Being comforted; receiving strength, encouragement, hope to deal with troubles

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, March 25, 2019

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

[Being comforted; receiving strength, encouragement, hope to deal with troubles.]

Many think that when God comforts us, our troubles should go away. But if that were always so, people would turn to God only out of a desire to be relieved of pain and not out of love for him. We must understand that being “comforted” can also mean receiving strength, encouragement, and hope to deal with our troubles. The more we suffer the more comfort God gives us. If you are feeling overwhelmed, allow God to comfort you. Remember that every trial you endure will help you comfort other people who are suffering similar troubles. (NLT)

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 – All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God’s comfort.

Quoted verse: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. –Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

“Story” – Tim Hayakawa (Hawaii, USA) titled his story “GOD’S REST;” here is a portion of Tim’s story:

“One day when my daughter Penelope was a toddler, we were hosting a family gathering. . . . Penelope is a quiet, serious girl, and she suddenly became overwhelmed by her surroundings. She toddled over to me, placed her head sideways on my lap . . . I stroked her hair. . . .

“I was happy that Penelope came to me for comfort and that a few easy strokes of my hand were all it took to make her feel better. That day remains one of my sweetest memories from her childhood.

“When I pray to God earnestly in the midst of exhaustion, distress, weakness, or powerlessness, I feel as if God is stroking my head too. Turning my troubles over to God gives me the comfort and rest I need to face my day with new resolve. I get the distinct impression that God enjoys comforting us when we ask for help, just as years ago I enjoyed comforting Penelope.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – When I feel weak, I will turn to God for rest.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for helping us during times of distress and for comforting us with your love. Amen.

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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Unbroken fellowship with Him, freedom from sin’s hold on us

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, March 24, 2019

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May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

[We have unbroken fellowship with Him, freedom from sin’s hold on us.]

Because we are united with Christ in his death, our evil desires and bondage to sin died with him. Now, united by faith with him in his resurrection life, we have unbroken fellowship with God and freedom from sin’s hold on us. (NLT)

Romans 6:3-11 – Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was. Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life. We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God. So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.

Quoted verse: We were . . . buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. –Romans 6:4 (NIV)

“Story” – Sheila Qualls (Minnesota, USA) titled her story “SET FREE!” Here is Sheila’s story:

“My mom was the only child born to a 13-year-old single mother in the 1930s. She grew up poor and feeling unloved. My mom was an angry woman who didn’t appear to like being a mom. She raised us the same way she’d been raised, with a harsh tone and little affection. So we grew up feeling unloved too.

“Around fourth grade, mired in shame and guilt of my own, I began to lash out at others. The girls who seemed to come from loving and caring families became the ones I targeted on the playground after school. I hated those girls. My actions didn’t make me feel better, though. In fact, I felt worse.

“One summer during Vacation Bible School, I learned about Jesus. I learned that he loved me to the point of death on the cross and that he died so that I would not have to feel shame and worthlessness. I couldn’t imagine someone loving me like that. I finally felt comforted, knowing that someone loved me. I was a new creation. (See [* below] 2 Cor. 5:17.) I didn’t have to hate girls whose moms took care of them. In loving others who came from better circumstances than I did, I could actually experience the love of God and become the kind of person God intended me to be.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Once I come to know the love of Christ, I can show it to others.

Prayer: Dear Lord, give us the desire to show others love as you have loved us and the strength to treat others well regardless of our circumstances. Amen.

Prayer Focus: TO LOVE OTHERS NO MATTER WHAT

* Christians are brand-new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives them new life, and they are not the same anymore. We are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated—we are re-created (new creations), living in vital union with Christ. At conversion we do not merely turn over a new leaf; we begin a new life under a new Master. (NLT)

2 Corinthians 5:17 – What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!

To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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When we turn our worries into prayers, He will hear us

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, March 23, 2019

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

[When we turn our worries into prayers, He will hear us.]

Imagine never worrying about anything! It seems like an impossibility; we all have worries on the job, in our homes, at school. But Paul’s advice is to turn our worries into prayers. Do you want to worry less? Then pray more! Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray. (NLT)

Philippians 4:4-9 – Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.

Quoted verse: Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. . . . At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. –Acts16:25-26 (NIV)

“Story” – Nwakuche Emeka’s (Lagos, Nigeria) story is titled “GOD HEARD ME;” here is a portion of Nwakuche’s story:

“Twenty years ago, I had my first real encounter with God. I was 10 years old and in my final year of elementary school. When I took the middle school entrance examination, I didn’t know the answers to most of the questions. Afterward I felt sad and discouraged, but my mother encouraged me and said it would be okay. She told me to pray, ‘God, you are my father and mother. Help me in my examination.’   I took the prayer seriously, saying it for many days until the results of the exams were published.

