Look forward to a fuller, more meaningful life because of your hope

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Tuesday, May 23, 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

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s scripture reading:

Paul had reason to forget the past—he had held the coats of those who stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr. We have all done things for which we are ashamed, and we live in the tension of what we have been and what we want to be. Because our hope is in Christ, however, we can let go of past guilt and look forward to what God will help us become. Don’t dwell on your past. Instead, grow in the knowledge of God by concentrating on your relationship with him now. Realize that you are forgiven, and then move on to a life of faith and obedience. Look forward to a fuller, more meaningful life because of your hope in Christ. (NLT)

Philippians 3:7-16 – I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these thing or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sister, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must be sure to obey the truth we have learned already.

Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. –Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NIV)

Jeff Riley (Oklahoma) titled his story “NO REGRETS;” here is Jeff’s story:

“While doing some spring cleaning, I came across a dust-covered bag. I expected it to be filled with useless old papers. Instead I was surprised to find old letters, cards, and photographs from around the time of my high school graduation.

“Life has not always been kind to me, yet in many ways God has blessed me. Still, as I looked at these mementos from when my life was full of promise and potential, I felt a pang of regret for what I perceived as a life of failure and mediocrity. I yearned for that earlier time when things seemed simpler and safer. If only I could change the poor decisions I have made, I thought, I might be able to reverse their bitter effects.

“In truth, life was not easier then. Through these hard years I have matured, and God has taught me wisdom, building me into a person of faith. From our new birth of salvation, we journey onward toward our heavenly home. The goal doesn’t lie behind us; there is no benefit in going back. Our life in Christ may be many things, but it will never be a life of regret.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – My future in Christ outshines the regrets of my past.

Prayer: Wise and loving God, thank you for freeing us from the past. Lead us on toward your purpose for our lives. Amen.

Prayer Focus: STUDENTS GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL

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

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Patient expectation that He will fulfill His promises

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, May 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s scripture reading:

When you feel all of life crushing you and you cannot go another step, remember that you can call upon God to renew your strength. Waiting on the Lord is the patient expectation that He will fulfill His promises in His Word and strengthen us to rise above life’s difficulties. It means to completely trust in God. (NLT)

Isaiah 40:27-31 – O Israel, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard or understood? Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all he earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord waits to be gracious to you. –Isiah 30:18 (NRSV)

Lois M. Baker (Arkansas) titled her story “A TIME TO WAIT;” here is a portion of Lois’ story:

“As I worried recently about the results of medical tests, I thought of all the occasions in my life that have required waiting. . . . I often felt impatient and anxious knowing that I was not in control of the situation or its outcome. Even waiting for a happy occasion such as a wedding or vacation can include anxious moments.

“By reading scripture like the verse quoted above, I have learned that God understands our frustration with waiting. Today’s reading encourages us to be patient and wait for God. I now realize that God is always present, even when we are waiting and uncertain about the results of our wait. We can pray as we are ‘still before the LORD and [waiting] patiently for him” (Ps. 37:7). This kind of waiting can replace our anxiety with peace.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God waits with me.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your guidance and strength in times of uncertainty. Teach us to be patient and peaceful as we rest in our word. Amen.

Prayer Focus: SOMEONE ANXIOUSLY WAITING

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

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Effectiveness beyond our wildest expectations

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, May 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

 

 

 

 

Today’s scripture reading:

There is a lesson in the leftovers. God gives in abundance. He takes whatever we can offer him in time, ability, or resources and multiplies its effectiveness beyond our wildest expectations. If you take the first step in making yourself available to God, he will show you how greatly you can be used to advance the work of his Kingdom. (NLT)

John 6:1-13 – After this, Jesus crossed over the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. And a huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miracles as he healed the sick. Then Jesus went up into the hills and sat down with his disciples around him. (It was nearly time for the annual Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a great crowd of people climbing the hill, looking for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Philip, where can we buy bread to feed al these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip replied, “It would take a small fortune to feed them!”

Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

“Tell everyone to sit down.” Jesus ordered. So all of them—the men alone numbered five thousand—sat down on the grassy slopes. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and passed them out to the people. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and passed them out to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate until they were full. “Now gather the leftovers,” Jesus told his disciples, “so that nothing is wasted.” There were only five barley loaves to start with, but twelve baskets were filled with the pieces of bread the people did not eat!

Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many? –John 6:9 (NIV)

Mary Beth Rademaker (North Carolina) titled her story “SMALL DEEDS;” here is a portion of Mary Beth’s story:

“Early one morning while watering my plants on my porch I noticed that my favorite hanging plant was wilting. . . . I had only a little water left in my watering can, but I poured that on the plant, intending to come back later with more. . . .

“Much later, when I went back out to the porch, I noticed that my once-wilted plant had revived . . .

“I realized that living our faith can work in a similar way. We may feel that if we can’t do something big or if we don’t have a lot to contribute, we cannot help someone. But many times, small gestures can make a big difference in someone’s faith journey. One kind word spoken at the right time can turn everything around. Just like the boy offering his barley loaves and small fish in today’s reading, a small deed done in the name of God can produce a miracle.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I can share God’s love through a small act of kindness.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to share our gifts – no matter how small they may seem. Thank you for giving us the gifts that can help produce miracles in others’ lives. 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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Look beyond ourselves to the great resources available

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, May 20, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Materials:

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 ♥


 

 

 

 

Today’s scripture reading:

Moses made excuses because he felt inadequate for the job God asked him to do.  It was natural for him to feel that way.  He was inadequate all by himself.  But God wasn’t asking Moses to work alone.  He offered other resources to help (God himself, Aaron, and the ability to do miracles).  God often calls us to do tasks that seem too difficult, but he doesn’t ask us to do them alone.  God offers us his resources, just as he did to Moses.  We should not hide behind our inadequacies, as Moses did, but look beyond ourselves to the great resources available.  Then we can allow God to use our unique contributions.  (NLT)

Exodus 3:7-12 – Then the Lord told him, “You can be sure I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt.  I have heard their cries for deliverance from their harsh slave drivers.  Yes, I am aware of their suffering.  So I have come to rescue them from the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own good and spacious land.  It is a land flowing with milk and honey–the land where the Canaanites, Hitties, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites live.  The cries of the people of Israel have reached me, and I have seen how the Egyptians have oppressed them with heavy tasks.  Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh.  You will lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

“But who am I to appear before Pharaoh?”  Moses asked God.  “How can you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?”

Then God told him, “I will be with you.  And this will serve as proof that I have sent you: When you have brought the Israelites out of Egypt, you will return here to worship God at this very mountain.”

[God] said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

Bob La Forge (New Jersey) titled his story “EXCUSES, EXCUSES;” here is a portion of Bob’s story:

“I have flaws, and all too often I discover something new that I cannot do well.  My typical response is to spend my free time lying in bed watching TV.  . . .  Sometimes I use my weaknesses as an excuse not to do something.  Then I can say, ‘I can’t do that because I’m too (fill in the blank).’

“. . .  Moses’ excuse sounds a lot like the excuses I make.  ‘I can’t do it.  I’ve got too many flaws.  You’re going to have to ask someone else.’  But God reassured Moses and me: ‘I will be with you.’

“Sometimes we focus on our flaws and think that we are not smart enough, talented enough, or eloquent enough.  But God doesn’t make us smarter or more talented or more articulate.  Instead, God promises to remain with us, which is all we need.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God does not erase my flaws but goes with me and fills me with courage.

Prayer: Dear God, continue to be with us and give us all we need to do your will.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: SOMEONE IN NEED OF COURAGE

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

 

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Only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to Him

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, May 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 ♥


 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s scripture reading:

Many people try to be good, honest people who do what is right. But Jesus says that the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to Him, like a branch attached to the vine. Apart from Christ our efforts are unfruitful. Are you receiving the nourishment and life offered by Christ, the vine? If not, you ae missing a special gift he has for you. (NLT) 

John 15:1-17 – [Jesus said] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father.

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. You are my friends if you obey me. I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go ad produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. I command you to love each other.”

Jesus said, “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” –John 15:4 (NRSV)

Maaraidzo E. Mutambara (Mutare, Zimbabwe) titled her story “KEEP YOUR HEART IN TUNE;” here is a portion of Maaraidzo’s story:

“I woke up one morning, singing a song that my classmates and I sang many years before at our preschool graduation ceremony. The song emphasized the importance of praying in the morning, afternoon, and evening to ‘keep your heart in tune.’* I wondered, What does it mean to ‘keep your heart in tune”? As I searched for answers, I thought about tuning in each day to the TV or radio. I have learned they work best when turned to the right station.

