Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Faith

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

This morning I saw this text in a new way. The words “confidence in what we hope for” popped out at me.

Confidence in what we hope for….does that mean confidence that the surgery will go well, that sick loved ones will recover; that the job will come through; that the car will keep running until there is enough money to fix it? If confidence means full trust and belief, does it mean we can fully trust that everything is going to be OK? And by saying “everything is going to be OK” does it mean that it will turn out like we want or the way God knows is best?

What about the second half of the text “and assurance about what we do not see?” Assurance is having conviction. Is what we do not see is what’s going on in the background? Is what we do not see really what God is doing on our behalf that we are completely oblivious to?

Could all this be simplified to say “Faith is full trust and belief that the surgery will go well, that the sick loved one will recover, that the job will come through, that Jesus is who he says he is and God will do what he promises with a conviction that we do not see everything going on in the background?

How about even simpler? “Faith is full trust and belief that no matter what is going on in our life Jesus is who he said we was and God will do what he promises. You can be assured that even if it doesn’t look like it now God is working in the background on your behalf.”

Having faith doesn’t mean all will be rosy but it does mean that God is in it….no matter how it turns out.

–Elaine (thought4theday.com)

An Exercise in Thankfulness

Praise the Lord!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!

    His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 106:1 (NLT)

 

Ever wake up and think “Nothing is going right. Everything is wrong. I don’t want to adult today?” Me too. I’ve discovered something that helps me get past the “my life is terrible” blues. Giving Thanks. Seriously, it works. I’m going to list a series of topics below. You fill in the blanks.

 

Yesterday, I was thankful for: _______________________________ (think over yesterday and pick one (or more) things)

Today, I am thankful for: ____________________________ (even if you can’t think of anything else you are breathing)

I am thankful for: _______________________________(something about where you live)

I am thankful for: _______________________________(something about your family)

I am thankful for: _______________________________(a person in your life)

I am thankful for: _______________________________(something about God)

I am thankful for: _______________________________(a part of your body)

I am thankful for: _______________________________(a possibility)

I am thankful for: _______________________________(a dream you have)

I am thankful for: _______________________________(fill in with anything you want)

 

Each day, I’d like to challenge you to start out thanking God for what happened yesterday and for being alive today. Then, start thanking him for the possibilities. It adjusts our thinking so we realize that there is a lot to be thankful for and sometimes all it takes is a little shift of focus.

-Elaine (thought4theday.com)

Shhhh, Don’t Say A Word

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36 (NIV)

A few years ago I was having some personal difficulties with someone. If I am to be honest in my feelings, this person was just downright mean. He said mean things and was about the business of shaming people. Not only that, he was in a leadership position in an organization where I volunteered. Man, did I want to give him a piece of my mind. Not only that, many other people wanted to share pieces of their mind as well. His behavior was toxic and was causing the organization to flounder.

I prayed and prayed asking God how I should address this. Could I tell him off? Could I share how hurtful he was? Could I let him have a piece of my mind? God only ever responded with one word “Mercy.” Oh come on! Seriously? But the response every time I prayed was the same “Mercy.” To be honest, I wasn’t totally sure what “Mercy” meant but I did know I was being told to do nothing. What was super hard was when other folks came and said “What are we going to do? We should report him! We should do something!” I had to share what God said and I had to do nothing. I couldn’t get on the bandwagon.

Recently I discovered what mercy actually means. I was reading something (sorry, I don’t remember what it was) and it said that grace is getting something you don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what you do deserve. I remembered this story and wondered why God wouldn’t give this person what they deserved. And then it hit me, he does that with me every day.

Every day he extends grace and mercy to this soul who doesn’t deserve either. Every day he overlooks my behavior and my not so kosher thoughts and shows me mercy. When I processed this, my heart overflowed with gratitude.

God is always about growing us and others. As I look back on this situation I am really thankful I didn’t say anything. It wouldn’t have changed a thing (honestly) but it did allow me to show God’s love with my words (or lack thereof). No matter how I feel about someone’s behavior, that is always the most important thing.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

-Elaine (thought4theday.com)

Comfort Each Other

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

Our most heart-felt praise to God is when He has brought us through a difficult situation.  He is by our side through all our trials and difficult times.  He comforts us.  Zephaniah 3:17 says He sings and rejoices for us.  Can you picture God singing a lullaby to you to comfort you when you are hurting?  What a compassionate God we have!

Paul says we can comfort others who are going through the same thing we have gone through.  You understand their pain.  You know the words they need to hear because you have been there and understand.  I recently went to a parenting seminar.  My children are grown so I was there as a helper.  One young mother voiced the struggles that she was going through.  I had gone through something similar so I was able to share with her and comfort her.

God wants us to love others the way He loves us.  People are hurting.  Ask God to open your eyes to the pain in others and give you the words to encourage and comfort them.

–Diane

Transforming

Do not conform 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. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

How do we become conformed to this world?  Where is our focus?  Is it on things of this world or is it on Jesus and His soon return?  When you make Jell-O and place it in a mold to firm up, the Jell-O takes the shape of the mold.  Our lives are the same way.  Whatever we focus our lives on, we take on that characteristic.  Keep your focus on Jesus and you will become more like Him.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10 NIV)

–Diane

My List Is Longer Than Your List

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV)

Many years ago I sat in a Bible Study and we were talking about things we’d like to overcome. Now I was a new Christian and my list was super long. Pick something and even if you don’t think it was on my list, it probably was. As we were going around the circle I was thinking “What can I say that doesn’t sound too bad.” Well, the lady next to me just happened to be the Pastor’s wife and when it was her turn she said “I’d like to stop eating so many sweets.”

Are you kidding me? That was what she wanted to overcome? I wanted to say “Excuse me, can you pick something that is actually a real thing? Who the heck cares about that? I am looking at a list here that would make you run screaming from the room and you are talking about sweets!”

I will never forget that. What I didn’t know then and thankfully I know now is that to God we are all a new creation. When we say I believe in Jesus, he sees us as already changed. I was looking inside (and of course at everyone’s outside) and comparing myself to them. God doesn’t do that. He sees us all the same. No matter what your struggle is or what my struggle is, God isn’t comparing them and saying “WOW, look at her list. That’s pretty steep while this other person’s list is easy.” He isn’t doing that. He’s saying “Look at all my kids! Aren’t they marvelous!?”

As you continue your walk with God, know that he sees you right where you are and loves you perfectly. Your worth in his eyes has nothing to do with what you are or are not doing. It has everything to do with your desire to follow him. You see, to God you are already perfect. You have been perfected by the love of Jesus.

-Elaine (Thought4theday.com)