Showered His kindness on us

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, December 7, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

God showered His kindness on us—this is also called God’s “grace.” This is his voluntary and loving favor given to those he saves. We can’t earn salvation, nor do we deserve it. No religious, intellectual, or moral effort can gain it, because it comes only from God’s mercy and love. Without God’s grace no person can be saved. To receive it, we must acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves, that only God can save us, and that our only way to receive this loving favor is through faith in Christ. (NLT)

Ephesians 1:3-7 – How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. Long ago, even before he made the world, God loves us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.

So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

In [Jesus Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. –Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)

Belle Todd (Texas) titled her story “TRUE GRACE;” here is a portion of Belle’s story:

“As Christmas approaches I find myself grappling with grace again. For years I have sought to understand the true concept of grace. I love the sound of it – I long to embrace it – but I struggle to fully understand it. . . .

“When I was a new Christian, I hoped that I would be a perfect woman of God by the time I reached my current age. Instead I sense my weaknesses acutely and am more dependent on God’s forgiveness than ever. I wonder if I misunderstood God’s expectations for my life as a Christian. Over time I have realized that I don’t have to be perfect to fully receive the love of Christ and find rest in him.

“I am finally making peace with my inadequacies. I have realized that none of us will get it right every time. We can simply remember that we belong to the One who does. This is the true grace that was born at Christmas.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Through God’s grace, I can live life abundantly.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for sending your son to take away our sins and for freeing us to live abundantly with you. Amen.

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

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His Word has a purifying effect on our minds, hearts

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, December 6, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

A follower of Christ becomes pure and holy through believing and obeying the Word of God. He or she has already accepted forgiveness through Christ’s sacrificial death. But daily application of His Word has a purifying effect on our minds, hearts. Scripture points out sin, motivates us to confess, renews our relationship with Christ, and guides us back to the right path. (NLT)

John 17:15-19 – [Jesus said] “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They are not part of this world any more than I am. Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth. As you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself entirely to you so they also might be entirely yours.”

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. –2 Peter 3:18 (NIV)

Gary B. Swanson (Maryland) titled his story “PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE;” here is a portion of Gary’s story:

“. . . I have noticed others who point out mistakes that Christians make and say, ‘If that’s what Christians are like then I want no part of Christianity.’

“. . . To a Christian, practicing means spending time with God through prayer and Bible reading and transforming into the image of Christ a little more each day by loving those whom Christ loves.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I’m not a perfect Christian, but I will get better with practice.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, come into our lives so fully that others may be drawn to your loving care for them. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN HURT BY CHRISTIANS

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

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Message of hope

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Tuesday, December 5, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

The apostle John also referred to Jesus as the “light.” Jesus referred to himself as “the light of the world.”

In a time of great darkness, God promised to send a light who would shine on everyone living in the shadow of death. He is both “Wonderful Counselor” and “Mighty God.” This message of hope was fulfilled in the birth of Christ and the establishment of his eternal Kingdom. He came to deliver all people from their slavery to sin. (NLT)

Isaiah 9:2-7 – The people who walk in darkness will see a great light—a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow. Israel will again be great, and its people will rejoice as people rejoice at harvest time. They will shout with joy like warriors dividing the plunder. For God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them, just as he did when he destroyed the army of Midian with Gideon’s little band. In that day of peace, battle gear will no longer be issued. Never again will uniforms be bloodstained by war. All such equipment will be burned.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titled: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!

To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. –Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

John McWhirter-Whitlock (South Australia, Australia) titled his story “CHRISTMAS BECAME REAL;” here is a portion of John’s story:

“Celebrating Christmas as Jesus’ birthday has always helped me to remember God’s love for us. However, the birth of our first son, Peter, gave Christmas new meaning for me. . . .

“Peter experienced his first Christmas when he was three weeks old. We took him to church on Christmas Day, and while I was holding him in my arms and looking at his face, tears came to my eyes. This little baby of ours reminded me that Jesus was born into the world as a tiny baby. As I looked at my son I saw God in action: the world’s salvation came as a baby who was just as helpless and dependent on his family as Peter. Our baby son that I held in my arms helped me see the meaning of Christmas in a whole new way.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Jesus came into the world as a baby just like I did.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for sending your son into the world as a baby to live among us and offer us salvation. 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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Our joy, prayers, thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Monday, December 4, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

Our joy, prayers, thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings. Obeying these three commands—be joyful, keep on praying, and be thankful—often goes against our natural inclinations. When we make a conscious decision to do what God says, however, we will begin to see people in a new perspective. When we do God’s will, we will find it easier to be joyful and thankful. (NLT)

1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 – Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and warn you against all that is wrong. Think highly of them and give them your wholehearted love because of their work. And remember to live peaceably with each other.

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else.

Paul wrote, “As for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” –2 Thessalonians 3:13 (NIV)

  1. Anne Smith (Tennessee) titled her story “SIMPLY DOING GOOD;” here is a portion of K. Anne’s story:

“A friend and I were collecting trash along a walkway in our town. . . . When we spotted two city employees emptying nearby trash bins, we asked if we could add our bag to the pile in their truck. ‘Sure,’ they said, ‘toss it in.’ . . . Then we congratulated ourselves for our good deed.

