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Speak the Truth in Love

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Prayer, Dear Lord, thank you for loving me

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:15-16

She picked up the phone and began speaking as soon as she heard the familiar voice. “I need to talk to you about something. I think you’ve been manipulative lately.
There, she had said it. The thing she had been dying to say for years. Breathing, she waited for the reply, hoping for a heartfelt apology. Instead she heard only a blaring dial tone.

Most of us can attest to a time when we made a similar call or when someone abruptly confronted us. Most of the time confrontation doesn’t go well. We often forget to share both truth and love when we’re trying to influence someone. Does that mean we should give up altogether? No. It can be messy relating with the difficult people in our lives, but God promises that we will all grow through this very act.

When we share Jesus with someone we care about, we are offering him or her a chance to have eternal life. If she is already His disciple, we are trying to help her in their own influence on a world that needs Christ desperately. Don’t give up on these most important conversations. The next time you need to speak to someone about something important, ask the Holy Spirit to help you speak the truth in love. Luke 12:12 promises that at that very moment, God will give you the words.

Dear Lord, thank You for giving me a circle of influence in which I can grow as well as help others to grow up in their giftedness. Help me to know who You want me to talk to, when to talk to them, and most of all, what to say. I am sorry for the times I have ill-used another person in the name of truth. Please help me to speak from a place of love before I try to help. Thank You for loving me, and for always speaking both love and truth into my life, so I may do my part in this world more perfectly. In Jesus’ name, amen.

By Crista Hardin

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Pruning Your Life

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“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.John 15:2 (NASB)

Imagine holding an overflowing grocery bag in one hand and a squirmy toddler’s hand in the other. Then, you try to open the door for someone else. In my view, there are only a few disastrous possibilities. One: you will trip and fall. Two: you will drop the groceries. Three: you will let go of your toddler’s hand, and she runs away, making the possible outcome potentially catastrophic.

Don’t get me wrong, living a full life is a good thing. Jesus wants that for you! But there are so many branches in life that could easily grow out of control. Committees, clubs, classes, along with many more daily responsibilities fill up the day. However, if you say yes to each and every one, you don’t produce a healthy harvest. Instead, you end up giving haphazardly out of your emptiness and don’t experience the fullness of God.

How much do you trust your Father to prune your life? God wants to do this. If you take time to listen to Him, He will show you just what He wants to do so that You can produce even more amazing fruit!

Dear Father, thank You for Your wisdom and guidance in my life. Please help me to see how I can glorify You with each and every moment. If there are things that need to be pruned in my life so that other areas can thrive, I pray I would courageously take that step. If you want me to continue at this pace, I know You will provide the means. May You be glorified in all the things I accomplish. Amen.

By Christa Hardin

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A Spiritual Touch Up

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Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’Isaiah 6:8 (NASB)

The time for touching up the home has come. Christmas items are all put away, and if you are like most people, a fresh coat of paint and a bit of creative decorating are needed to cover up the nail holes from the stockings and the empty spots where the Christmas cards once dazzled. The bare house that was once full of laughter, fellowship, and squeals has become quiet and predictable.

Although facing another year gone can be more than a little disappointing, the time has come to set a new goal. But what should that be?

God knows what you are supposed to be focusing on, rest assured. Have you stopped to ask Him? Instead of thinking solely of getting yourself back in track this January, take some time to stop and think about God’s plans for you. When you hear the Lord’s voice saying, “Who will go for Me?” let it be you and I. God’s goal for you this new year is far more important than any to-do list or relation you could make. Don’t miss out!

Lord, I am pulled in so many directions. I want to obey Your voice calling me toward exactly what I need to be doing. I place this desire in front of You today and ask that You would direct my steps. Help me to hear You and what You want for me in this new year. And help me to be bold enough to say, “Lord, here I am, send me.” Amen.

By Crista Hardin

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Sleep in a Bottle

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It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.Psalm 127:2 (NASB)

She frowned as she looked more closely at the label on her concealer bottle. The four-ounce container had cost more than her meal last night; it had promised rejuvenation in a bottle. After using it she looked like she had even less than the four hours of sleep she had actually gotten.

