Blessings Of The Day Wednesday, Apr 30 2014 

Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 16:7-8 (NIV)
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

DEVOTION-Sally Berry (New York)

When my husband left me with three children and a mortgage, I thought my life was close to impossible to bear.  I never had enough time, money, or help to get through the day.  I struggled not to feel sorry for myself, especially when it seemed as if everyone around me had a wonderful life.  Then one day I read about someone who practiced thinking of three things to be thankful for at the end of each day.  I decided to try it.

At first, I could think only of simply things – like being thankful for electricity and hot water for showers.  Then I realized that I had taken those things for granted and that I had always taken those things for granted and that I really should be thankful for them.  As I continued this daily practice, it became easier; I began to notice more and more things to be thankful for.  I learned to be thankful for a phone call from a friend, the smell and beauty of a freshly mown lawn, the sound of my children laughing, and dinner on the table in the evening.  This gratitude has helped me to realize how many blessings God gives us every day that we seldom take the time to notice.  In turn, my gratitude has made my burdens easier to bear.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What three things am I thankful for today?

PRAYER:Dear God, help us always to keep our eyes and hearts open to the blessings you send us every day. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: SINGLE PARENTS AND THEIR CHILDREN

Advertisements

Plans Tuesday, Apr 29 2014 

Luke 12:13-21 (NRSV)

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

Luke 12:18-19 (NRSV)

18 Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’   

DEVOTION – Anne Rasmussen (Somerset, England)

We all make plans.  We plan for the holidays, for a place to live, for our jobs, for our children, for our retirement.  But life is uncertain.  We don’t actually know what will happen tomorrow.  Trips are cancelled due to bad weather, holiday celebrations postponed because of illness.  We can only plan so much for our children; then they make their own choices.  We try to cushion ourselves against life’s uncertainties.  We buy insurance for our health, cars, and houses.  We plan and save for retirement.

Jesus told a story about a farmer who made plans.  He built barns to store his grain and planned to enjoy a life of ease.  But the farmer did not enjoy the fruits of his labor.  Jesus concluded the parable:  “So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).  Christians see more to life than insuring ourselves against disaster.  We plan to be rich in things that matter to God rather than in material possessions.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: How will you plan today for a tomorrow with God?

PRAYER: Dear God, help us to plan our lives so that we place our trust in you, rather than in earthly possessions.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: FINANCIAL PLANNERS

You Know My Name Monday, Apr 28 2014 

John 10:1-5 (NRSV)

1 “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Romans 8:38-39 (NRSV)

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.   

DEVOTION – James R. Hayes (Tennessee)

I was at the nursing home visiting my mother when an elderly man stopped to talk to me.  He told me that he was one of one children and that in the last years of his father’s life, his father had become blind.  “You know,” said the man, “even though he was blind, he knew each of us children by our voices.”  Blindness was not knowing and loving his children.

In the same way, Jesus told us, “I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:14).  And in Romans 8, Paul reminds us that nothing can prevent us from having a relationship with Jesus Christ if we accept and get to know him.

Blindness could not prevent the elderly man’s father from knowing him.  How good it is to know that no obstacle can prevent us from having a relationship with our heavenly Father!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Nothing can interfere with God’s love for us.

PRAYER: Thank you, dear Lord, for knowing us and for wanting to have a relationship with us.  We are grateful that no obstacle can get in the way of your love.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: THOSE WHO ARE BLIND

The Run Sunday, Apr 27 2014 

Philippians 3:12-16 (KJV)

12 Not as though I had already attained , either were already perfect : but I follow after , if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended : but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded : and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded , God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained , let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.   

Isaiah (KJV)

31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run , and not be weary ; and they shall walk , and not faint .

DEVOTION -Candace Yvonne Feaser (Pennsylvania)

One evening, I was out for a run.  I inhaled the cold, crisp winter air, chilling my whole body.  My stopping point was visible between the rays of the setting sun; but my legs muscles burned, and my heart pounded.  I have to push on!  I reminded myself.  The thought of stopping crossed my mind, but I was determined to finish.

