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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, January 19, 2015
When I started to do this blog, I wanted to spread the Good News. When you accept God’s life-giving offer, you will also be thankful for His grace, just as I am. God makes your life much smoother and less bumpy, but when you encounter the bumpy parts, God will be there for you.
When I read Psalm 103 and the story that Dorothea M. Love (California) wrote, which you can read a portion of that below, writing a list or starting a journal is a great way to remember what God has done for you. If you need help in starting your list or journal, Psalm 103 will give you a good start.
Take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life. – Deuteronomy 4:9 (NRSV)
Here is a portion of Dorothea’s story titled “REMEMBER WHEN?”
“. . . I realize that lists are tools we use to document important facts or events. To-do lists remind us of things we need to accomplish; grocery lists keep us on track when we shop; keeping a list of upcoming bills helps us stay within our budget.
“Lists can help strengthen our faith. Writing down the many ways that God has touched our lives, looking back over prayer lists and journal entries of answered prayers, and recording Bible verses that we’re meditating on can enrich our spiritual lives. These activities can help us ‘remember when’ God’s presence was especially meaningful for us.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Remembering God’s past faithfulness helps us trust God with the future.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for your steadfast presence. Help us to tell others about your marvelous works. Amen.
To read the entire story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
The Scripture reading today speaks of wanderers in distress and how God rescues them. No matter how extreme our calamity, God is able to help us. He is loving and kind to those who are distressed.
God has done so much for us, and we have so much for which to thank him (see Psalm 1031). He wants us to tell everyone all that he has done. These verses are not so much a mandate to witness as a declaration that when we live in God’s presence, we will not be able to keep this glorious experience to ourselves (see also Acts 1:82; 2 Corinthians 5:18-203). What has God done for you? Is there someone you can tell?
Lost, hungry, thirsty, and exhausted, these wanderers typify the Israelites in exile. But they also typify anyone who has not found the satisfaction that comes from knowing God. Anyone who recognizes his or her own lostness can receive the offer of Jesus to satisfy these needs. Jesus is the way (John 14:64), the bread from heaven (John 6:33, 355), the living water (John 4:10-146), and the giver of rest (Matthew 11:28-307). Have you received his life-giving offer? (NLT)
Psalm 107:1-9 – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has saved you from your enemies. For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Some wandered in the desert, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
ACCEPT, ACCEPTABLE, ACCEPTANCE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/accept-acceptable-acceptance/
MEDITATE, MEDITATING, MEDITATION: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/meditate-meditating-meditation/
DISTRESS, DISTRESSED: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/distress-distressed/
BURDENS, BURDEN: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/burdens-burden/
LISTENING, LISTEN: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/listening-listen/
1 David’s praise focused on God’s glorious deeds. 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.
Everything everywhere is to praise the Lord: all his angels and all his works! Praising God means remember all he has done for us, fearing him and obeying his commands, and doing his will. Does your life praise the Lord? (NLT)
Psalm 103 –Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds 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 merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal 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 rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!
The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything. Praise the Lord, y9ou angels of his, you mighty creatures who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everywhere in his kingdom. As for me—I, too, will praise the Lord.
2 Jesus had instructed his disciples to witness to people of all nations about him (Matthew 28:19-208). But they were told to wait first for the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:499). God has important work for you to do for him, but you must do it by the power of the Holy Spirit. We often like to get on with the job, even if it means running ahead of God. But waiting is sometimes part of God’s plan. Are you waiting and listening for God’s complete instructions, or are you running ahead of his plans? We need God’s timing and power to be truly effective.
This verse describes a series of ever-widening circles. The Good News was to spread, geographically, from Jerusalem, into Judea and Samaria, and finally to the whole world. God’s Good News has not reached its final destination if someone in your family, your work-place, your school, or your community hasn’t heard about Jesus Christ. Make sure that you are contributing in some way to the ever-widening circle of God’s loving message. (NLT)
Acts 1:8 – [Jesus said] “But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
3 An ambassador is an official representative of one country to another. As believers, we are Christ’s ambassadors, sent with his message of reconciliation to the world. An ambassador of reconciliation has an important responsibility. We dare not take this responsibility lightly. How well are you fulfilling your commission as Christ’s ambassador? (NLT)
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 – All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!”
4 Jesus says he is the only way to God the Father. Some people may argue that this way is too narrow. In reality, it is wide enough for the whole world, if the world chooses to accept it. Instead of worrying about how limited it sounds to have only one way, we should be saying, “Thank you, God, for providing a sure way to get to you!”
As the way, Jesus is our path to the Father. As the truth, he is the reality of all God’s promises. As the life, he joins his divine life to ours, both now and eternally. (NLT)
John 14:6 – Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
5 People eat bread to satisfy physical hunger and to sustain physical life. We can satisfy spiritual hunger and sustain spiritual life only by a right relationship with Jesus Christ. No wonder he called himself the bread of life. But bread must be eaten to sustain life, and Christ must be invited into our daily walk to sustain spiritual life. (NLT)
John 6:33, 35 – [Jesus said] “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst.”
6 In saying he would bring living water that could forever quench a person’s thirst for God, Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah. Only the Messiah could give this gift that satisfies the soul’s desire.
Many spiritual functions parallel physical functions. As our bodies hunger and thirst, so do our souls. But our souls need spiritual food and water. The woman confused the two kinds of water, perhaps because no one had ever talked with her about her spiritual hunger and thirst before. We would not think of depriving our bodies of food and water when they hunger or thirst. Why then should we deprive our souls? The living Word, Jesus Christ, and the written Word, the Bible, can satisfy our hungry and thirsty souls. (NLT)
John 4:10-14 –Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this is a very deep well. Where would you get this living water? And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his cattle enjoyed?”
Jesus replied, “People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
7 A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of an ox or oxen. It is attached to a piece of equipment the oxen are to pull. A person may be carrying heavy burdens of (1) sin, (2) excessive demands of religious leaders, (3) oppression and persecution, or (4) weariness in the search for God.
Jesus frees people from all these burdens. The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing, and peace with God, not the end of all labor. A relationship with God changes meaningless, wearisome toil into spiritual productivity and purpose. (NLT)
Matthew 11:28-30 – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”
8 The disciples were to baptize people because baptism unites believers with Jesus Christ in their death to sin and their resurrection to new life. Baptism symbolizes submission to Christ, a willingness to live God’s way, and identification with God’s covenant people.
How is Jesus “with us”? Jesus was with the disciples physically until he ascended into heaven and then spiritually through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would be Jesus’ presence that would never leave them. Jesus continues to be with us today through his Spirit. (NLT)
Matthew 28:19-20 – [Jesus said] “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
9 Luke 24:49 – [Jesus said] “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.
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