She looked at herself squarely in the mirror, tossed the concealer in the trash, and spent a moment with the Lord. After she prayed, she cancelled a non-essential meeting with her friend, and took a long and much-needed nap before picking her daughter up from preschool. Later in the afternoon, she was much better prepared to hand in a carefully reworked project for her boss with pride and confidence, knowing that she had done her best.

Whether you are sick, emotionally exhausted, overloaded, or just plain busy, remember that Jesus is the great Restorer. He has wise plans for your each and every day, plans that include a restful portion of sleep. That is a gift to you, a breather from the “painful labors” of each day. Submit your plans for today to Him, bowing down to things He may need to change around in order for you to accomplish what is needed. In fact, as you can see through today’s verse, if you trust Him with your rest, He gives to you even while you sleep. Won’t you sleep a little easier knowing just how much your Father loves you?

Dear Lord, I want to please others in my life, but most of all I want to please You. Please teach me to follow Your lead and to receive Your call to rest every time You desire it for me. How amazing is it that You would give to me even in my sleep? Thank You, God! In Jesus’ name, amen.

By Christa Hardin

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Your Dream Job

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There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in every one it is the same God at work.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-5

As a young girl, I knew I wanted to be a counselor. When I was in high school, one of my friends laid on my bed while I gave her relationship counsel and typed notes into my computer. Fast forward 20 years later, and I’m doing the same thing: only this time the clients I work with are talking to me as their marriage therapist and coach.

I knew this seed was planted long ago. But interestingly, at that time in my life, I didn’t know God and doubted my significance. I felt a lack of hope about life in general, so I wouldn’t have done much good to inspire others, even if I did possess a few helpful tools.

When I came to Christ a few years later, I thought about Christian counseling as my floundering passion to help others skyrocketed. I finally had hope, a significant gift to offer in a world that had very little of it. Plus, I had a skill set from which to work. The combination was a perfect fit.

Have you seen God make your gifts even more exciting? As you begin to experience this adventure, remember to do everything in your power to give God glory. Let others know about Him, whether you are working in construction, at the dentist office, or picking up trash. He loves to both bless us and to keep us mindful that He is to be glorified for the wonderful opportunities we have. Our very significance lies in this truth. I know that firsthand.

Dear God, I am so glad I am Yours. I know the lack of purpose and peace that come from not being in fellowship with You, and I never want to go back there. Please help me to give You glory for every gift I have and remind me of my significance to You when I serve you with those gifts. I ask that You would help me to fine-tune my life so that I am always in completely harmony and fellowship with Your precious plans for me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thought: Take a moment to think about what you are spending your time on lately.

By Christa Hardin

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More Articles and Devotionals on Dreams:

A Time to Dream

My Dreams Were too Small

Accomplishing your Dream

Don’t Let Fear and Self Doubt Kill Your Dreams

Dream Big

Lost Dreams

Dreams – Another Perspective

 

 

 

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A Heart of Wisdom

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Everything usually came together smoothly. Maybe it was because she wasn’t as young and spry as she once was. Or maybe she just had added one too many things to her errand list that day. Whatever it was, Denise was beyond embarrassed that she was late for her own dinner party by 15 minutes. Women were dressed up with casseroles at her doorstep, and she was huffing and puffing with drippy old makeup, looking very foolish as she scooted past them to open the door.

If you ever struggle with time management, take heart. You aren’t alone. Many people try to cram in more than they should each day. Scheduling things isn’t bad; there’s something optimistic and very positive about believing that you can do it all.

Jesus wants us to live abundantly. Sometimes, however, that means stopping to smell the roses, enjoying a magnificent sunset, sneaking in extra stories with your children, or just taking a lovely nap. Part of living life to the fullest comes through acknowledging that He is God, and that saying no once in a while isn’t a bad thing.

Dear Lord, Help me to give today — and every day — to You. Help me to live the abundant life to which You call me without making the mistake of believing I am God. Forgive me for running ahead of You at times. I love You and I’m so grateful for Your care over me. Amen.

