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It will be Well

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“He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my footsteps and establishing my path.”
Psalm 40:2b (AMP)

2018 came in with a vengeance. On top of seeing snow in unexpected places this year, we have seen a number of tragedies, deaths, illnesses, among other life-altering challenges. It’s almost as if the bottom fell out and many of you find yourselves trying to find sure footing again. Is there a place of certainty that I can find rest? Is there hope for me, my family, and our future?

Even in this moment of transition I speak peace to the weary souls that are at a place of turmoil. I speak rest to your minds from the anxious toil. Cease striving trying to figure it all out and rest in the unfailing love of the Father; for He gives rest to His beloved.

We must learn to accept His sovereignty and receive His grace. There are situations we will never be able to understand. We are to trust that God has it all under control and He is working it all together for our good. He will also reveal His plan as time unfolds.

2 Corinthians 12:9 encourages us to rely on the grace of God; “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul wanted God to remove the problems he faced because they seemed too much for him to bear, but God knowing all too well the purpose of those trials encouraged Him that His power was all He needed.

I challenge you today as you read this to take a step back and ask God to help you see your situation through His eyes. In times like these we need Him to broaden our perspective. As He does take comfort in the rest that He has already provided; be still my friend and know that He is God. There is nothing too hard for our God to handle. When everything around you is shaking, He is a firm foundation. He is the rock of ages. He knows how to steady you and establish your footing on solid ground.

Father, teach me to rest in your unfailing love. I admit I get lost trying to find my way through life’s ups and downs. I don’t always know where to go or what to think. I don’t always know what to do, but you do. May I take comfort in knowing that Your purposes for me will be fulfilled. There is nothing that I will encounter that can separate me from Your love. Thank you, Father. In Jesus’s name Amen.

By Mary Pinckney
Used by Permission

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Paradise Road – Story of Shining Your Light

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You are the light of the world…let your light shine before menJohn 5:16

Someone told me that we influence at least 250 people during our lifetime. (I was told this number was chosen because this is how many people usually show up at a funeral.) Today, with the Internet connecting us with more people, I believe our influence is much greater.

I recently watched a true story  video called, Paradise Road. It told of a woman who used her influence and training to give a group of women hope, courage, peace, unity and a reason to keep living.

The women were prisoners of war. They came from diverse backgrounds – high society and farmers. They were from different countries. At first they didn’t trust each other, but as life became more difficult for them, they began to work together.

God used one woman in an amazing way. With her music and organizational abilities, she united the women to form an orchestra and patiently taught them how to use their voices to sound like instruments. Soon they were able to create a beautiful concert.

She gave them something beautiful to focus on besides their own misery and their horrific surroundings. Every day women died at the hands of their captors or from disease, but the group was able to keep going because of her courage.

There were, of course, some women who wouldn’t join the choir and watched from afar, but most followed her.

Over half the women in the choir died. One day, when they were having yet another funeral procession, one of the guards asked her, “Where is your choir now?”

Instead of letting his remark discourage her, she picked up two rocks and began banging out a rhythm. Soon others followed her example, using sticks, shoes – whatever they could find. They were an orchestra again and were encouraged. Even those who usually sat and watched joined in the music.

Finally the war was over and they were set free. This woman had given them hope, courage, and even joy by inspiring them to make something beautiful in dire circumstances.

You are like this woman when Jesus Christ controls your life,

You shine like stars…as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:15).

You help women see something beautiful in life, no matter the circumstances. You are the light of the world.

Think for a moment about the people you influence. The ones you meet at your local coffee shop, the grocery store, clothing store and online, as well as your neighbors, coworkers, church and family. God can use you to help introduce people you know to Christ, the One who brings light into our souls and eyes. Why not point them to the gospel in the related article below.

Father of light, we thank You that You place joy, hope, light and a reason to keep living in our hearts. Give us the courage to spread that light to everyone with whom we come into contact. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
Used by Permission

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Forgiven

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I do not write this lightly, I’ve lived it and learned (slowly at times) that the way we forgive people who have deeply hurt us is nowhere close to the forgiveness with which God forgives us.

As I have repeatedly read the story of Joseph’s reconciliation (Genesis 37-50) with his brothers, I have been moved each time by the deep compassion and mercy he extended to his brothers. He taught us a valuable and beautiful lesson on forgiveness.

We don’t know how long it took him to reach that level of forgiveness after his brothers plotted to murder him, tossed him into a pit, and then sold him into slavery. In my personal opinion, I doubt it was early on because the hurt was so fresh and deep at that time. Maybe it was a work God accomplished in his heart through a slow and gradual process over the many years he was falsely imprisoned.

