Steadfast perseverance in faith

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, February 17, 2020

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:

“Steadfast perseverance in faith,” is inspired by today’s story in The Upper Room, see below.

Luke 2:25-35 – At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon.  He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel.  The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  That day the Spirit led him to the Temple.  So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there.  He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying.  “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.  I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people.  He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him.  Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise.  He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.  As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

Quoted verse: [Simeon] was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.  –Luke 2:25 (NRSV)

“Story” – Daniel Topalski (Varna, Bulgaria) titled his story “PERSEVERANCE IN FAITH;” here is a portion of Daniel’s story:

“I find I often lack perseverance and patience in my faith, but I am inspired by the example of my grandparents.  They lived through the terror of a Communist regime, but they were not broken by the disappointments of the world.  My grandparents prepared to wait a long time and kept their faith strong.  They were constant in their expectation and didn’t let their love for God cool.  With unwavering hope, they waited for God’s timing.

“My grandparents persevered in waiting for God because they loved God.  Although they were let down by people, God never let them down.  . . .

“We can teach our children and grandchildren the virtue of perseverance.  I pray that we may be examples of perseverance for the next generation so they can learn what it means to wait for the coming of the Christ quietly and full of joy.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Who has inspired me to persevere in faith?

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to await your coming with perseverance and strong faith.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE LIVING IN POLITICAL UNREST

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

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We can trust everything He does

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, February 16, 2020

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:

. . . we can trust everything he does.  –Psalm 33:4 (NLT)

All God’s words are true and trustworthy.  The Bible is reliable because, unlike people, God does not lie, forget, change his words, or leave his promises unfulfilled.  We can trust the Bible because it contains the words of a holy, trustworthy, and unchangeable God.  (NLT)

Psalm 33:1-5 – Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him.  Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp.  Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.  For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.  He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.

Quoted verse: The word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.  –Psalm 33:4 (NIV)

“Story” – Virginia Horst Loewen (Pennsylvania, USA) titled her story “GOD’S REASSURANCE;” here is a portion of Virginia’s story:

“Most of his life, my 85-year-old husband had been an accomplished musician.  He had played the organ, piano, trombone, and tuba.  But for his last few years he could play none of these.  A blood clot on his brain, together with a stroke and a heart attack, had robbed him of these abilities.  After Henry died, I mourned the loss of my faithful husband of nearly 64 years, but I also sighed with relief that he no longer struggled to breathe.

“About two months after his passing, I dreamed that he was scheduled to play a solo in a concert.  Backstage, he kept saying, ‘I don’t think I can do it.’  But when the time came, he stepped onstage and played the most beautiful music he had ever played.

“I woke up feeling my grief turned to joy.  I remembered that in the Bible God often spoke through dreams . . .  In my dream, I felt God was reassuring me that Henry no longer has any physical restraints.  In heaven, he is hearing the most magnificent music he has ever heard.  And he’s helping to provide it in joyful praise to God.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – In heaven, all my earthly sorrows will be gone.

Prayer: Author of our dreams, may we know the comfort and joy that comes with praising you.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: GRATITUDE FOR MY TALENTS

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

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He will neither fail you nor abandon you

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, February 15, 2020

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:

“. . .  He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”  –Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)

Deuteronomy 31:1-8 – When Moses had finished giving these instructions to all the people of Israel, he said, “I am now 120 years old, and I am no longer able to lead you.  The Lord has told me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan River.’  But the Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you.  He will destroy the nations living there, and you will take possession of their land.  Joshua will lead you across the river, just as the Lord promised.

“The Lord will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites.  The Lord will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you.  So be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, “Be strong and courageous!  For you will lead these people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors he would give them.  You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land.  Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.  He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Quoted verse: The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  –Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

“Story” – Jeff Wansley (Georgia, USA) titled his story “I’M RIGHT HERE;” here is a portion of Jeff’s story:

“On our trips to the beach, my wife, daughter, and I love to watch the sun set.  One evening while our daughter, Victoria, was sitting in the sand, my wife and I sat on a bench several yards behind her.  . . .

“As it became dark, my daughter realized that we were not near her.  She called out for us with fear in her voice.  When we spoke to her from our bench, she replied, ‘I thought you’d left me!’  My wife answered, ‘We’re right here; we’d never leave you!’

