Giving can be our talents, time, or money

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, July 4, 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:

[Giving can be our talents, time or money]

This widow gave all she had to live on, in contrast to the way most people handle their money.  When we consider giving a certain percentage of our income a great accomplishment, we resemble those who gave “a tiny part of their surplus.”  Here, Jesus was admiring generous and sacrificial giving.  As believers, we should consider increasing our giving—whether of money, time, or talents—to a point beyond convenience or calculation.  (NLT)

Mark 12:41-44 – Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money.  Many rich people put in large amounts.  Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions.  For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

Quoted verse: Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.”  –Mark 12:43 (NRSV)

“Story” – Allen Goins (Florida, USA) titled his story “THE WIDOW’S OFFER;” here is Allen’s story:

“As a young Annapolis plebe disembarking from the USS Newport News to tour the old brick streets of Lisbon, Portugal, I saw an old man in dirty clothing begging on the curb.  I did not understand Portuguese, but his gestures were clear.  My heart was touched, and I wanted to give him some money.  However, I realized that the recent currency conversion of my meager monthly salary had left me with bills larger than what I was willing to give.  I went into a nearby retail shop to get change and immediately went back to that curb.  The transaction could not have taken more than 15 minutes, yet the man was no longer in sight.

“I felt that I had been tested and had failed.  Unwilling to give abundantly, I had wanted to offer only a comfortable amount.  In my mind, the man in need was an angel – not necessarily sent to test me but to teach me the true meaning of the Lord’s message about giving.  Sixty years later, I still remember that man and the lesson I learned.  I am most thankful that even when I fail to give from the heart, the Lord still loves me and teaches me.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God is pleased when I give generously.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your constant presence, patience, and love.  Help us to give generously to people in need.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: TO GIVE GENEROUSLY

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

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Lean on His strength, His grace

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, July 3, 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:

How can we keep this command to not let sin control the way we live, to not give in to its desires?  We can take the following steps: (1) Identify our personal weaknesses, (2) recognize the things that tempt us, (3) stay away from sources of temptation, (4) practice self-restraint, (5) consciously invest our time in good habits and service, and (6) lean on God’s strength and grace.  (NLT)

Romans 6:1-13 – Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?  Of course not!  Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?  Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  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 to life as he was.  We know that 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 live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again.  Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin.  But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.   So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.  Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin.  Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life.  So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

Quoted verse: Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.  –Romans 6:12 (NIV)

“Story” – Perla Iveth Murillo Zapata’s (Colombia) story is titled “TAKING OUT THE TRASH;” here is a portion of the story:

“Working in the unforgiving heat of the day during our environmental cleanup campaign, approximately 70 people showed up to clean a very contaminated mangrove swamp.  When we took a short break, I asked . . . a young man on our team, how this experience had been for him.  ‘At first it was just gross,’ he replied.  ‘But as I got used to the smell and surroundings, I was able to pick up even the most disgusting things.  In a way, this rubbish around us is like the sin in my heart.’

“His comment reminded me of how easily we become accustomed to our own sin or wrongdoing.  When sin or wrongdoing make us uncomfortable, we are disgusted.  However, doing nothing about it seems to lessen its impact on our conscience.  In the end, we become accustomed to living with it or spend the rest of our lives complaining about it – convinced that we cannot confront it.  The assessment Nicolás gave is a clear reminder that it is time to take out the trash and clutter from our hearts and to seek refuge in Christ, who can redeem us from sin and refresh our spirits.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I want to notice and repent of my sins so that I may honor God.

Prayer: God, our maker and friend, create in us a clean spirit and a willingness to attune our hearts to live in the light of your truth.  Amen.

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

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Cling tightly to your faith through all your trials

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, July 2, 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:

Would the message of the book of Job change if God had not restored to Job his former blessings?  No.  God is still sovereign.  Jesus said that anyone who gives up something for the Kingdom of God will be repaid.  Our restoration may or may not be the same kind as Job’s, which was both spiritual and material.  Our complete restoration may not be in this life—but it will happen.  God loves us, and he is just.  He not only will restore whatever we have lost unjustly, but he also will give us more than we can imagine as we live with him in eternity.  Cling tightly to your faith through all your trials, and you, too, will be rewarded by God—if not now, in the life to come.  (NLT)

Job 42:10-13 – When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes.  In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!  Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home.  And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him.  And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring.

So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning.  For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.  He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters.