Maybe it was when he was released from prison and saw the enormous responsibility and position God had placed him in. Maybe his heart was opened then to a deeper understanding of God’s ways, as He learned God’s assignment for him was to save the people from famine.

Whenever it was that the healing work of forgiveness took place in Joseph’s heart, I am thankful that he obediently humbled himself and allowed God to bring this about in him. I have seen many people resist God’s work of forgiveness in their lives, and the result is always bitterness. Sometimes it is a very evident, outwardly visible root of bitterness. Sometimes it is a hidden, pushed down, denied form of bitterness, and yet it still spills forth in the life of the unforgiving person.

The evidence of genuine forgiveness was displayed when Joseph was reunited with his brothers and he didn’t condemn them.  He wept and cried and assured them that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. He took care of them and re-established relationship with them.

When others have deeply hurt and betrayed us, may we find it in our hearts to forgive as God forgives, as God taught Joseph to forgive, and as Stephen forgave those who stoned him (Acts 6 and 7). Stephen’s story is compelling beyond words. With his dying breath, he forgave those who were taking his life.

Following the example of Joseph, Stephen, and Jesus Christ, may we hold no charge against our offenders and betrayers and toss their offense ‘as far as the east is from the west’ (Psalm 103:12). God wants us to give mercy to others as He has been merciful to us. He wants us to forgive as we have been forgiven.

Colossians 3:12b-13 teaches us to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission
From: Devotions from the Heart

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Seeking God

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Listen to the Word of God and be blessed with the passionate cry of the psalmist in Psalm 63:1.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you.”

And in Psalm 42:1.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”

Be blessed to live from that deep cry of seeking God in your innermost being, longing for more of him, digging in to know him more intimately. Your Father desires constant communion of your spirit with his Spirit. Be blessed with directing the thirst of your soul to communion with him. Be blessed with getting out of your head and into your spirit, meeting God personally and profoundly.

Be blessed to know that God is who he said he is, and he can do and will do what he says he can do and will do, and he can presently do it in your life. He is the I Am to do it in you today. He is personal and powerful, and he alone satisfies. Jesus is standing and knocking at your heart’s door, waiting for you to open up to him for satisfying fellowship (Revelations 3:20). Jesus invites you to a table set for two. He wants your love, and he will be satisfied when you fulfill his heart by opening up to him.

Be blessed with knowing your covenant-keeping God of promise as you seek him and keep company with him in Spirit and in truth. Be blessed with more of his Spirit, not more how-to’s to make you feel guilty or more religious. Be blessed to discover him more as his Spirit lives in you to fulfill your deepest cries. Be blessed to encounter him in such dimensions that you feel as if you have never breathed spiritually before.

Be blessed in his name Rewarder of those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6).

by Sylvia Gunter
Used by Permission
From: You Are Blessed In The Names Of God

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God is with me—even in the Dark

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Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.” Isaiah 50:10

In the Bible a new day begins with darkness. In Genesis chapter 1 each new day is introduced with the words, “and there was evening, and there was morning—the first day“. The second day, and so on.

When God wants to take us into a new day of spiritual experience, He often begins with darkness. He leads us into a period of confusion, pain and disappointment. Take Joseph for example. God had told him that he would be ruling one day. Instead, for years he endured the exact opposite. He was rejected by his brothers, sold into slavery and endured a long imprisonment. Yet, all the while God was preparing him for a new day when the promise would become reality.

Are you in a time of darkness? You can’t see the way. You don’t understand what’s happening. It makes no sense to you. Tell God about it and then leave it with Him. He knows the way and He is leading you into a new day.

God has promised us treasures of darkness. “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by name “ (Isaiah 45:3).

The greatest treasure is to know God in a deeper way: to know that God is real and He meets real needs. It’s in the dark that God’s picture unfolds.

God says, “Trust Me. Don’t try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust Me and thank Me in advance for the good that will come out of it all.”

It will be a surprise how God will break into your life this time.

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:4,5).

by Helen Lescheid
Used by Permission Visit http://www.helenlescheid.com

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Be Transformed

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Proverbs 27:19 says, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

Have you ever struggled with stubborn sin in your life and become discouraged because you just couldn’t seem to overcome it?  I have.  There was a time when I desperately wanted to change some things the Lord had revealed to me about myself.  It just seemed, however, that the more I thought about them and prayed about them, the worse they became.  Then the Lord revealed to me that I wasn’t changing because I was focusing on the problem, not on Him.