“That conversation reminded me of how often in life we end up in the darkness, thinking we are alone and feeling afraid.  When we call out for God’s help, it is comforting to know that God will always reply, ‘I’m right here; I’ll never leave you!’”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God continually says to me, “I’m right here.”

Prayer: Eternal God, thank you for your faithfulness to us.  Strengthen our resolve never to wander away from you.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: CHILDREN [ANYONE] WHO ARE FRIGHTENED

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

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To clothe ourselves with love leads to peace between one another

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

DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, February 14, 2020

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:

[To clothe ourselves with love leads to peace between one another.]

Christians should live in peace.  To live in peace does not mean that suddenly all differences of opinion are eliminated, but it does require that loving Christians work together despite their differences.  Such love is not a feeling but a decision to meet others’ needs.   To clothe ourselves with love leads to peace between individuals and among the members of the body of believers.  Do problems in your relationships with other Christians cause open conflicts or mutual silence?  Consider what you can do to heal those relationships with love.  (NLT)

Colossians 3:12-17 – Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.  Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.  Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.  And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Quoted verse: What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  –Micah 6:8 (NIV)

“Story” – Melissa Ramoo (New South Wales, Australia) titled her story “CHOOSING MERCY;” here is Melissa’s story:

“I think often about the meaning of Micah 6:8.  I love justice, but if justice were up to me, few people would get a second chance.  When criminals are pardoned from a hearing because of their declining health, I want them to go to the hearing anyway – if they made someone suffer then I want them to suffer the consequences.  In those moments, I realize that my love of justice is more like a love of retribution.  But when I long to see someone punished, am I loving mercy as God calls me to do?  When we love mercy, we can rest secure in knowing that God is the perfect judge who will make things right.

“As Christians, we can show God’s love and grace to the world by being in the business of second chances.  Loving mercy, even when it’s painfully difficult to do so, is an opportunity to show someone else God’s love for us.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I reflect God’s gracious love when I show mercy.

Prayer: Dear God, we thank you that you are a God who gives second chances.  We pray that you will strengthen us to do the same for others.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: TO BE MERCIFUL

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

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Wait patiently for Him to work out what is best for us

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

DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, February 14, 2020

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:

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.  –Psalm 37:7 (NLT)

David calls us to take delight in the Lord and to commit everything we have and do to him.  But how do we do this?  To delight in someone means to experience great pleasure and joy in his or her presence.  This happens only when we know that person well.  Thus, to delight in the Lord, we must know him better.  Knowledge of God’s great love for us will indeed give us delight.

To commit ourselves to the Lord means entrusting everything—our lives, families, jobs, possessions—to his control and guidance.   To commit ourselves to the Lord means to trust in him, believing that he can care for us better than we can ourselves.  We should be willing to wait patiently for Him to work out what is best for us.  (NLT)

Psalm 37:3-6 – Trust in the Lord and do good.  Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.  Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust him, and he will help you.  He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Quoted verse: We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  –Romans 8:28 (NIV)

“Story” – Rylee Goetzinger (Oklahoma, USA) titled her story “PATIENCE;” here is a portion of Rylee’s story:

“As a dance major at my arts school, I was at the peak of my dance career – training at a studio and winning competitions.  Then, during class one day, I felt my back twinge.  I tried my best to ignore it, but my day ended in the hospital.  After multiple X-rays, the doctor told my parents and me that I would need to choose either to have surgery or to quit dance.  I agreed to stop dancing.  It was the most difficult decision I had made . . .

“Somehow, I still had a peace about it.  The months to follow were full of trials, emotionally and physically.  As I sought other pastimes, other passions to replace dance, I found a new love for my relationship with Christ.  This was the most fulfilling result that could have happened.  I realized that the joy that filled me was not from my ability to dance but from God.  I never could’ve imagined that the Lord would take such a painful loss and turn it into so many blessings.

“Every day, I still see blessings that might never have happened if I had chosen differently all those years ago.  Of course I miss dancing, but ultimately the passion that I am able to give my relationship with God has been rewarding beyond measure.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – My relationship with God gives me a fulfilling life.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for everything that you have given us.  Help us to wait patiently for what you have in store for us.  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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He wants our focus on Him, to remember who is guiding us

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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:

[He wants our focus on Him, to remember who is guiding us.]