Thought: Are you just too busy lately? Ask God to give you wisdom for your daily scheduling. Remember: He is in charge, and you are following His all-encompassing lead. Place your hand over your daily to-do list or calendar and give it over to God.

By Christa Hardin

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.

If you are reading this devotional by email you can respond by clicking on this link:
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Walk the Walk

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All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23

She slammed the college rejection letter down angrily. “I guess I’ll work in the food industry my whole life. God, what am I supposed to do?” She immediately regretted bragging to friends and family about her ability to get into any school she wanted. All of them would now know the truth: she is a big fat failure!

Thank goodness this is not the truth. God knows your future, and when a door closes, you are one step closer to your true destination, which is right where God wants you to be. As long as you are hard at work serving God, you will significantly contribute to this world. And when you’re actively on God’s team, we are all better off!

God loves when we work hard, whether we are at college or working behind a fast food counter, at home watching elderly grandparents or children, or even studying with everything we’ve got. Merely talking about how successful we plan to be will only lead to failure and disappointment. But if we cast visions about what we want to do with our lives while taking prayerful and practical steps to get there, we will thrive.

If you are frustrated about a job or school situation today, God is ready to you remind that all hard work brings profit. When you work at something doing your very best, the reward is deep and great.

You may not see what God is doing right away, but when you work to serve and love others in God’s kingdom, you are part of a larger tapestry that is breathtakingly beautiful. Remember Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Dear Jesus, thank You for reminding me that I am part of the work You are doing. Thank You for laying out my life’s plans and dreams and allowing many of them to come true already. I want to do Your will, and to work hard as well. Please help me, in the discouraging moments, to remember that all of my hard work will bring a profit, Lord. I give You my plans and ask that I would walk in You as I serve this world with my gifts. Amen.

Thought: What are your career goals? Are you hoping to excel as a stay-at-home mom or volunteer as a newly retired veteran? Are you at the cusp of a possible promotion or getting ready to open a new business? Whatever your position, work at it your hardest, committing to memory today’s verse.

By Christa Hardin

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.

If you are reading this devotional by email you can respond by clicking on this link:
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Hard to Swallow

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Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.Ephesians 4:29 (NASB)

After church, two women giggled at their rare chance of conversation in the midst of their busy lives. One of them paused for a moment and then thought, “Now, I can get this off my chest,” Pushing down guilt, she shared about how one of her friends had treated her badly. The other woman gasped, sipping her coffee in delighted horror at the fascinating details of her friend’s recounting. The ladies bonded over that trial, validating one another’s concerns and pretending for as brief moment that they themselves were never party to such pithy manipulations.

Deep down however, both women felt a tug of something else during that discussion. Joy didn’t permeate their hearts they way it did when they were in right relationship with God. The gossip that had tasted so good at the beginning was hard to swallow. The Holy Spirit inside of them was reminding them that gossip masquerading itself as righteous recounting doesn’t settle well. It ultimately leads to relationship death, not life.

Next time you are confronted with the urge to share some unsavory news about a friend or family member who has mistreated you, ask yourself if this information will be life-giving for the friend you are with, or even life-giving for you to repeat. If we feel we need to talk it out, even after God tells us to make sure our conversation is edifying, consider a more biblical and direct confrontation (see Matthew 18:15-16).

When we disobey Scripture to vent and gossip, we are telling God we don’t trust Him with the outcome of our story. We’re trying to find comfort in something that will never satisfy. Remember God is just — He can be trusted! So if you need to vent to someone, He is always available. It’s never gossip when you’re talking to Him!

Dear God, thank You for reminding me that You have something far better for me than gossip or slander. I trust You know my situation and will help me not to be overshadowed by someone else’s malicious behaviors, intended or not. You won’t let anything get in the way of the dreams You have placed inside of my heart, the things You want for me. I receive that now. You have called me toward a purity of speech, and I want to honor You in that way today and every day. So please help me to take every thought and word captive, and release them to You. Amen.

Thought:  Next time you have a chance to talk with a friend, if and when the urge to gossip presents itself, try to steer conversations to more life-giving topics. If you need to process your situation, consider going to a pastor, counselor, or someone who has no relationship with the person you are in turmoil with. Finally, don’t forget to take it to God, who is always there to listen and to offer the perfect wisdom to you.

