Isaiah 9:1-7 (NIV)

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom1 for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,2 but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan– 2 The people walking in darkness3 have seen a great light;4 on those living in the land of the shadow of deatha5 a light has dawned.6 3 You have enlarged the nation7 and increased their joy;8 they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.94 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,10 you have shattered11 the yoke12 that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders,13 the rod of their oppressor.14   Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning,15 will be fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born,16 to us a son is given,17 and the government18 will be on his shoulders.19 And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,b20 Mighty God,21 Everlasting22 Father,23 Prince of Peace.24 7 Of the increase of his government25 and peace26 there will be no end.27 He will reign28 on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice29 and righteousness30 from that time on and forever.31 The zeal32 of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Isaiah 12:2 (NIV)

2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God a is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.                            

DEVOTION – Sara S. Orellana (Florida)

I was Going through a difficult time.  My husband and I had divorced after 15 years of marriage.  Then a year later he was killed in a motorcycle accident.  I was struggling to keep myself and our teenage son on track.  My faith in God was strong: but the day-to-day challenges of single parenthood, financial insecurity, and grief were taking their toll.  Spending time with God had moved further down my to-do-list.

A friend asked me to join her women’s Bible study group.  Studying Isaiah 30:15 taught me the importance of listening for God’s direction:  “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  I found comfort and strength as I renewed my relationship with God.  How immediate and accessible is our God!  Joining a Bible study helped to correct my priorities and to connect me with our all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present Lord.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: How am I connecting to God, my source of strength, today?

PRAYER: Dear God, forgive us when the demands of daily life become our idols.  Help us always to put you first and to listen closely and quietly for your guidance.  Amen.