Quoted verse: After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.  –Job 42:10 (NIV)

“Story” – Larry Dowell (North Carolina, USA) titled his story “UNENDING LOVE;” here is a portion of Larry’s story:

“Not long after I turned 40, my health started going downhill.  I experienced loss of appetite, sleeplessness, weight loss, and irrational thinking.  My marriage was in trouble, and our oldest child was heading to college.  I had always been able to fix most things fairly easily, but this was different.  During my darkest moments my thoughts turned to Job and the suffering he endured.   Job didn’t rebuke God but held on to his faith.  In the end, all was restored to him.

“During the depth of my suffering, Job’s story gave me hope that I to would come through this valley.  Finally . . . I was hospitalized.  The diagnosis was severe clinical depression.  The pain I felt both physically and emotionally was extreme.  But with the right medication and a caring medical team I started improving.  . . .

“The story of Job’s suffering and restoration were key parts of my recovery.  Though at times it may feel as if God has abandoned us, if we hold on to our faith, God’s love will carry us through the darkest of days.  It has been 30 years since my hospitalization, and every day I give thanks for the story of Job and how he never turned away from God’s unending love.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God’s love will carry me through my darkest days.

Prayer: Dear Lord, through our darkest and brightest days we give thanks for your unending love for us.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE SUFFERING . . .

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

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Dramatic evidence of His existence, His power, His love, His care

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, July 1, 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 are surrounded by fantastic displays of God’s craftsmanship—the heavens give dramatic evidence of His existence, His power, His love, His care.  To say that the universe happened by chance is absurd.  Its design, intricacy, and orderliness point to a personally involved Creator.  As you look at God’s handiwork in nature and the heavens, thank him for such magnificent beauty and the truth it reveals about the Creator.  (NLT)

Psalm 19:1-4 – The heavens proclaim the glory of God.  The skies display his craftsmanship.  Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.  They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.  Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

Quoted verse: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  –Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

“Story” – Suzanne Felton (Virginia, USA) titled her story “GOD’S HANDWRITING;” here is a portion of Suzanne’s story:

“I experience a special joy any time I pull an envelope out of my mailbox and see the handwriting of a dear friend or family member.  I don’t need to look at the return address to know who wrote the letter; I recognize the author by the handwriting.  . . .  Their written words are concrete reflections of themselves.  Because I know them so well, I can recognize their handwriting anywhere.

“God’s creation and work in our lives also bear an unmistakable mark.  The strokes of God’s hand reflect who God is.  David affirms this in today’s reading and quoted scripture.  In Romans, Paul notes: ‘Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made’ (Rom. 1:20).  God’s signature is clear to all who look for it.

“My friends’ handwriting is familiar to me because I know them so well.  And the better we come to know God through scripture, prayer, and daily meditation, the more we can recognize God’s handiwork in the world and in our lives.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Where do I see the strokes of God’s hand today?

Prayer: Creator God, open our eyes to see your unmistakable mark on all that you have done so that we may understand you more fully.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE SEEKING TO KNOW GOD BETTER

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

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Trading all our fears, our concerns for faith in Him

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Tuesday, June 30, 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:

[Trading all our fears, our concerns for faith in Him]

God is a shelter, a refuge when we are afraid.  The writer’s faith in God as protector would carry him through all the dangers and fears of life.  This should be a picture of our trust—trading all 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 about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.  For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.  He will cover you with his feathers.  He will shelter you with his wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.  Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.  Do not dread the disease 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.  Just open your eyes, and 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 home.  For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.  They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.  You will trample upon lions and cobras, 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 and honor them.  I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Quoted verse: I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.  –Psalm 3:4 (KJV)

“Story” – Demi Oyinloye (Ogun, Nigeria) titled her story “A CRY FOR HELP;” here is a portion of Demi’s story:

“I had been driving to a town almost 200 miles away for an annual professional conference.   I had set out expecting the drive to be a fun adventure, but then my vehicle broke down.  With no emergency roadside help available, I called some colleagues who were attending the same conference.  . . .  It was getting dark the situation was looking bleak, and I was getting scared.  I uttered a desperate prayer, ‘Help me, Lord!’  My colleagues finally found me, and the story ended well.

“So many times we find ourselves in bad situations, jumping into things without careful consideration or proper planning.  We hope that everything will sort itself out.  Often, by the time we realize our errors, we have already gotten to the point of no return.

“Thankfully God does not care for us according to our faithfulness or intelligence but according to God’s unconditional love and tender mercies.  No matter how bleak the situation, God is only a prayer away.  The eloquence of our prayers does not matter; a desperate cry from a needy heart is enough to catch God’s attention.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – No situation is so dark that God cannot find and help me.

Prayer: Dear Lord, remind us of your promise never to leave us or forsake us.  Help us to turn to you – especially in threatening circumstances.  Amen.

