The Vine. Figuratively and literally, stay close to the brethren (and your spouse if you are married): “If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:11

As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual: “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 15:46

David Mathis wrote:

“When you memorize a ‘gospel verse,’ and keep it warm, you have hidden in your heart a divinely inspired and inerrant expression, in human language, of the very point of the whole Bible and all of history. You carry with you the sword of the Spirit in its strongest alloy. One-sentence encapsulations of the Bible’s central message strengthen our spiritual backbone and solidify our core, rooting us deep down in the bedrock of God’s heart and the nature of the world he made, and sending us into confident combat with unbelief, whether our own or someone’s else. ‘Gospel verses’ are invaluable in both evangelism and discipleship.”

See his keen insight on this subject at http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/ten-gospel-verses-to-keep-warm

We were made to fight or minister in the opposite spirit. Sometimes this feels like a rough assignment. The end of the matter is this: we are not alone. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8



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The recent ordeal of my mother-in-law’s extended critical-status at the hospital solidified my belief in prayer and boosted my appreciation for the care and competency of medical personnel and hospitals in general.

But another thing I got out of her “close call” was how much love can be squeezed around a bedside.

Today is the shared birthday of my twin brother-in-laws, Michael and Anthony Cavaleri. Hopefully, they will get the best birthday present they have ever received. It seems only appropriate that Mom will come home from the hospital on their big day.

Throughout this past month, they have alternated sleeping at the hospital, talking to the medical staff, making decisions and keeping everyone in the loop. If you’ve been through such a crisis, you are well aware of how sleep deprivation only adds to the anxiety and long hours of watching your loved one suffer.

Through blood-shot eyes, they kept close watch over “Mother Theresa” and their disheveled hair and general “grunge” sensation didn’t dissuade them in the least.

It reminds me of the love that Jesus had for His mother through the last command of His life when He said to John, “Behold your mother!” (John 19:27)

I don’t know how many birthday presents Michael and Anthony actually remember receiving over the years. I pray this is one they’ll never forget.



It’s Christmas Day and “Mother Theresa,” as Mom Theresa Cavaleri is known, is struggling for her life in Intensive Care Unit.  A seemingly relentless infection has baffled the medical staff for a couple of weeks and has worn her down.

Her nickname is earned as she constantly thinks of others. Even when being awakened in this horribly weakened state, she still says, “Have a seat,” “Thank you,” or “Hi, Bob” before drifting back into a coma-like existence. For seven years, I witnessed, as did the staff at the nursing home, her daily vigils to the chair-side, bedside and table-side of her late husband. She ended up helping a lot of other residents as well. She’s like the prayers that went up for George Bailey in “It’s A Wonderful Life” where the intercessor told God, “He never thinks of himself.”

I can’t say I’m praying for her when I ask for her life to be spared. She and The Lord are two of a kind. If He wishes, He has every right to take her home and she has every right to be with Him. It’s for all of us around her that I beg God not to take her just yet. We need her. I know some of you understand how critical these givers are on the scale of life. You probably have some in your life. So, if you can relate to this plea, I ask you to pray for just a few more years of her Christian witness for the rest of us.

Before Mom got ill, I had a lot of ideas of which presents I wanted to get people and how I wanted to spend Christmas. Now, all I want for Christmas is Mom’s life.