Posts from January 2020

DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY FEBRUARY 1, 2020

Psalm 127:2 (NIV)  (God) gives sleep to his beloved.  Time and space to rest the body is a gift God gave Elijah,  and it is a gift He wants to give us as well.  Learning to listen to the body,  to rest it and honor it as a place where God makes His presence known,  becomes then,  an important discipline for the spiritual pilgrim.  Don’t you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves? (MSG).

DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JANUARY 31, 2020

Psalm 138:1 (NLT)  I will praise thee with my whole heart…  “One of God’s gifts to us is that physical exercise releases endorphins that can sooth our emotions,  ease pain and elevate our mood.  It is not necessary to sit quietly in prayer.”  In fact,  slow,  meditative walks,  jogs,  and bike rides can become an important part of your practice of prayer.  The mind and soul can be less distracted and more fully present to God.  “You can reflect on…

DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JANUARY 30, 2020

Psalm 131:2 (NLT)  I have calmed and quieted myself,  like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.  Yes,  like a weaned child is my soul within me.  “Learning to rest in God in times of solitude begins with the body,  as the image of the nursing child suggests.  Sometimes the baby resists settling down enough to take what the mother offers.  But when the baby’s whole body relaxes in total peace and trust,  love is given…

DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JANUARY 29, 2020

I Kings 19:9b  (MSG)  “So Elijah,  what are you doing here?”  God asks questions—not because He doesn’t know the answer but because we need to open our hearts to Him and have an honest conversation at a deeper level.   If you are having trouble praying and concentrating on your prayer list,  maybe you just need to stop and notice your heart.  Choose to linger in God’s presence and talk with Him about your real feelings and frustrations.  “Honest noticing…

DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JANUARY 28, 2020

I Kings 19:6b (MSG)  (Elijah)  ate the meal and went back to sleep.  When the doctor finally declared me  “cancer free,”  everyone celebrated.  Then a friend told me,  “It will take you two years to get over this.”  I am so thankful for that piece of reality,  because everyone  (including me)  expected life to go back to normal.  It didn’t.  I was exhausted and unable to jump back quickly.  I worried that my pace would never return.  Elijah’s story helps…

DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JANUARY 27, 2020

I Kings 19:5  (MSG)  Exhausted  (Elijah)  fell asleep under the lone broom bush.  Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said,  “Get up and eat!”   Elijah had been running for his life.  Exhausted from an outpouring of spiritual,  physical and emotional energy,  he collapsed under a tree.  Most of us are not living at that level of a breaking point.  Still fairly functional,  we try to keep moving;  but when it is time to get quiet in prayer,  external…

DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JANUARY 25, 2020

John 16:23b (NIV)  …I tell you the truth,  my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”  Prayer does not require a feeling to be a prayer of faith.  Faith is not a feeling;  faith is an action.  Faith is obeying God’s rule.  When He says to  “ask anything”  or when you are moved to pray for a certain thing,  do it.  The fruit will be harvested later.  You will sense the pleasure of God that you prayed, …

DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JANUARY 24, 2020

Matthew 6:6 (NLT)  When you pray,  go away by yourself,  shut the door behind you,  and pray to your Father in private.  Then your Father,  who sees everything,  will reward you.  “Prayer is the choice we make where we want the rule of God to come.  And when we see things out of order,  outside His rule,  whether in our families,  neighborhoods,  churches or cities,  we can pray decisive prayers and He will come.  The Lord is looking for people…

DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JANUARY 23, 2020

I John 5:14-15 (NLT)  And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him.  And since we know He hears us when we make our requests,  we also know that He will give us what we ask for.  The Holy Spirit is our helper in prayer—a prayer specialist.  Ask Him to enable,  energize and enrich your prayer life.  How do you know if you are praying presumptuously?  Well,  are you asking for something selfish…

DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JANUARY 22, 2020

Philippians 4:6 (MSG)  Don’t fret or worry.  Instead of worrying,  pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers,  letting God know your concerns.  When we pray  “Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory”  we are not making a recitation—it is a proclamation.  We are taking our place with millions of others around the world to bring God’s will to pass in homes,  cities,  and nations.  The Holy Spirit leads the individual focuses,  and Heaven dispatches…

DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JANUARY 21, 2020

I Timothy 2:1-2 (NLT)  I urge you,  first of all,  to pray for all people.  Ask God to help them;  intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them.  We must pray with concerted passion in order to  “see the overthrow of those works of hell that manifest themselves in evils such as human trafficking,  bondage to drugs and other horrific oppressions.”  When we pray,  decisive things happen.  “God is at work beyond our sight and sound.  Don’t doubt it.” …

DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JANUARY 20, 2020

I Peter 3:7b (MSG)  In the new life of God’s grace,  you’re equals  (husband and wife)…being heirs together of the grace of life  (KJVS)…so that nothing will hinder your prayers (NIV).  Satan has launched an assault against unity among believers,  and Christian homes are a primary and unique target.  To some degree this is true because of the unique endowment of the Holy Spirit that is available to husband and wife as they are united in prayer  (Matthew 18:19).  Being…

DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JANUARY 18, 2020

Psalm 42:1 (NIV)  As the deer pants for streams of water,  so my soul pants for you,  O God.  Desperation and desire for God can lead us to withdraw from noisy,  peopled places and to sit our whole selves down to wait for that which comes from beyond ourselves.  God comes and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  Do not be afraid of spiritual hunger.  Let it surface,  notice it,  express it to God.  Let the Holy…

DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JANUARY 17, 2020

Luke 18:13 (MSG)  …slumped in the shadows,  his face in his hands,  not daring to look up,  he said,  “God,  give mercy.  Forgive me,  a sinner.”  How many of us have ever walked through a season of life in which we felt challenged on every level?  We’ve felt inadequate in prayer and inept in life skills.  We’ve wondered how we could come so far in life and yet fall so short in maturity.  We’ve felt desperately hungry for God yet…

DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JANUARY 16, 2020

Matthew 28:20b (NLT)  (Jesus said)…And be sure of this:  I am with you always,  even to the end of the age.  “Over time our body and soul respond to established rhythms,  so eventually the very act of entering this set-apart time and place  (for prayer)  ushers us into our own inner sanctuary.  There we can listen to our desire for God and God’s desire for us and allow that desire to guide us beyond our information-grasping,  controlling,  problem-solving patterns of…

DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JANUARY 15, 2020

Hebrews 12:2a (NIV)  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,  the author and perfecter of our faith…  On vacation,  it takes several days for me to fully escape my hurried disposition.  Out of town,  away from my phone,  hearing the sound of seagulls—my pace slows,  my head clears,  and my heart offloads and re-syncs with the Lord.  But I need a daily connection.  That’s when  “breath prayers”  are helpful.  They are simple phrases that help us gather up our desire…

DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JANUARY 14, 2020

Mark 1:35 (NIV)  Very early in the morning,  while it was still dark,  Jesus got up,  left the house and went off to a solitary place,  where He prayed.  Have you identified a sacred space and time for prayer?  Maybe you have a favorite chair in the spare bedroom,  or a spot in the sunroom—with Bible and journal nearby.  Have you placed any spiritual symbols or artifacts nearby that help you feel present to God?  Once you have designated a…

DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JANUARY 13, 2020

Psalm 46:10  (NIV)  Be still,  and know that I am God… When we learn how to be still in God’s presence in unhurried prayer and linger quietly in an attitude of receptivity,  something incredible will happen:  the  “knowing”  will come.  For many of us,  busy agendas distract us,  and prayer becomes another thing on our to-do list,  an activity filled with words and opinions. He wants to teach us how to move at His pace and see through His eyes…

DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JANUARY 11, 2020

Psalm 32:7  (NIV)  You are my hiding place;  you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.  When life gets tough,  it’s hard to hear the sound of God’s songs of deliverance.  Sorrow plugs our ears.  Discouragement clouds our vision.  But if we will listen carefully we will hear a song rise up from a hidden place in our souls bringing hope and encouragement.  Pause and listen.  Hear what David heard.  Know what he knew—God is…

DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JANUARY 10, 2020

Genesis 48:11(NIV)  Israel said to Joseph,  “I never expected to see your face again,  and now God has allowed me to see your children too.”  What a joyful climax to a dramatic story filled with unexpected twists and turns!  Aged Israel  (formerly known as Jacob)  never expected that his life would end so well.  God brought resolution to a heart-rending family situation.  Joseph’s godly character had guided him safely through minefields of potential disaster and delivered him and his children…

DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JANUARY 9, 2020

Genesis 41:51-52 (NIV)  Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said,  “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”  The second son he named Ephraim and said,  “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”  This passage gives us a window into Joseph’s soul.  After years of heartache,  he gave names of hope and reassurance to his newborn sons.  For those of us who live with extremely…

DEVOTIONS – WEDNESDAY JANUARY 8, 2020

Genesis 32:28a  (NIV)  Your name will no longer be Jacob,  but Israel… All night long Jacob cried out to God,  “Bless me.”  All night long God responded by asking,  “What is your name?”  Why was God so persistent?  Why did the struggle go on for so long?  God already knew Jacob’s name.  But to admit his name was to expose the fact that Jacob was a liar and a deceiver.  When he finally confessed his identity to God,  that confession…

DEVOTIONS – TUESDAY JANUARY 7, 2020

Genesis 26: (NIV)  The Lord appeared to Isaac and said,  “Do not go down to Egypt;  live in the land where I tell you to live.  Stay in this land for a while,  and I will be with you and will bless you.  For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.  God’s promises extended to Isaac when he followed in his father’s footsteps of faith. …

DEVOTIONS – MONDAY JANUARY 6, 2020

Genesis 25:  (NLT)  “Look,  I’m dying of starvation!”  said Esau.  “What good is my birthright to me now?”   Weakened by an exhausting day of work in the open country,  Esau sat by Jacob’s fire and made a life-changing choice:  he traded his inheritance for a bowl of stew.  Too many people miss God’s remarkable goals and objectives due to self-centeredness.  Our daily choices adjust our trajectories either away from divine potential or toward it.  God has plans for us. …

DEVOTIONS – SATURDAY JANUARY 4, 2020

Genesis 3:8  (NIV)  Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid…  How do we respond when God approaches us? How do we answer His call to relationship? Does guilt cause us to hide?  Where do we hide—in busy schedules, loud distractions, and various diversions? It is best to turn toward the Lord rather than away from Him. Fleeing our…

DEVOTIONS – FRIDAY JANUARY 3, 2020

Luke 2:43 (NIV)  After the Feast was over,  while His parents were returning home,  the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem,  but they were unaware of it.  Note the interesting conversation between Mary and Jesus.  She told Jesus,  “Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  Jesus responded by reminding her that He had to be in  “his Father’s house.”  Though He loved and respected Joseph,  Jesus was the Son of God.  The story ends with Jesus obeying…

DEVOTIONS – THURSDAY JANUARY 2, 2020

Luke 2:39-40 (NIV)   When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord,  they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.  And the child grew and became strong;  He was filled with wisdom,  and the grace of God was upon Him.  Finally it was time to settle down and enjoy being a family.  With dangers and transitions behind them for now,  Mary and Joseph began a normal family life.  Jesus thrived in His…
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