God’s Colorful Creation Wednesday, Oct 31 2012 

Genesis 1:1-31 (NIV) – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hoveringover the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image,     in the image of God he created them;     male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Colossians 3:11 (NIV) – Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

DEVOTION – Cathemae Cecchin (California)

When I was five years old, I asked my mother why people are different colors.  She told me that she said a quick prayer before telling me how God wanted to create a word that was as beautiful as possible.  So God filled it with rich brown soil, brilliant yellow sun, snow-covered mountains, a velvet-black night sky, and flowers more colorful than any rainbow.  Then, wanting human beings to have this same colorful richness, God made some as yellow as the sun and others as black as the night sky and others as white as the snow and still others as brown as the rich earth.

I don’t recall any more details of the story, but I have always remembered its essence.  More than once I have thanked God that I learned at a young age that all of creation is beautiful, whether I am looking into the night sky or at my friends with their different cutltural heritages.

This is one of the loveliest teachings of Christianity, that we are all God’s children regardless of race or culture or any other superficial distinctions.  “Christ is all, and is in all”  (Col.3:11).  We are called to respond to each other in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (v. 12).  Most of all, we are to “put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (v. 14).

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God must love variety, having created so much of it.

PRAYER – Dear Lord, help us to recognize and cherish the beauty in your creation, especially in each person we encounter today.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS – To see others as God’s children

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Living Alone Tuesday, Oct 30 2012 

Romans 5:1-8 (NIV)

5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 1:4

4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

DEVOTION  – Author: Christabel Thomas (Karanatake, India)

After my husband died, I went to live with my son and his family for a time. Later, however, they moved to another country because of my son’s business. I was left alone. Over time I grew discouraged, and self-pity was slowly taking control of me. As I prayed about my situation, I began to sense that Christ had some purpose for me.  While I was praying and waiting for guidance, I discovered a group of women who were interested in studying God’s word. We began to meet, and I led them in studying the Bible. Soon I could see how obeying God’s word was changing their lives. Some of them needed encouragement and counseling, and I could see the Great Counselor and Encourager working in them.  When I read the passage from Romans 5, I better understand how God can turn our difficulties into joys if we persevere. A good way to help overcome loneliness is to make ourselves available to God — to allow God to use our hands, feet, and voice to help and encourage those around us.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God has a purpose for each one of us.

LINK2LIFE:  Find a place to serve someone experiencing some pain you have faced.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, when we stuggle with loneliness, help us turn to you and strengthen us to reach out to others.  Help us find joy and peace in you.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Widows living far from family

Talking to God Monday, Oct 29 2012 

Psalms 25:1-5 (NIV)

1 In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. 2 I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. 4 Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

John 10:27 (TEV)

Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

DEVOTION – Tom Grgurich (Florida)

I recently conversed with a friend who described her experiences in talking to God. I was powerfully moved when I heard about how she spent hours pouring out her deepest feelings to her Creator. I wanted to know more about her experiences and to find out what I was missing.  After several days dwelling on the matter, I took a long drive by myself. Eventually I turned off the radio and CD player and started to unload feelings that I had bottled up for a long time. I lost track of time, but I must have spent at least an hour talking to God.  Although I didn’t hear God answer right away, within in a few days I found myself trying to connect to God and listen for God’s voice as I prayed. I do hear God’s voice inwardly now, a “still small voice” perhaps like what Elijah heard on Mt. Horeb. (See 1 Kings 19:12.) At 64 years old, I ask myself, How could I have missed this my whole life? I will be eternally grateful to my friend for talking to me about how she prayed. Following her example opened the door to a deeper relationship with God.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God is always ready to speak to us.

LINK2LIFE – Try a new form of prayer.  For some suggestions, see www.upperroom.org

PRAYER – Dear God of the still small voice, hear us when we pour out our hearts to you. We long to hear you speaking to us, giving your guidance for our lives. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS – Spiritual Mentors

Upper Room Daily Devotional Wednesday, Oct 24 2012 

Hi everyone,

We hope that you will spend quality, quiet time each day with the Holy Spirit, your bible, your upper room devo.  Prayer really does change things!!  How amazing it will be when we are all reading & reflecting on the same verses of scripture, spending a few minutes praying for one another and sharing our thoughts, inspirations & God moments.  Please do not be afraid to post a line or several about what God reveals to you in your quiet time with Him each day.