“Later that evening as I drove into town, I passed the same walkway. In the middle of the road lay our bag of trash. It had fallen off the truck, and its contents lay strewn across the highway. Our good deed had been undone.

“Often it seems that my good deeds go awry: I hold the door for an elderly man, and he barks that he is capable of opening the door for himself; I brake to allow another driver to merge into traffic and get rear-ended. It’s then that I want to throw my hands into the air and give up. That is when I need to remember that ‘doing what is good’ is an end in itself. Even when our acts of love seem to be for naught, we can serve God by caring for others, and such service is a blessing.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I will do a small deed in God’s service today.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be your hands and feet as we set about doing good in response to your love 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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Ask Him to take control of your life

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, December 3, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

Jesus means “the Lord saves.” Jesus came to earth to save us because we can’t save ourselves from sin and its consequences. No matter how good we are, we can’t eliminate the sinful nature present in all of us. Only Jesus can do that. Jesus didn’t come to help people save themselves; he came to be their Savior from the power and penalty of sin. Thank Christ for his death on the cross for your sin, and then ask Him to take control of your life. Your new life begins at that moment.

Jesus was God in the flesh; thus, God was literally among us, “with us.” Through the Holy Spirit, Christ is present today in the life of every believer. Perhaps not even Isaiah understood hos far-reaching the meaning if Immanuel would be. (NLT)

Matthew 1:18-25 – Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly.

As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this happened to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!   She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (Meaning, God is with us).” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife, but she remained a virgin until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”). –Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

Here is a portion of Ruth E. Hetland’s (Minnesota) story:

“God promises new life for us as well. In the midst of the dead ends of our lives – those times or places where we feel lost or just too tired to think – God reminds us: there is yet time! Those things you dream about are still possible. God can still answer those prayers you have been praying.

“No matter whether we are refreshed or tired, peaceful or anxious, hopeful or hopeless, God sends a message we need to hear. The story of Advent is the story of Immanuel, ‘God with us.’ Even in the darkest night, even in a hospital room, even on the cross, God is always about beginnings.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God offers me hope and new beginnings.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to trust in your power at work in our lives even when we cannot sense it. Amen.

Prayer Focus: SOMEONE WAITING FOR AN ANSWER TO PRAYER

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

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Being comforted by receiving strength, encouragement, hope to deal with our troubles

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, December 2, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

Many think that when God comforts us, our troubles should go away. But if that were always so, people would turn to God only out of a desire to be relieved of pain and not out of love for him. Being comforted by receiving strength, encouragement, hope to deal with our troubles. The more we suffer, the more comfort God gives us. If you are feeling overwhelmed, allow God to comfort you. Remember that every trial you endure will help you comfort other people who are suffering similar troubles. (NLT)

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 – All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share god’s comfort.

Just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. –2 Corinthians 1:5 (NIV)

David Powell (Cumbria, England) titled his story “GOD’S COMFORT;” here is a portion of David’s story:

“I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh in April 2013 when the Rana Plaza building collapsed killing 1,100 people – most of them women. . . .

“If I could feel such pain for people I loved but barely knew, how much more does God – who knows us perfectly and gave Christ to save us – love us? It brought me to tears as I thought about the way God comforts us in times of distress. God understands the pain we feel from los and offers us peace in the midst of grief. And we are called to let the comfort God gives us overflow to others.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I will trust in God’s comfort so I can share it with others.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for granting us your comfort in times of sorrow. Help us to comfort those who are in pain. 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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When you feel like panicking, confess your need for Him, then trust Him to care for you

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, December 1, 2017

For more Helpful Inspirational Material:

May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Dear Lord, open our hearts and our minds to the power of Your Word, which as we read, we may know, understand, and obey Your Word for us today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Author unknown)

Today’s scripture reading:

The disciples panicked because the storm threatened to destroy then all, and Jesus seemed unaware and unconcerned. Theirs was a physical storm, but storms come in other forms. Think about the storms in your life—the situations that cause you great anxiety. Whatever your difficulty, you have two options: You can worry and assume that Jesus no longer cares, or you can resist fear, putting your trust in him. When you feel like panicking, confess your need for Him and then trust Him to care for you. (NLT)

Mark 4:35-41 – As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?”

When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. And he ask them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?”

And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, “who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?”

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. –Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

Belinda Jo “BJ” Mathias (Mississippi) titled her story “OUR ANCHOR;” here is a portion of BJ’s story:

“I never thought about the absolute necessity of an anchor until I stood aboard a 1935, 45-foot, double-masted sailing vessel watching dark storm clouds roll in above the Chesapeake Bay. . . . There the anchor grabbed hold of the sea bottom and the ship was steadied by the anchor’s weight, giving us a sense of security.

“It was then that I realized why we need an anchor. I also learned what the writer of Hebrews meant when he spoke of God as our anchor. Sometimes an anchor is the only thing that holds firm. During our life’s journey we may feel battered about as if wind were tearing at our sails and water overtaking the deck of our ship. We may cry out for peace and yearn for safe passage through the storm.

“When the storms rage, God holds us firmly, never wavering, never failing, always loving, always caring. The one who can calm a raging sea is our anchor and our almighty God.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – “God is our refuge and strength” (Ps. 46:1)

Prayer: Father God, when the storms of life are raging, help us to remember that we can trust you to be our anchor, holding us securely through every storm. 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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