While we wait, there is much work that we can do

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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:

The farmer must wait patiently for his crops to grow, he cannot hurry the process. But he does not take the summer off and hope that all goes well in the fields. There is much work to do to ensure a good harvest. In the same way, we must wait patiently for Christ’s return. We cannot make him come back any sooner. But while we wait, there is much work that we can do to advance God’s Kingdom. Both the farmer and the Christian must live by faith, looking toward the future reward for their labors. Don’t live as if Christ will never come. Work faithfully to build his Kingdom. The King will come when the time is right. (NLT)

James 5:7-8 – Dear brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who eagerly look for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They patiently wait for the precious harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. And take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. –Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NIV)

Joan Lake (New South Wales, Australia) titled her story “THE FIG TREE;” here is a portion of Joan’s story:

“Over two years ago, I bought a small fig tree and planted it in the garden. It didn’t do well and looked as if it were dying. I dug it up and put it in a large pot. . . . During the winter, I dug another hole in the garden where the drainage ws better, and I replanted the bare tree.

“With the coming of spring, I watered and inspected my tree daily. I found no sign of life. . . . I gave up all hope of its reviving. Yet some time later, I saw the tiniest tip of a green bud. The fig tree eventually came to life, and recently we ate our first fig from it.

“As I write this, I see that nothing and no one is too far gone for God. Just as I persisted in resettling my tree as it struggled to grow, so God is continually resettling, redirecting, and moving us along into growth and fruitful production. The process can be uncomfortable and challenging, but we are assured, as we place ourselves in god’s hands, that new life and fruit will spring forth in time.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God only requires me to take one step at a time.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be patient as you work in and with me to bring about new life. Amen.

Prayer Focus: SOMEONE I CAN ENCOURAGE

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 should follow this shepherd who offers us eternal comfort

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, August 21, 2017

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:

Death casts a frightening shadow over us because we are entirely helpless in its presence. We can struggle with other enemies—pain, suffering, disease, injury—but strength and courage cannot overcome death. It has the final word. Only one person can walk with us through death’s dark valley and bring us safely to the other side—the God of life, our shepherd. Because life is uncertain, we should follow this shepherd who offers us eternal comfort. (NLT)

Psalm 23:1-6 – The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

The psalmist wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” –Psalm 23:1 (NRSV)

Todd Ricketts (Florida) titled his story “COMFORTING PRESENCE;” here is a portion of Todd’s story:

“I received an unexpected phone call telling me that my dad had passed away after suffering with Alzheimer’s for several years. As I traveled almost 1200 miles to be with family, I had time to reflect on my dad’s life and what a great family man and provider my dad had been. It was now time for me to provide strength for my family.

“Over the past three decades I have struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. After surrendering to God, I have managed to remain clean and sober for some times. . . . I was thankful that God had helped me become well enough to handle this situation. Once the week had ended, I felt grateful to have honored my dad in a way that would have made him proud. God made me available to comfort people and made others available to comfort me. I was able to draw upon the strength of God to get through the tough moments.

“As the celebration of Dad’s life ended, I knew God’s comforting presence. I felt joy in knowing that god walks with us through every valley. I now feel closer to my dad than ever before. Thanks be to God!”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God walks with me through every dark valley.

Prayer: Dear god, thank you for healing the sick and giving strength to the weak. Help us to recognize every opportunity to share your love with others. Amen.

Prayer Focus: SOMEONE STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION

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

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Everyone has some gifts

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, August 20, 2017

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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:

Some people, well aware of their abilities, believe that they have the right to use their abilities as they please. Others feel that they have no special talents at all. Peter addresses both groups in these verses. Everyone has some gifts; find yours and use them. All our abilities should be used in serving others; none are for our own exclusive enjoyment.