There’s a principal I learned about displacement and replacement. It had to do with self-esteem.  Picture a bucket filled with water.  The water represents the good things about you.  Then, as people chip away at your self-esteem by saying negative things, the negatives are like pebbles.  When you drop a pebble in the bucket, the water, your good qualities, splashes over the edge and out of your bucket.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The Bible also says in Ephesians 4:22-23,

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

So the question is, “How does this transformation take place?”  We find the answer in Philippians 4:8,

Finally, brothers, 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.”

It is the Word of God that renews our mind!  In my bucket, I look at the water as my old self, the sin I want to remove from my life.  The pebbles are God’s Word.  So each time I focus on God’s Word, His pebbles are dropped in my bucket.  It is God’s Word which displaces the sin in my life and replaces it with His righteousness and holiness.

PrayerMy most gracious and holy Father, I come to you today with stubborn sin in my life for which I ask your forgiveness.  Keep me focused on your Word, Lord, that through your power my old self will vanish and your righteousness and holiness will reign in my heart and actions.  Guide me and grant me wisdom so my heart will be transformed to one which reflects you, O Lord. Praise and glory and honor be to you throughout eternity.  Amen.

by Sherry Yarger
Used by Permission

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Suffering and Sovereignty

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But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.
2 Corinthians 7:6

Owen Shramek lived for only twenty minutes after he was born. His father, Dustin, struggled with anger. During the first months after the baby’s death, Dustin admits he felt very little comfort from God. He prayed, “God, I know You are sovereign.  I know that You are in control.  But the least You could do is draw near to us and give us comfort.”

Well, on the six month anniversary, Dustin was reading through the mail. Letters came from God’s people all over the world.  He came across the Bible verse: “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.”  God was answering his prayer through fellow Christians!

Dear one, be comforted. We are part of the Body of Christ. And it’s through this Body that He ministers to us. Even in our darkest days.

by Vonette Bright
Used by Permission

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Hope Changes Everything

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Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God Psalm 43:5

A couple of weeks ago, before our recent snowfall, I looked out the window into our backyard. The grass was brown and the trees were bare. The bird feeder was empty and uninviting. (We fill it when the ground is covered with snow.)

It was a depressing scene, and yet I saw hope. In a few months the trees will have buds and the grass will turn green again. The birds will return to their nests and baby birds will learn to fly.

I know there is hope in the dead of winter because spring will come again. Every year. Without fail, the cold days will become warm again.

The weather seasons will change, but sometimes the seasons of life feel long and drawn out.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through life without knowing Jesus.

With Jesus, I know I’m not alone and that no matter how long winter seems to last, I know it will not go on forever.
Without winter, there would be no spring.

Without death, there would be no resurrection.

Without the valley, I wouldn’t see the mountain.

Without the hard days, I wouldn’t enjoy the good days.

Without chaos, I wouldn’t appreciate the quiet days.

Without Jesus, there would be no light to break through the darkness.

I don’t know what season of life you’re walking through, but I encourage you to not give up.

The calendar pages turn and the new life of spring will be here before we know it.

God is most certainly at work, whether we can see it or not. Life seasons change, often much slower or quicker than we would like. But in every season there is hope.

Because of Jesus, there is always hope. And hope changes everything.

By Laura Rath
Used by Permission
From https://laurarath.blogspot.ca/

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Blessings, Praise and Guidance

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Lord, you are to be blessed and praised;
All good things come from you:
You are in our words and in our thoughts,
And in all that we do.   Amen
St Teresa of Avila

How often do we think like St Teresa?  Knowing absolutely that everything we are saying and doing comes from God?  I know, speaking for myself  that it is not easy to praise and feel blessed when things are not going well, especially when I find myself faced with the problems and trials of everyday living.  It is very easy to count blessings and see God in everything when things are going well and going the way we wish them to, but it is so hard to feel blessed and want to praise when they aren’t.

One of the things that I have learned to do when things seem the darkest is to look around me and see the many blessings that are right there beside me.  The blessing of sunshine, the rain falling on parched land, the excited voices of small children playing, the many colors of the flowers or trees that are so close to me,  or even the food that will sustain me throughout the days that are to come.  If I am lucky enough to be near the ocean all I have to do is look far out to the horizon and realize that God is to be blessed and praised and that just as He is in midst of the tides He is also in me.  There are so many blessings around us and all we have to do is recognize them.