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

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His Spirit in our hearts gives us power to live for Him

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, June 29, 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:

[His Spirit in our hearts gives us power to live for Him]

Paul uses powerful imagery from famous Old Testament passages predicting the promised day of new hearts and new beginnings for God’s people.  No human being can take credit for this process of conversion.  It is the work of God’s Spirit.  We do not become believers by following some manual or using some technique.   Our conversion is a result of God’s implanting his Spirit in our heart, giving us new power to live for him.  (NLT)

2 Corinthians 3:1-6 – Are we beginning to praise ourselves again?  Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf?  Surely not!  The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves.  Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you.  Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you.  This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.  It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ.  It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own.  Our qualification comes from God.  He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant.  This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit.  The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

Quoted verse: You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  –2 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV)

“Story” – Alice H. Murray (Florida, USA) titled her story “LIVING COVER LETTER;” here is a portion of Alice’s story:

“I struggled to write a cover letter to accompany an article I was submitting to a magazine.  The editor required the letter as a way of introducing myself.  . . .  He would know about me from reading my letter, but knowing about me is not the same as knowing me.  Only by spending time with me, listening to my words and observing my actions, would the editor really know who I am.

“Christians are living cover letters for Christ.  Every day we write a letter for those around us to read. We can tell others about Christ by listing various facts: he was a great teacher, he healed the sick, and he was crucified and raised to new life.  But knowing things about Christ does not mean that we know who he is.  As living cover letters, Christians convey who Christ is.  Then others may come to know Christ by spending time with us and observing our earthly reflection of our heavenly Savior.  Will those we encounter come to know Christ by our living letter?”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – How can I be a living cover letter for Christ today?

Prayer: Living Lord, help us to reflect you in our words and actions each day so that others may desire to fully know and serve you.  Amen.

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

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Choose paths of grace, paths of love

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, June 28, 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:

The inspiration for today’s title, “Choose paths of grace, paths of love,” is from the story in “The Upper Room,” which you can read below.

After such a wonderful miracle of saving a man’s life, why did the people want Jesus to leave?  They were undoubtedly afraid of his supernatural power.  They may have also feared that Jesus would continue destroying their pigs—their livelihood.  They would rather give up Jesus than lose their source of income and security.  (NLT)

Mark 5:1-20 – So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes.  When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him.  This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain.  Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles.  No one was strong enough to subdue him.  Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him.  With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!”  For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.”

Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”

And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.”  Then evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place.

There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby.  “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged.  “Let us enter them.”

So Jesus gave them permission.  The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran.  People rushed out to see what had happened.  A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons.  He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid.  Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs.  And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him.  But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”  So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.

Quoted verse: Those who had actually seen what had happened to the demon-possessed man told the others about the pigs.  Then they pleaded with Jesus to leave their region.  –Mark 5:16-17 (CEB)

“Story” – Cassius Rhue’s (South Carolina, USA) story is titled “WOULD I DO THE SAME?”  Here is a portion of Cassius’ story:

“Each time I read today’s verse I find myself in stunned disbelief.  Despite another wonderful and amazing miracle, the crowd still didn’t want to accept Jesus and emphatically asked him to leave.  In the past, reading these verses often led me to wonder, Why would they want Jesus to leave when he had healed a demon-possessed man and cast out a legion of evil spirits?  Why would they reject the presence of Christ?

“Recently as I read these verses, I had a different question.  This time I asked myself, Would I ever do the same thing?  I realized that at times I too am asking Jesus to leave me.  When I choose anger and hateful speech, choose my ways over God’s commands, choose to misrepresent the truth, or choose to stand quiet when I should speak out, I’m rejecting Jesus.

“. . .  May we learn not to send Christ away but instead to steadfastly follow him.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Every day, I will seek ways to draw near to God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive us when we choose paths that separate us from you.  Instead, help us choose paths of grace and love.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE STRUGGLING TO ACCEPT GOD

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

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Praise focused on good things He does for us

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, June 27, 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:

[Praise focused on good things He does for us]

David’s praise focused on the good things God was doing for him.  It is easy to complain about life, but David’s list gives us plenty for which to praise God: He forgives our sins, heals our diseases, redeems us from death, crowns us with love and compassion, satisfies our desires, and gives righteousness and justice.  We receive all of these without deserving any of them.  No matter how difficult your life’s journey, you can always count your blessings—past, present, and future.  When you feel as though you have nothing for which to praise God, read David’s list.  (NLT)

Psalm 103:1-12 – Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.  Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.  He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.  He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.  He fills my life with good things.  My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.  The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.  He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.  For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.  He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.