How is God glorified when we use our abilities? When we use them as he directs, to help others, they will see Jesus in us and glorify him for the help they have received. Peter may have been thinking of Jesus’ words, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16). (NLT)

1 Peter 4:8-11 – Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to him forever and ever. Amen.

Jesus said, “[The Spirit of truth] will glorify me, because he will take what is mind and declare it to you.” –John 16:14 (NRSV)

Lynn Hare (Oregon) titled her story “GO FOR THE GOLD;” here is a portion of Lynn’s story:

“When I was 21, my best friend, Tim, and I got summer jobs in Skagway, Alaska. We’d been dating for several months, so I was delighted when he proposed and slipped a gold-nugget ring on my finger. A few months later, we were married.

“As prospectors carefully sift out the grit so that they can extract gold nuggets, we had a lot of filtering to do. Soon after Tim and I married, we argued about many things. . . . The differences between us made me frustrated and angry.

“As I came to know God better, I began to appreciate how God values me and my talents. I decided to value Tim in the same way. I complimented him on his abilities, such as writing computer software and being a good listener for our three children. Each day, my prayers and my growing relationship with God drew Tim and me closer as well. When we choose to find goodness in our loved ones, negativity falls away. In the process, we can extend an authentic display of God’s accepting nature to those we love.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Where do I see God’s gold in my loved ones?

Prayer: Dear God, help us to sift through our frustration and negativity so that we can see the gold in one another. 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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Remember to praise Him every day

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, August 19, 2017

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:

How could the message be more clear? The writer was telling the individual listeners to praise God. What a fitting way to end this book of praise—with a direct encouragement for you to praise God, too. Remember to praise Him every day! (NLT)

Psalm 150:1-6 – Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his heavenly dwelling; praise him I his mighty heaven! Praise him for hismighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the trumpet; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals; Let everything that lives sing praises to the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Meliana Santoso (East Java, Indonesia) titled her story “THE POWER OF PRAISE;” here is a portion of Meliana’s story:

“Recently, the leader of my Christian youth group asked each of us why we enjoyed attending church. . . . Others replied, ‘The sermon always fits our situation.’ . . . I said that I liked the time to praise and worship God. I like singing, and as I lift up my praises to God, I feel my heart fill with peace and joy.

“My situation was not always good. I was often stressed and depressed, struggling to find words to pray. During those times, praise and worship helped me to realize that God is always with me and will never leave me alone. I felt God comforting me and whispering, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Heb. 13:5). Through praise and worship, we can all connect with God who sustains and strengthens us.”

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

Prayer: Beloved God, thank you for being with us in all circumstances. We praise you with all our heart, soul, and strength. May our worship be pleasing to you as we pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. thy kingdom come. They 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 (Luke 11:2-24, KJV). 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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His revelation now comes through a person’s life

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, August 18, 2017

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:

Law and grace (“God’s unfailing love and faithfulness”) are both aspects of God’s nature that he uses in dealing with us. Moses emphasized God’s law and justice, while Jesus Christ came to highlight god’s mercy, love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. Moses could only be the giver of the law, while Christ came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17 [see below]). The nature and will of God were revealed in the law; now the nature and will of God are revealed in Jesus Christ. Rather than coming through cold stone tables, God’s revelation now comes through a person’s life. As we get to know Christ better, our understanding of God will increase. (NLT)

John 1:14-17 – So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.

John pointed him out to the people. He shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before I did.’”

We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us—one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. –James 3:13 (NIV)

Ken Claar (Idaho) titled his story “HUMBLE SERVICE;” here is Ken’s story:

“A few days a week I volunteer in our church library. I often see a certain man walking down the hall with a screwdriver or a drill or a sander in his hand.

“When I ask him what he is doing he says, ‘Oh, I noticed that this needed to be done, and I thought I’d just come in and take care of it in my spare time.’ He doesn’t receive any pay for these important little jobs, and most of the congregation has no idea that he works there so often during the week. But it is disciples like this man who keep every church building repaired and usable.

“Some think that to be a disciple means witnessing to hundreds or preaching to crowds, and many disciples do these things. But no less important is the disciple who cheerfully does the little things every day that make other people’s lives more pleasant and productive. We all have some kind of talent that we can devote to further our Lord’s kingdom. All we have to do is identify that skill or talent, decide to use it for the Lord – and then get up and actually do it.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Whose acts of Christian service can I recognize today?