Prayer
Blessed One, sometimes it is hard for me to see the blessings that are all around me.  Enable my eyes to be opened to the beauty and the joys that surround me.  Help me to see the blessings in every situation and respond with thanks and praise, just as St Teresa did.  Amen

Response
Receive the blessings and guidance that God is offering you and give thanks.  Even if you don’t feel like praising, or you feel God’s presence and his blessings are far away, simply sit and feel His presence which is one of the most beautiful blessings.  He will understand.

by Terry Stead
Used by Permission

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A New Identity

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Linda had a very low self-esteem. She’d always felt second-rate in her own family. Ugly. Like she was a nuisance to have around. I’m programmed to be a looser, she thought. How can I possibly be anything else? She lived in defeat and despair.

Then Linda learned about Jesus Christ, how he had come to save us from sin and give us a new life. Hope began to whisper that she could be set free from her sin and the negative influences of her past. She gave her life to Christ. She began to read God’s Word and apply it to her heart.

When negative voices shouted, “you’re a failure; you’re no good” she would counter, “I don’t have to listen to you. That’s not who I am anymore. God has chosen me before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) It gave him great pleasure to adopt me as His child (Ephesians 1:5) I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13) She wrote these verses and others on cards so that she could carry them with her and say them often.

As she fed on God’s truths, her self-esteem grew. She began to excel in school, became a registered nurse, and a well-loved public speaker.

Linda affirms that it’s not what has happened to us in the past, but our belief system at the present–what we believe about God and ourselves now–that determines success or failure. Success is not mind over matter, but truth over error. “The truth will set you free,” Jesus said. (John 8:32)

Jesus, I am so thankful that because you live in me I have all that I need to live a godly life which brings blessing to You and to others.

by Helen Lescheid
Used by Permission
To read more of Helen’s writings go to http://www.helenlescheid.com

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Who Alone is Worthy

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“Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’ Revelation 4:8

The book of Revelation gives us a myriad of examples of how to worship God and outlines many reasons why He is worthy of our praise. Revelation chapter four portrays living creatures constantly glorifying God with the words, “Holy, holy, holy.” Elders fall prostrate before God and relinquish their glory, power, and wealth to Him.

As the self-existent One, God is worthy of our praise. Before the world began, He was; in this moment, He is; at any and every future time, He will be. He is holy and unique, unlike any other.

God sits enthroned above all heaven and earth. God reigns more powerful than any other ruler, physical or spiritual, seen or unseen. God created all things. By His word and by His will, all creatures exist. His power alone sustains every living thing.

God is worthy. We need no other reason to worship Him.

Holy God, You alone are worthy of my praise. I worship You because You are holy and because You created and sustain all things. Like the elders, I humble myself and acknowledge that any glory, power, or wealth I have comes from You. Amen.

By Suzanne Benner

Used by Permission
https://thelife.com/devotionals

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Sacred Romance

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Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to Him, so He can show you His love” Isaiah 30:18

I read a book entitled The Sacred Romance. The author calls God’s love for us, “The Sacred Romance.” And he calls the enemy’s attempts to lure us away from God, “The Arrows.”

Here is an excerpt that touched my heart deeply:

Indeed, if we listen, a Sacred Romance calls to us through our heart every moment of our lives. It whispers to us on the wind, invites us through the laughter of good friends, reaches out to us through the touch of someone we love. We heard it in our favorite music, sensed it at the birth of our first child, have been drawn to it while watching the shimmer of a sunset on the ocean. The Romance is even present in times of great personal suffering; the illness of a child, the loss of a marriage, the death of friend. Something calls to us through experiences like these and rouses an inconsolable longing deep within our heart, wakening in us a yearning for intimacy, beauty and adventure.

This longing is the most powerful part of any human personality. It fuels our search for meaning, for wholeness, for a sense of being truly alive.

This longing is real. This longing is God-given and cannot be satisfied by anyone or anything but God.

When I first read the book, memories came to mind about times when I knew for sure God was there in a very special, but quiet way.

There were the times when, as a pre-teen, I’d go fishing in the in the stream that ran through our dairy farm. It was so quiet yet God’s presence was so real. Can you think of a time like that?

I knew God loved me very much shortly after the death of my brother, Frank. God gave me two dreams where my brother was alive. After the last one, I awoke and said to God, “Let me look at him a little while longer.” And He did.

I know God shows his love for me when I see the miracle of a new baby – at the birth of each of our children and grandchildren. God brings so much joy, fun and delight into our lives as we watch these little ones develop. He gives us joy!

I know He loves me when He gives the words of wisdom or kindness to help a person understand how much God loves them.