“As human beings created by God, we are at our best when our hearts are tuned in to Jesus Christ. . . .

“. . . Connection to Jesus enables us to be the people God intends us to be.”

“ Whisper a Prayer,” words and music anonymous.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I am at my best when I am connected to Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to tune our hearts to Jesus Christ, the source of life. 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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Dangerous to doubt or resent His timing

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, May 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

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s scripture reading:

Timing is important. All the experiences listed in these verses are appropriate at certain times. The secret to peace with God is to discover, accept, and appreciate God’s perfect timing. It is dangerous to doubt or resent His timing. This can lead to despair, rebellion, or moving ahead without his advice.  (NLT)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.  A time to plant and a time to harvest.  A time to kill and a time to heal.  A time to tear down and a time to rebuild.  A time to cry and a time to laugh.  A time to grieve and a time to dance.  A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.  A time to embrace and a time to turn away.  A time to search and a time to lose.  A time to keep and a time to throw away.  A time to tear and a time to mend.  A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.  A time to love and a time to hate.  A time for war and a time for peace.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens; a time to be born and a time to die.  –Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (NIV)

Alice M. Nathan (Missouri) titled her story “A MOTHER’S GIFT;” here is Alice’s story:

“My mother died on Mother’s Day – the day she and I usually celebrated by remembering when she gave birth to me and heard my first breath. But on that Mother’s Day I was telling my mother how much I loved her as she drew her last breath.  I kept thinking about all the priceless lessons she taught me, such as the importance of studying the Bible.

“In another time of loss, after my husband died, grief overwhelmed me. I fell into major depression.  I had to give up my career, and I contemplated suicide because I could see no end to my deepening depression.  Slowly, with the right medication and a good therapist, I began to work toward better health – spiritual, physical, and emotional.  As I recovered, another of my mother’s lessons helped me: The road of life may be difficult and seem impassible, but God will be with me all throughout my life’s journey – even when I do not feel God near me.

“Each Mother’s Day I now celebrate the memory of my mother and thank God for her legacy of unwavering faith and for the lessons she taught me by the example of her daily life and walk with God.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I can find God’s presence in my life every day.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the lessons we have learned from those whose faith is unwavering. Amen.

Prayer Focus: SOMEONE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A MOTHER

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

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Love makes our actions useful; love makes our gifts useful

Click on the following link for previous layout and posts: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/

DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, May 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s scripture reading:

Love is more important than all the spiritual gifts exercised in the church body. Great faith, acts of dedication or sacrifice, and miracle-working power have little effect without love. Love makes our actions useful; love makes our gifts useful. Although people have different gifts, love is available to everyone. (NLT)

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – If I speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear.

It’s like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.

There are three things that will endure—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Paul wrote, “If I have a faith that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” –1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV)

Grace Epperson (Michigan) titled her story “THE ICE CREAM MAN;” here is Grace’s story:

“When I was around six or seven the ice cream man would come in his white truck with the chimes ringing out – a signal for the children to come with their nickels and dimes to buy ice cream. I would hang back because there were no nickels and dimes to be had at my house. One day the ice cream man called me over and asked if that was my garden in our yard. I said yes, and then he told me that he loved carrots – and that if I would bring him some from our garden, he would give me ice cream. So I ran to the garden, pulled some carrots, and went back to collect my ice cream. We continued the carrots-for-ice cream exchange for a good while.

“It was only later in my life that I realized what grace the ice cream man had shown me. He didn’t make me feel like I was taking a handout or that I was to be pitied. He treated me with dignity in front of my friends. Without my knowing it, he was showing me a love like God’s.

“Simple acts of mercy can help someone get through a tough day or even a tough childhood. I have never forgotten the ice cream man’s gift to me. When we act with love toward others, we echo Paul’s words, ‘the greatest of these is love.’”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Compassionate acts demonstrate God’s love.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you for the people who have shown us your love. Help us to be the hands and feet of Christ to those who need us. Amen.

Prayer Focus: CHILDREN WITHOUT ENOUGH TO EAT

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

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