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to appreciate small acts of service done in your name by people who often go unrecognized. Amen.

Prayer Focus: PEOPLE WHO SERVE IN HUMBLE WAYS

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

* God’s moral and ceremonial laws were given to help people love God with all their hearts and minds. Throughout Israel’s history, however, these laws had often been misquoted and misapplied. By Jesus’ time, religious leaders had turned the laws into a confusing mass of rules. When Jesus talked about a new way to understand God’s law, he was actually trying to bring people back to its original purpose. Jesus did not speak against the law itself but against the abuses and excesses to which it had been subjected. (NLT)

Matthew 5:17 – [Jesus said] “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them.”

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He alone is my refuge, my place of safety

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, August 17, 2017

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:

This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. –Psalm 91:2 (NLT)

God is a shelter, a refuge when we are afraid. The writer’s faith in almighty God as protector would carry him through all the dangers and fears of life. This should be a picture of our trust—trading al our fears for faith in him, no matter how intense our fears.   To do this we must “live” and “rest” with him. By entrusting ourselves to his protection and pledging our daily devotion to him, we will be kept safe. (NLT)

Psalm 91:1-16 – Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day, nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. But you will see it with your eyes; you will see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your dwelling. For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone. You will trample down lions and poisonous snakes; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

May your unfailing love be my comfort. –Psalm 119:76 (NIV)

Pat Luffman Rowland’s (Tennessee) story is titled “NEVER AN ANNOYANCE;” here is a portion of Pat’s story:

“My two cats, Samantha and Chloe, both love to lie in my lap. Chloe is quite personable and affectionate. Samantha, on the other hand, seems to need constant reassurance that she is loved. . . . At times I find her [Samantha] constant attention-seeking annoying.

“One morning as I pushed Samantha away, I thought about how God never pushes me away when I come. Sometimes I feel confident in my relationship with God, and I delight in praising God as much as I do in seeking god’s help. Other times, I come to God in desperation, needing a place of refuge and restoration. I also need reassurance that God loves me.   Many passages in the Bible tell us that God loves us and will always be with us. I never have to wonder whether god will have time for me or how God will receive me. God always has time for us, and always reaches out to us with loving arms.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Today I will encourage someone by showing God’s love.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for loving us and always being available to comfort and encourage us. Amen.

Prayer Focus: SOMEONE WHO NEEDS REASSURANCE

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

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Your unique purpose

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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:

Acts 12:1-5 – About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish leaders, he arrested Peter during the Passover celebration and imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod’s intention was to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.

[Jesus] saw James and John . . . in their boat repairing the fishing nets. At that very moment he called them. They followed him, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers. –Mark 1:19-20 (CEB)

Claire Bell (South Australia, Australia) titled her story “THE HIDDEN DISCIPLE;” here is a portion of Claire’s story:

“Jesus called brothers James and John at the same time. They followed immediately and were with Jesus throughout his ministry. Interestingly, almost every reference to James is in relation to John and Peter. James is what I call a ‘hidden disciple.’

“James was one of the original disciples and, after Jesus’ resurrection, went on to help build the church. He seemed to be one of Jesus’ three closest friends, who sometimes were invited to experience events that the rest of the Twelve were not. But we know almost nothing else about James – neither his personality nor his ministry. . . .

“This does not mean that James was unimportant. Jesus called him for a purpose that played out uniquely in his life and death. We can honor James simply because we know he was a follower of Jesus.

“Many followers of Christ are ‘hidden’ among us. Some serve in the background; others are isolated by various circumstances from the body of Christ. But Jesus cherishes every believer, calls each of us to a unique path of discipleship, and values each member of his Body, the church.”

THOUHT FOR THE DAY – Christ sees and cherishes each person who follows him.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that our worth to you is not measured by how well known we are to other people, for none of us is hidden from your loving eyes. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THE “HIDDEN” DISCIPLES IN MY LIFE

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

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