“My mother went to the school admissions office to check my exam results. She came home and said to me, ‘You made it! God heard you!’ My joy knew no bounds. . . .

“After this childhood experience, I imagined God as a big creature who hears all prayers. That picture has stayed with me over the years; and whenever I shut my eyes to pray, a confidence builds up that God hears me.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God hears me when I call.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to know that you hear us when we call. Amen.

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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Carried along in swelling tides of praise

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, March 22, 2019

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May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

All creation is like a majestic symphony or a great choir composed of many harmonious parts that together offer up songs of praise to the Lord. Each part (independent, yet part of the whole) is caught up and carried along in swelling tides of praise. This is a picture of how we as believers should praise God—individually, yet as part of the great choir of believers worldwide. Are you singing your part well in the worldwide choir of praise? (NLT)

Psalm 148:1-14 – Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise him from the skies! Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven! Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars! Praise him, skies above! Praise him, vapors high above the clouds! Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued his command, and they came into being. He established them forever and forever. His orders will never be revoked.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths, fire and hail, snow and storm, wind and weather that obey him, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all livestock, reptiles and birds, kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them all praise the name of the Lord. For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven! He has made his people strong, honoring his godly ones—the people of Israel who are close to him.

Praise the Lord!

Quoted verse: All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. –Psalm 66:4 (NIV)

“Story” – Jill Allen Maisch (Maryland, USA) titled her story “PRAISE GOD!” Here is a portion of Jill’s story:

“In the springtime, I love to sit outside alone in the early morning chill to sip a mug of hot coffee, read and meditate on The Upper Room message for the day, and bask in the sounds of nature. Each creature praises God in its own way.

“I especially enjoy the symphony of praise performed by all the different birds that live nearby. . . .

“Each bird has its own unique sound, but together they generate a beautiful morning chorus of praise. Just like the birds, we each have our own distinctive, God-given voices with which we can praise God. Some people have the ability to praise God out loud for all to hear; some have the gift of quietly praising God during conversations with others; some are skilled at soundlessly praising God through prayer.

“Like the birds, we can merge our unique voices and together share a magnificent melody of God’s praise for all the world to hear!”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – How will I praise God today?

Prayer: Dear God, help us become more aware of the many reasons for praising you. Amen.

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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We can remove bitterness from our lives

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, March 21, 2019

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May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

Life can bring us some bad situations. We can feel cheated, as Esau did, but we don’t have to remain bitter. We can remove bitterness from our lives by honestly expressing our feelings to God, forgiving those who have wronged us, and being content with what we have. (NLT)

Genesis 33:1-11 – Then, in the distance, Jacob saw Esau coming with his four hundred men. Jacob now arranged his family into a column, with his two concubines and their children at the front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed low seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him affectionately and kissed him. Both of them were in tears.

Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?”

“These are the children God has graciously given to me,” Jacob replied. Then the concubines came forward with their children and bowed low before him. Next Leah came with her children, and they bowed down. Finally, Rachel and Joseph came and made their bows.

“And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked.

Jacob replied, “They are gifts, my lord, to ensure your goodwill.”

“Brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have.”

“No, please accept them,” Jacob said, “for what a relief it is to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the smile of God! Please take my gifts, for God has been very generous to me. I have more than enough.” Jacob continued to insist, so Esau finally accepted them.

Quoted verse: Jacob prayed, “Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children.” –Genesis 32:11 (NIV)

“Story” – Grant Showalter (Florida, USA) titled his story “WHY SO AFRAID?” Here is a portion of Grant’s story:

“One time in elementary school I said something mean to a kid in my class. Mike was a tough kid and much bigger than I so I expected that when we went outside for recess, he was going to beat me up. . . . I had worried over nothing.

“Fear does serve a purpose. If not for fear, we would take foolish risks, endangering our lives. But we can’t fear everything. Jacob cheated his brother Esau out of his rightful inheritance twice, and then ran away for years. . . . Jacob wasted years fearing his brother’s vengeance – for nothing. Esau had long since forgiven his brother.

“If we can do something to fix a bad situation, then we should do it. Regardless, we can exercise our faith and turn our worries over to God.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Jesus tells me that worrying cannot add a single hour to my life. (See [* below] Matt. 6:27)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we know you care about every aspect of our lives. Help us to trust you more and to worry less. Amen.