By Christa Hardin

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.

If you are reading this devotional by email you can respond by clicking on this link:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2015/08/17/ch_hard-to-swallow/


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Do Not Strike Back

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But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” Luke 6:35 (NASB).

Forget it, I don’t want to talk to you anymore!” The text came through abruptly, and Susan blinked as she reread it in disbelief. Had she really been this misunderstood by her friend? Her heart began to beat faster at her ability to conjure up these feelings in another human. On the other hand, Susan was relieved. Was she really finally free of such a difficult relationship?

Today’s verse reminds us that in many cases, even though we want to cut ourselves off from a world that doesn’t understand us, Jesus tells us that we should love, even — especially — those who are ungrateful and evil. We are made in God’s image after all, and He is the very definition of kindness. So regardless of anyone else’s belief system or personality or stereotyping, you, as an image bearer of God, are meant to love.

So when someone hurts you, instead of withdrawing, take a step back momentarily, allowing everyone some time to breathe. You can show love even if you don’t see eye to eye. Don’t offer something that will harm you or the other person by spoiling or indulging sin, but instead, show love. In doing so, you will remind the other person that you not only value who they are, you also recognize your own worth and dignity.

Then, ask God for help in showing this person that He has something better for both of you: a reward, as it says in Luke,  that will be great!

Dear Lord, thank You for making me in Your image. I know You have equipped me to love others, even when I am so tempted to strike back at them. Show me when to set boundaries, and when to receive people with open arms. I want to bless others with Your Light. I trust You with all my relationships, even the hard ones. Help me to be bear Your image in all that I do. Amen.

Thought: Many people feel the need to set boundaries with those who sin towards them, and many times they are right. Abuse should not be tolerated. But when you are dealing with another person who has hurt you or has misunderstood you, pray and ask God to lead you in the right way before you abandon the friendship or start reciprocating their cruelty. He can help you to forgive; after all, God has something way better in store for you than holding on to resentment!

By Christa Hardin

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The Blame Game

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For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.”  Ezekiel 18:32 (NASB)

The metal door slammed shut, echoing its finality in the hallway of the prison. In his loneliness and despair, the man cried. “I didn’t deserve this. I didn’t have a fair chance at life!”

Many people, even if their own imprisonments are less extreme, live in a similar state of mind as this prisoner. Whether they are held captive by prison doors, their addictions, marriages, jobs, or financial situations, it’s difficult for us to play the role of judge. It’s not our job to try to weed out whose fault things are in most situations. Many times the seeds of hopelessness and despair are planted long before adulthood; this makes holding someone accountable for their actions murky at best.

God knows the truth about us all. He reminds us that He holds justice and mercy better than anyone. Therefore, we should leave the ultimate judging to Him. He doesn’t want anyone to feel the pang of death created by sin. Instead, He wants us to choose life. In our verse today, He has given us a task: live! We get to choose to walk away from the darkness and do our best with the choices before us. After we’ve done that, we are able live peaceably and with joy.

Dear Father, today I ask that You would take every dark corner of my mind and heart and purify me. Free me of the sin that so easily entangles me. Help me to remember that You, my maker and my redeemer, have given me permission to live well. I love you Lord, and I place every worry and judgement in Your capable hands. Guide me in the ways that lead to everlasting life with You! Amen.

Thought: Instead of licking our wounds or playing the blame game today, let’s put our situation in God’s capable hands and repent of anything we’ve done to contribute to the mess around us. Then, take a deep breath and live in the purity and freedom of mind to be who God has created you 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.

By Christa Hardin

If you are reading this devotional by email you can respond by clicking on this link:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2015/07/18/ch_the-blame-game/


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Mirroring God’s Image

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I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.Psalm 139:14

Looking in the mirror that day, the little girl scowled. “My hair won’t go the way it’s supposed to. This cowlick won’t push down and I’ll be laughed at all day.” We as adults try to quell the fears of a child whose whimsy’s we dismiss as being silly.” Go on, you’ll miss the bus. You look great.