I know God loves me whenever my husband, Marvin, smiles at me.  He is the light of my life.

God is waiting to show us His love in all of its fullness – in our joy and in our sorrow. Sometimes we are just too busy to recognize Him.

There is nothing more significant I could wish and pray for you than that you would take the time to recognize the “Sacred Romance” in your life. I want to encourage you to reflect and make a list of times when God has shown you that He is your “Sacred Romance.

Father, thank You for pursuing us. Thank You for loving us so much for providing those special moments of “Sacred Romance.” Help us to recognize them. God, help us to receive all the love You have for us.  Amen.

by Katherine Kehler
Used by Permission


Would you like to know the love of God and be in a personal loving relationship with him and experience his unconditional love? You can do so right now by earnestly praying a simple suggested prayer. God knows your heart so the exact words don’t matter, but this is a sample:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of woman you want me to be.

If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.

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Knowing Him Better

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I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”  Ephesians 1:17

Does your heart desire to know God better? The deep longing we all have “for more” is the yearning to know God better. We often don’t recognize it. We sometimes think the answer to our yearning is more stuff, more money, a new place to live, a new relationship, a different job, a new challenge.

Ask God today for His Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know Him better.

It’s a gift that God gives willingly to willing recipients.

Pay attention to the restless yearning within you today and turn your eyes and your prayers to God and ask for His Spirit of wisdom and revelation.

Ask for it in your circumstances; in your relationships; in the details of your life so that you may see how God is at work; so you know Him better.

Let Him meet the need of your heart today. Enjoy getting to know Him better.

Father God,

I thank you that You are willing and able to give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I may know you better right where I walk today. I ask for Your wisdom and revelation. I want to know you better. Thank you for this gift that You impart to those who ask. May I know you today in a way that yesterday I did not. Thank you that You desire to draw us closer to You and to meet the yearnings of our hearts. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

by Gail Rodgers
Used by Permission

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I Have Much to Say to You

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I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you.”  John 16:12-14

When I first trusted Jesus as my Savior and asked Him to be Lord of my life, He began to transform my life beyond what I thought possible — rebuilding my life’s foundation and values on God’s word. The Spirit of God guided me and spoke to my heart. Jesus became more real to me. I was changing so rapidly I thought, “Oh my goodness, at this rate I should be perfect in about 10 years!” Ha! (Yes, my naivety still makes me laugh out loud!)

What I didn’t realize is that getting to know and follow Jesus is a life long journey. The Lord always has much more to say to us. At every stage of growth and maturity, there are things we cannot yet bear. Thankfully, He continues to lead us into all truth if we allow Him. As we respond to the Spirit of truth and apply/obey what He shows us, then He reveals more.

Are our hearts willingly surrendered and ready to embrace truth? Do we have ears to hear what the Spirit wants to say to us? Or do we close ourselves off when we don’t want to hear what He says or obey or align our lives with His truth?

I have never heard God’s voice audibly, but He speaks to my innermost being through His Word by His Spirit. I thank God He speaks. The Lord promises that His sheep hear His voice. Are we truly listening?

Father God, thank you that you speak. You promise to lead us into all truth. Oh, Lord, please give us ears to hear you and hearts that are responsive to you. Help us be willing to surrender, to let you lead and willingly embrace your will over our own. Open our eyes that we might see you and our ears that we might hear you. Help us hear the much more you have to say to us…. In Jesus’ powerful and precious Name, AMEN!

By Donna Mitchell
Used by Permission
www.thelife.com/dailydevotions

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An Act of Devotion

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“I know the greatness of the Lord -that our Lord is greater than any other god.” Psalm 135:5 (NLT)

Dictionary.com defines “devotion” as “profound dedication; consecration” and “earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.” We know that devotion is our 24/7 way of being with God. At the same time, setting aside consecrated time daily to spend with God is my act of devotion; of showing God my profound dedication to Him. It is not a matter of habit or religious duty, but rather it flows out of love.

During this time before our Lord, our Heavenly Father becomes the central focus of our devotion. We worship Him, and only Him. We can come, not only because we love God, but also because we know that God loves us unconditionally. We can come without our armor. We can come expectant and with our hearts opened up to Him. From this central place of devotion, we can move out into the rest of the day, pointing our life towards our King.

Reflection:
What brings you today to spend time with our Lord?

Prayer:
Dear Father, I am devoted to You. May I center my day around You today, so that I can walk in the great Love You have for me.

By Idelette McVicker
Used by Permission

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