* Matthew 6:27 – [Jesus said] “. . . Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not. . . .”

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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Care for others as you care for yourself

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, March 20, 2019

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May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

God’s laws are not burdensome. They can be reduced to two simple principles: Love God and love others. These commands are from the Old Testament. When you love God completely and care for others as you care for yourself, then you have fulfilled the intent of the Ten Commandments and the other Old Testament laws. According to Jesus, these two commandments summarize all God’s laws. Let them rule your thoughts, decisions, and actions. When you are uncertain about what to do, ask yourself which course of action best demonstrates love for God and love for others. (NLT)

Mark 12:28-33 – One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the discussion. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbors as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

Quoted verse: Do to others as you would have them do to you. –Luke 6:31 (NIV)

“Story” – Margaret Martin (Australian Capital Territory, Australia) titled her story “MAKING A DIFFERENCE;” here is Margaret’s story:

“Two mornings a week I take the bus into town. I find that bus ride an uplifting experience. I am constantly struck by the presence of God in the lives of the people around me. The drivers are kind and caring, often waiting for people who are running late to catch the bus.   They greet everyone, not just the regulars, and go out of their way to help those with disabilities. Similarly, the kindness of the passengers is an inspiration. If anyone needs help, two or three people will immediately offer assistance – by giving up their seats to those who are frail and elderly, by lifting heavy suitcases, and by helping mothers with strollers and children.

“We often think that we must do great deeds to make a significant difference in the world. However, my morning bus ride reminds me that small acts of kindness done by ordinary people are just as significant. What a lovelier place our world would be if we all treated other people as we ourselves would like to be treated. We can serve God faithfully every day by showing kindness to one another.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I serve God when I show kindness to others.

Prayer: Loving God, use us to show your love through our kind actions and words to people we meet each day. Amen.

Prayer Focus: BUS DRIVERS

To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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We will experience difficulties that help us grow

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Tuesday, March 19, 2019

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

For first-century Christians, suffering was the rule rather than the exception. Paul tells us that in the future we will become, but until then we must overcome. This means we will experience difficulties that help us grow. We rejoice in suffering, not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life’s difficulties and Satan’s attacks to build our character. The problems that we run into will develop our perseverance—which in turn will strengthen our character, deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the future. You probably find your patience tested in some way every day. Thank God for these opportunities to grow, and deal with them in his strength (see also James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7 [* below]).

We were weak and helpless because we could do nothing on our own to save ourselves. Someone had to come and rescue us. Christ came at exactly the right time in history—according to God’s own schedule. God controls all history, and he controlled the timing, method, and events surrounding Jesus’ death. (NLT)

Romans 5:1-6 – Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

* We can’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. It is easy to be kind to others when everything is going well, but can we still be kind when others are treating us unfairly? God wants to make us mature and complete, not to keep us from all pain. Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth. Thank God for promising to be with you in rough times. Ask him to help you solve your problems or to give you the strength to endure them. Then be patient, God will not leave you alone with your problems; he will stay close and help you grow. (NLT)

James 1:2-4 – Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

* As gold is heated, impurities float to the top and can be skimmed off. Steel is tempered or strengthened by heating it in fire. Likewise, our trials, struggles, and persecutions refine and strengthen our faith, making us useful to God. (NLT)

1 Peter 1:6-7 – So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.

These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Quoted verse: We . . . glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. –Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

“Story” – Andrea Weaver (New Jersey, USA) titled her story “NEW FOCUS;” here is Andrea’s story:

“At age 26 and after years of graduate study, I was newly married and beginning my career. I was young, happy, and ambitious. Then after unexplained pain and months of uncertainty, I was diagnosed with a rare disorder. The disorder has become a lifelong combination of days of discomfort and remission. During the pain, I would worry that it would not go away, and when in remission I would worry about when it would come back. Though I was raised a Christian, I was not actively worshiping at the time of my diagnosis. And I dealt with my disorder with fear and uncertainty.

“Now at age 45, I am a practicing Christian. When I look back, I realize that this disorder has actually brought me joy by turning my focus to God and encouraging me to raise my two sons to have faith. I also have witnessed God’s grace through the medical professionals who have provided me with relief when and where I least expected it.

“This disorder has helped me to grow in my faith, showing me the ways God provides me with the support I need to endure so that I no longer live in constant fear. In turn, my growth in faith has shifted my focus away from my own discomfort and troubles and toward helping others.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God is my strength.

Prayer: Dear God, in times of discomfort, help us to see opportunities to grow in our faith. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE LIVING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS

To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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