But don’t we do the same thing with our own insecurities? “I’ve gained too much weight this year I just couldn’t go to the holiday office party.” Or maybe, “I need to get plastic surgery since I’ll gross everyone else out with my wrinkles,” Or, “Maybe this year I won’t be part of the exercise club because no one wants someone in a wheelchair to get in the way.”

We condemn ourselves. We strain away our joy. And we forget that each and every one of us is made in our Father’s beautiful image. When we take time to let this sink in, we can smile genuinely, love accordingly, and reflect the beauty and favor of God.

So the next time you look in a mirror, smile, for God has made you well! Even if some of your body part’s don’t work perfectly or as perfectly as they once did, the fact that you are alive and breathing is a beautiful gift in and of itself.

Thank You Lord, for making me in Your own image. Today, as I contemplate my own weaknesses, I remember that in Your arms, I am safe, secure, and fully capable of doing whatever You have for me. Thank You for making me to be like Yourself. I receive this treasured reminder today, and choose to live in obedience to that call and gift. Amen.

Thought: When you are tempted to complain that your muscles aren’t big enough or your eyes are too tired, smile at yourself in the mirror. Even more importantly, smile at others in your world today. Not only will your spirits will be lifted, but you will see the God’s craftsmanship in yourself and in those around you.

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By Crista Hardin

If you are reading this devotional by email you can respond by clicking on this link:
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Steps to Truth

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Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22 (NASB)

I don’t know what to do, Lord,” Jim prayed fervently. Without stopping to listen to God, he thought about how he wasn’t feeling well enough to go to work. It had happened before and he had pushed through. Pushing the limits was something he did frequently, with seeming success. Later that day, while he thought no one would notice, he was caught by the boss taking a midday snooze. One week’s suspension without pay later, Jim realized he had made a terrible mistake of pretending he was well.

Everyone, at one time or another, has exaggerated, denied, or deceived someone else. Each time this happens there is a negative consequence. In the moment, it seems like it’s a good idea; in Jim’s case, he was trying hard to make his much-needed income.

God wants all of us to walk in truth. When we do this, we are His delight. He also says that anyone who asks for wisdom will receive it (James 1:5). This is the first step when you are tempted to lie. Take a moment to stop and listen for God’s reply. Next, pray for God to show you a way out of the tempting situation (1 Corinthians 10:13) even if it’s only a “white lie.” Remember, all lies are an abomination to the Lord and He won’t bless any of them. The last step is trusting God with the outcome. The next time you are tempted to lie, even if it seems like it’s for good reason, ask God for wisdom and for Him to provide another way. Trust Him even if He calls you to a very different day or season than you had planned. Just like David, Job, and Peter, God will restore you to a life victorious when you do return to His straight and narrow path leading to steps of truth and freedom.

Dear Lord, please help me to find truth and healing as the best options each and every time I have opportunity to speak or act. I know those are the ways to Your perfect light, and yet I confess sometimes I have chosen the darker path. Help me to remember that sin of any kind leads to death, but truth leads to restoration and light. Amen.

Thought: Next time you are tempted to lie, stop and listen to God about what to do. Ask Him for both wisdom and for Him to remove temptation, both promises He will follow through on. Finally, trust God with whatever He leads you to do, even if it’s counter intuitive to what your sin nature tells you to do. God’s way of truth is a delight and He will bless your obedience richly!

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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By Crista Hardin

You can comment on this devotional online at:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2015/06/22/ch_steps-to-truth/


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Am I Significant?

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But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:30-31 (NASB)

Mommy, is I big?” asks my almost three-year-old son Jack. This inquiry is typically followed with questions about whether he is strong, whether he is a superhero, and whether he is still a baby. His deeper question, I have come to realize, is, “Am I someone special, someone significant?” I love doting on him and covering him in kisses and hugs and telling him how special he is.

We all want this affirmation, although as we grow older, we are often more reserved and introspective with our wonderings. God doesn’t want us to feel sheepish about asking how valuable we are.

Today, God wants you to remember how very valuable you are to Him. He loves you enough to know how many (or few!) hairs are on your head. Even though the tiny sparrows are fed and nourished and loved enough to be fully provided for, you, His son or daughter made in His image, are even more valuable than many sparrows.