At times in a physical race, runners may feel that they have no strength to continue.  Often, athletes keep pace with other people and fix their eyes on a distant object that represents the goal.  This can be true for our spiritual quest as well.  God blesses us with people close to us who help us to keep the faith.  We look to the Lord, who promises to give us the strength to push on until we reach our destination.

Pushing on toward the goal of life in Christ makes our life’s run worth, every step taken.  But for now, we can pray as Paul prayed, “holding forth the word of life;  that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain” (Phil. 2:16, KJV).

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God will never leave us, but will be with us to the end.

PRAYER: Dear God, please give us the strength to reach the finish line.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: MARATHON RUNNERS

Wiped Clean Saturday, Apr 26 2014 

Colossians 2:9-15 (NIV)

9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.  11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.  13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,  14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.   

Acts 3:19 (NIV)

19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,   

DEVOTION –  Raymond N. Hawkins (Tasmania, Australia)

Offensive words – big, stark, and depressing – had been scrawled on the wall of the building.  Someone came along with a can of paint and painted over the words.  The result was a clean, attractive wall.

I had inscribed across my life words, behaviors, and attitudes that were offensive to God.  They often appeared in my mind, especially when I began to seek God.  How could God, who is righteous, accept me with all the moral and spiritual graffiti polluting my life?

Then I heard about Jesus Christ and the cross.  Jesus saw the slate of my failures and offenses and paid the penalty for them.  He not only forgave my sins, but also wiped my heart clean.  By faith in Christ as my Lord and Savior, I have a new beginning, a new destiny.  Calvary is the sign of sin’s defeat.  Before the Lord, we are clean.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The cross proclaims that we have been made clean.

PRAYER:  Thank you, dear God, for cleansing my life through the cross of Jesus Christ.  May our lives be pleasing in your sight, according to your word and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW CHRIST

Seeing Clearly Friday, Apr 25 2014 

Acts 2:1-4, 14-21 (NIV)

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.      

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’      

John 16:13 (NIV)

13 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.   

DEVOTION- Joni Melnick (Pennsylvania)

One of the unfortunate effects of aging is the inability to read without glasses.  My husband and I have purchased several pairs of magnifying eyeglasses and placed them strategically throughout the house so that we can see the words in the phone book, in the newspaper, or on the computer.  Without magnification, words on a page are a blur and we are unable to decipher the information we need.

After Jesus’ death, his disciples’ vision was limited.  They had relied on Jesus to lead them and to show them how the scriptures were fulfilled in him.  While they knew their mission was to carry on his teachings, without Jesus to light their way their vision was clouded by doubt and confusion.  When God sent the Holy Spirit, they were able to see with clarity the promises of scripture.  God will do the same for us.  Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit can magnify the solutions to our problems and show us the way.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Life becomes clearer when we see it through the lens of the Holy Spirit.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to guide us.  Give us patience as we seek your direction.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: SPIRITUAL MENTORS

Thursday, Apr 24 2014 

Proverbs 3:21-26 (NIV) 21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;  22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.  23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble;  24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.   

John 8:12 (NIV)

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   

DEVOTION – E. H. (Tuck) Eudy (Florida)

Many years ago, my grandmother was riding in a canoe through the wilds of the northern Canadian woods.  Her guide was an old native man who was paddling her to a remote resort.  Duck was falling, and she had noticed earlier that he had cataracts.  A little anxious, she asked if he needed any help in seeing the shoreline.  Smiling, the guide replied, “No, but thank you.  I learned some time ago to go as far as I can see and when I get there, I can see that much farther.”

I heard that story many years ago when  was a young man.  However, it really didn’t resonate with me until recently.

My wife is now struggling (and fighting bravely) against lung cancer,  For the past five years, the disease has been present and active.  Terrific medical people have helped – with chemo-therapy and radiation – but the disease is still there.

Her fight – and mine – is to let her treatments take us as far as we can see and then to go on with new vision and new resolve, coping with what the next day brings.  Our comfort is that we are not alone!  Jesus, the light of the world, is with us.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Sometimes God lets us see only as much as we need to see.