After the people safely crossed the river, what would be next?  Conquering the land?  Not yet.  First God directed them to build a memorial from 12 stones drawn from the river by 12 men, one from each tribe.  This may seem like an insignificant step in their mission of conquering the land, but God did not want his people to plunge into their task unprepared.  They were to focus on Him and remember who was guiding them.  As you are busy doing your God-given tasks, set aside quiet moments, times to build your own memorial to God’s power.  Too much activity may shift your focus away from God.  (NLT)

Joshua 4:1-9 – When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe.  Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan.  Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’”

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel.  He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God.  Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  We will use these stones to build a memorial.  In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’  Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’  These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”

So the men did as Joshua had commanded them.  They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua.  They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there.

Joshua also set up another pile of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing.  And they are there to this day.

Quoted verse: I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  –Psalm 77:11 (NIV)

“Story” – Daniel C. M. Tan (Selangor, Malaysia) titled his story “A RICH HERITAGE;” here is a portion of Daniel’s story:

“Ever since he was young, my son had exhibited a strong sense of curiosity.  . . .  He wants to know about various family rituals and why we observe certain traditions.  We enjoy answering his questions because it gives us the opportunity to share our experiences and history as well as key events that have shaped our lives.  . . .

“In the same way, we can take an interest in our church rituals and traditions.  Understanding the history of the church, certain events that have shaped it, and the story behind rituals and traditions can help us understand the values of our church and the rich heritage that surround the community of believers.  Sometimes we may even find traditions that transcend denominational boundaries and connect us to the universal church of Christ, bringing us together as one big family sharing a common Savior and God.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – The traditions of my faith give me vision for the future.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus Christ, to connect us with you.  May our traditions and rituals continually remind us of your great love and provide hope for our 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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He renews my strength; He guides me along right paths

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

DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Tuesday, February 11, 2020

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:

He renews my strength; He guides me along right paths . . . –Psalm 23:3 (NLT)

In describing the Lord as a shepherd, David wrote out of his own experience because he had spent his early years caring for sheep.  Sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection.  As the Lord is the good shepherd, so we are his sheep—not frightened, passive animals, but obedient followers, wise enough to follow one who will lead us in the right places and in the right ways.  This psalm does not focus on the animal-like qualities of sheep but on the discipleship qualities of those who follow.  When you recognize the good shepherd, follow him!

When we allow God, our shepherd, to guide us, we have contentment.  Our shepherd knows the “green meadows” and “peaceful streams” that will restore us.  We will reach these places only by following him obediently.

We can struggle with other enemies—pain, suffering, disease, injury—but strength and courage cannot overcome death.  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.

In ancient Near Eastern culture, at a feast it was customary to anoint a person with fragrant oil.  Hosts were also expected to protect their guests at all costs.  God offers the protection of a host even when enemies surround us.  In the final scene of this psalm, we see that believers will dwell with the Lord.  God, the perfect shepherd and host, promises to guide and protect us throughout our life and to bring us into his house forever.  (NLT)

Psalm 23:1-6 – The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that 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 darkest valley, 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 honor me by 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.

Quoted verse: [The Lord] tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.  –Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

“Story” – Clare Drew’s story is titled “THE GOOD SHEPHERD;” (the author passed away before production of this issue was complete.)  Here is Clare’s story:

“While chatting with my cousin I recalled a visit to his farm in Tulbagh, South Africa.  Sensing a lamb was in distress, my uncle had invited me to go with him into the fields.  Dusk was falling as we headed in the direction of a faint sound.  We found a lamb that had fallen into a ditch and was trapped.  We were both awed by the prompting that led to the rescue of one lamb.

“That memory reinforces my faith in the love of the Good Shepherd, and I reflect on how God has been with me on my 30-year journey with multiple sclerosis.  At a very low point in my life, I attended a healing service where hands were laid on my head and prayers were offered.   Then I heard these softly spoken words: ‘God has a special name for you.  He calls you his little lamb, and he will pick you up and carry you.’

“God knows each of us by name, and Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John reveal that truth: ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me’ (John 10:14, NIV).”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – The Good Shepherd knows me by name.

Prayer: Loving Shepherd, we give you thanks and praise for rescuing and protecting us.  Help us to listen for your voice and follow you.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: SHEPHERDS

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

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