Though it’s proper and best to put God ahead of ourselves, spend some time thinking today about how special you are to God also. We can’t always ask our friends or family for validation, but God is always ready to tell us how much we are loved.

Dear Lord, thank You for making me so special! I love You and I want to honor You with each moment of my day today. Help me to remember that I am special to You, so I will have deep joy in my heart and live my true gifting! Help me to share Your love and joy with others. Thank You Jesus, Amen.

Today, remember you are special just the way you are. Even while you were lost in sin, God made a way to find you. Now, as you walk in Him, pass this reminder on to others. Children, like my son, need those reminders as they grow. Older people who are in nursing homes or lonely at home often need the same thing. Take some time in your busy day to bless others, reminding them of their unique and special position as beloved children of God.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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By Christa Hardin

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Replenish, Without the Guilt

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devotional

For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” Jeremiah 31:25 (NASB)

Oh no, I’ll be right back,” she said. The babysitter had informed her that her three-year-old boy was having stomach flu symptoms and was worried he was dehydrated. The panicked mother drove home as fast as she could. One of the first things she did was to give him a replenishing drink, carefully measured, so as not to overdo. Then she sighed. Why was she so foolish to think that working out tonight was a good idea? She never should have gone. She beat herself up with her thoughts, feeling punished and guilty. These were common feelings for her, since she often bounced from one guilty worry to the next, which she thought was par for the course as a mother of four.

Our verse today reminds us that godly replenishment is needed and important. God wants for us to both minister to others as well as accept ministry towards ourselves, which sometimes means seeking it out.

Satan would like for us to sit in the darkness of worry, fear, doubt, and guilt, but God says that we can find full restoration and replenishment with Him. In Christ alone, we have full freedom to live well by doing our best. And like the tender mother offering her son sips of water, God can replenish us each day as well.

Dear Jesus, I am so thankful You replenish me every time I need sleep, healing, rest, or exercise so I can be ready to minister to others. I love caring for others and I recognize that I can do it even better when I take time to care for myself. Please let me find things to do that honor You in my replenishment, and please continue to faithfully restore me each time I lose my way, whether through guilt or sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Take Action: Feel like you can’t find rest or that you’re on the verge of burnout? Carve out a time today when you can find replenishment. Don’t allow the guilty thoughts about the “Have To’s” overshadow the “Need To’s” of today. Proper rest, exercise, healthy food choices, and especially prayer and time in God’s Word will keep you feeling refreshed.

By Christa Hardin

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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Lost and Found

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devotionalFor the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?” Matthew 18:11-12

Mom, can you find my Nerf gun bullets?” my nine-year old daughter asked me recently, full of gentleness, joy, and apparently, a new-found love of the hunt. Just two hours before, my seven-year old wanted to recruit my help in finding her beloved doll that had gone missing for the umpteenth time. The girls were frantic in their earnest attempts to find their lost items.

With a love much deeper than what children feel for their lost toys, God loves us with a passionate, proactive love that accepts us and receives us, just as we are. Even when we are like sheep who go to crooked or unsafe areas, God reaches out, delivers us from evil, and restores us back into the fold, right back to where we need to be.

Unlike my girls, who sometimes don’t recover their lost items, God always knows how to find us. In fact, He even knows when we are trying to hide from Him. Adam and Eve couldn’t hide in the Garden of Eden, and you and I can’t either. Even if we are having a difficult season, are angry with God, annoyed at Him, or not feeling His presence, He doesn’t shame us for losing our way. Instead, He rejoices over us when He finds us, and when we find Him. Let’s thank Him for that today, and listen for His call.

Dear God, I am so grateful for You. Apart from You, I can do no good thing. Thank You for looking for me, for calling out to me, and for allowing me to be Your child. I love You more than words can say. Amen.

Meditate on the lyrics of Come Thou Fount, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.” Is there an area in your life you’re hiding from God? Have you lost your way? Consider answering God’s call with confession and repentance, and return to Him who seeks you out.

By Christa Hardin

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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If you are reading this devotional by email you can respond by clicking on this link:
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