PRAYER:  Dear Father, thank you for Jesus Christ, our light and our guide.  Help us to follow closely in his steps so that we can find our way to joyful living.  In his name we pray.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS:

Courage To Confess Wednesday, Apr 23 2014 

1 John  1:5-10 (NIV)

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

1 John 1:9 (NIV)

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.   

DEVOTION – Cathy Stewart (Tennessee)

With an all-encompassing dread, I feared making mistakes.  When I inadvertently did something wrong, I  kept quiet and hoped no one would find out.

I entered the corporate world in my fifties.  One day, a mistake was made on the job, and my boss prepared to inform the offender that mistakes would not be tolerated.  With a knot in my stomach, I took a deep breath, interrupted the conversation, and confessed, “It was my fault.  I didn’t provide the correct information.”  Silence filled the room.  My boss looked at me in disbelief.  At first, I braced for the tirade to come; but then I felt my stomach ease.  Admitting my error had brought peace to my spirit.

Confession gives us peace and returns us to a right relationship with the Lord.  The sooner we confess our sins, the less time we spend with a wall standing between us and God.  Not admitting our mistakes creates walls in our personal relationships as well.  The people we wrong may never realize that we are at fault, but our fear of being found out can destroy the friendship.  Restoration with God and with other people begins with confession.  Freedom comes when we admit our imperfections.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: An honest heart leads to unity with God and with other people.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the freedom that comes with confession.  Give us the strength to rise above our insecurity and to admit when we are wrong.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: THOSE WRONGFULLY ACCUSED

Help Is On The Way Tuesday, Apr 22 2014 

Psalm 46:1-11 (NRSV) 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present  help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (Selah) 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city;  it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.  (Selah) 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.  (Selah)   

Psalm 46:1 (NRSV)

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present  help in trouble.

DEVOTION –  Richard Armbrister (Tennessee)

We live on top of a tall ridge in East Tennessee in a beautiful setting with a panoramic view of the Great Smoky Mountains.  Frequently this serene setting is interrupted by the beat of the medical helicopter from the University of Tennessee Medical Center, which flies over our home on its way to the hospital.

When we first began noticing the helicopter, we were bothered by the noise.  As time went on, we realized that each flight meant someone was in dire medical need.  Each time  we heard the helicopter, we would pray – for the crew and the people involved with this mission of mercy, that all would work out well and according to God’s plan.

One day we were able to see a profoundly brighter side to these situations.  Yes, the medical helicopter is sent out in serious circumstances.  But the mere fact that it is in transit implies that help is on the way.

Psalm 46:1 reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Today, we still pray for the helicopter crew and those receiving their services.  But we also offer thanks that God is present, providing strength and comfort to each person.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God offers us hope in times of fear and despair.

PRAYER:  Dear wonderful and healing God, thank you for your loving care and for those who are instruments of your love.

PRAYER FOCUS: MEDICAL HELICOPTER TEAMS

Only Once A Year? Monday, Apr 21 2014 

Mark 16:1-8(NRSV)

1 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Luke 24:5 (NRSV)

5 The women  were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men  said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.

DEVOTION – Derek Maul (Florida)

On a Sunday morning, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than in worship.  But for many people church is not their first choice, unless it’s Easter or Christmas Eve.

Last Easter I chatted with some visitors after church.  “Loved it!” one 30-something man said.  “If church were like this every week I’d probably come.”  Two of our young families turned around and joined the conversation.  “It is like this every week,” they said.  “This place is alive all the time; that’s the whole point of Easter!”

I left the visiting family deep in conversation with our vibrant, “living” church members.  But I didn’t forget what they said.  Jesus’ followers should be alive all the time; that’s the whole point of Easter.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:How can I help my church be a living spiritual community?

PRAYER: Dear God, help us to remember that Easter is an invitation to vibrant life.  May that life animate each of us, every day.  We pray as Jesus taught us, saying, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: REVIVAL WITHIN THE BODY OF CHRIST

Next Page »