Quoted verse: I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  –Habakkuk 3:1 (NIV)

“Story” – Carol Elaine Harrison (Saskatchewan, Canada) titled her story “HOPE;” here is a portion of Carol Elaine’s story:

“In 2001, my husband was diagnosed with cancer, my uncle died, and my mother’s congestive heart failure took a turn for the worse.  A few months later my husband began cancer treatments, his father passed away unexpectedly and my mother died.

“Memories of the traumatic events of that year make it easy to overlook the positive things that happened.  During those painful times, grief was a natural response.  But I had to choose whether to remain bitter, angry, and discouraged or, like the prophet Habakkuk, to say, ‘Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.’

“We all experience circumstances that leave us reeling, wondering which way to turn and if we will survive.  Tough times are often beyond our control, but we can still choose how we react to the events.  . . .  Even when we do not understand how any good can possibly come from our present circumstances, we can choose whether we will focus on the negative or the blessings God has given us.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Today and every day, I will be joyful in God.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to choose to praise you ever day, no matter our circumstances.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: GRATITUDE FOR MY BLESSINGS

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

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Motivate one another to acts of love, good works

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

DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, June 26, 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:

[Motivate one another to acts of love, good works]

We have significant privileges associated with our new life in Christ: (1)We have personal access to God through Christ and can draw near to him without an elaborate system; (2) we may grow in faith, overcome doubts and questions, and deepen our relationship with God; (3) we may enjoy motivation from one another; (4) we may worship together.  (NLT)

Hebrews 10:19-25 – And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.  By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.  And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him.  For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.  Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Quoted verse: Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  –Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

“Story” – Terrie Hellard-Brown (California, USA) titled her story “LONGING FOR ORDINARY;” here is a portion of Terrie’s story:

“I’ve always wanted to do great things for God – to change the world and to live a life that mattered.  I didn’t want to have any regrets at the end of my life.  Maybe it’s age; hopefully it’s wisdom – but now I long for the ordinary in life.

“A simple phone call showed me the importance of ‘ordinary.’  It was from a student I had taught . . . when I had done my best but failed often.  This student was diagnosed with severe ADHD.  A local gang was also trying to recruit him.  I spent that year encouraging him.  He called that day to tell me he had become a Christian while in my class and that his family had become Christians as well.  He said that I had made a different in their lives and that now he was preparing to become a youth minister.  He showed me that the ordinary, daily encouragement we give to people can change everything.

“God was able to use my words to change that family . . .  In God’s hands, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.  Who knows what God will do with the seemingly ordinary words of encouragement and love we offer?”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God can use my words of encouragement to make an extraordinary difference.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to seize the opportunities you give us each day to encourage, help, and love others.  Amen.

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

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He gives us time, gifts, other resources

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

DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, June 25, 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 gives us time, gifts, other resources]

The master divided the money among his servants according to their abilities.  No one received more or less than he could handle.  If he failed in his assignment, his excuse could not be that he was overwhelmed.  Failure would indicate only laziness or hatred toward the master.   The bags of silver represent any kind of resource we are given.  God gives us time, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities, and he expects us to invest them wisely until he returns.  We are responsible to use well what God has given us.  The issue is not how much we have but how well we use what we have.  (NLT)

Matthew 25:14-30 – [Jesus said] “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip.  He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.  He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities.  He then left on his trip.

“The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more.  The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more.  But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money.  The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

“The master was full of praise.  ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.  Let’s celebrate together!’

“The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.  Let’s celebrate together!’

“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate.  I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth.  Look, here is your money back.’

“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant!  If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank?  At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

“Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver.  To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.  But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.  Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

Quoted verse: Take . . . the talent from him [which had received the one talent], and give it unto him with hath ten talents.  –Matthew 25:28 (KJV)

“Story” – Keith Hailey (Kansas, USA) titled his story “OUR TALENTS;” here is a portion of Keith’s story:

“Despite being raised by loving Christian parents, I began drinking at age 16.  Soon after, I added drugs to the mix and spent the next 26 years in a stupor.  When I received a court order to attend recovery meetings, I finally got sober.  During one such gathering, I started reading sections of the Bible and letting God speak to me through the reading.

“One day I started reading about the man with one talent.  . . .  I knew then that it was time to start using the ‘talent’ that God had given me – my wonderful singing voice.  For over 20 years now, I have been singing God’s praises regularly at church and the local nursing home.  Each time I sing, God blesses me anew.  The joy I get from singing far outweighs any that alcohol or drugs could produce.

“These last two years, being able to sing during health problems has kept me looking forward to better days.  God saved me from myself by helping me to use my talent in God’s service.  I am thankful for the opportunities to sing praises to God’s name.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – The talent God has given me is a blessing to me and to others.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, show us how to use the talents we have been given to bless others as you have blessed us.  We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

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