This Week’s Verse: “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3 (HSCB)
I have never been more thankful to follow a God who loves, comforts, and cares for me.
This semester (this school year, really) has been one full of new and unique challenges. For me personally, I’ve had a lot of personal and professional challenges present themselves, and I’ve found myself getting discouraged and more stressed out than normal.
During this difficult season, I’ve also had a hard time doing my quiet time with God, which I’m sure is contributing to some of that.
As the semester has progressed and new things to worry about have come up, some of those old worries fell away and resolved themselves. Problems I hadn’t bothered to think about have started yielding positive results because I’ve been learning to take better care of my mental health.
Truthfully, when February rolled around, I thought the semester was going to be an awful one. It’s turned out to be one full of community, personal growth, and thankfulness for the opportunity to learn.
If you’re like me and have trouble focusing on the good God is doing in your life, I encourage you to take a few minutes out of your day and count your blessings. God is always at work in our lives, even when we can’t see it. Be thankful for the things He’s doing in your life and for what He’s already done for you.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your provision for my life. Thank You for always providing for me and knowing what’s best for my life. Amen.
Previously published by Aboite Independent.
This week's verse: “The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life. The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.” Psalm 121:7-8 (HCSB)
Life is turbulent. I found out the day before my roommate was supposed to move in that she wasn’t returning to school. At first, I couldn’t believe it. It had to be a joke; my roommate loved Taylor. Then reality started to seep in, and the weight of the situation finally came into full effect.
It felt like someone ripped my heart out of my chest. She was one of my best friends. When I went through a very dark period last semester, our friendship was one of the reasons I kept pushing myself in my classes. For a few hours, the focus level I reached over the summer disappeared and I fell into a slump I couldn’t get myself out of.
The next morning, some of the girls on my floor helped me rearrange my dorm and another friend and I redecorated afterwards. I found something very interesting during that time - a lot of what my roommate provided in the past, I already had with me. God had been preparing me for her departure before I knew it was coming, bringing a sense of peace over me. I realized again that God is in control, even in hard times.
If you’re going through something right now, know that you are not alone. It’s hard, and believe me, God really is in control, no matter how difficult life can be.
Prayer: Father, I know You’re here with me. Give me the courage to trust that You’re in control, in good times and in bad. Amen.
This Week’s Verse: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 (HCSB)
Okay, I didn’t expect to be staring at snow outside my dorm room window in late April. In fact, a lot of things that have happened in the last few months were not things I expected or things I planned for. That’s just how life is sometimes.
Because we know this is how life is, and yes, it’s frustrating, we should still continue to live our lives with grace.
I know I’m not the only one who complained about the snow. I’m ready for spring to be here and for summer right after that. The snow was a setback in an otherwise predictable schedule. At first, I was frustrated, but the more I watched the flakes fall in wet clumps onto the ground, the more I came to appreciate the beauty of it. God has blessed us with so many natural beauties, and snow is one of them. I see it as a gift, throwing a little spice into our week, because we normally don’t get snow in late April.
If I can do that with a little snow, why shouldn’t I do that with some of the stresses of life? The answer is that I should take the challenges God’s given me and use them to glorify Him. Everything I do is for Him and furthering His kingdom on Earth, and I should treat them like that instead of temporary burdens on my check list.
Are there things you have going on that you have a negative mindset on? Think about how you can use those things to show honor to God and show Him to the world. It’s not easy, but looking for ways to glorify God in every-day tasks is something that we should try to do as Christians. It can help us get closer to our Creator, too.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the small things and the ways you’ve shown Your faithfulness to me this week. I pray that I can set my eyes on You and do everything in Your Name today. Amen.
This Week’s Verse: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (HCSB)
Everyone has doubted themselves and their faith at one point or another, and every time we do, God is right beside us. Remembering that truth isn’t always easy.
I’ve felt God calling me to write since I was sixteen. From that point on, I’ve always had a manuscript-in-progress, hoping one day to get it published. When I go to bookstores, I point out where my books would go on the shelves. My degree when I graduate college will say “Professional Writing,” and I’m going to school to learn all about the publishing process and how to write to the best of my ability.
All throughout my time at school, I’ve dealt with doubt almost constantly. Most of the time, I doubt myself and whether or not I’m doing what God wants me to do with my life. There are times where I doubt my faith because of the insecurity I feel about my writing ability. There’s no way He could use me to show His love through my writing. My skills aren’t good enough!
But that’s the thing: my skills might not be good enough, but He is.
We serve a loving and gracious God who is willing to work with us through our doubt in ourselves and Him.
Are there areas in your life where you need a little encouragement? Write them down in a prayer journal and bring them to God. Again, He’s with you in everything you do, and loves you even in the midst of doubt.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your faithfulness in everything. Help me overcome my doubts and learn to trust You more. Amen.
Previously published on Aboite Independent
“‘For I know the plans I have for you-’ this is the Lord’s declaration- ‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 (HCSB)
I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of anxiety. It affects me everyday; in decision making, trying new things, writing, and thinking about my future.
Over J-term this school year, I decided to try cross fit. I had no prior knowledge of what a cross fit workout required physically, but I wanted to try it, so I did. Long story short, it requires a lot of strength. I have no muscular structure whatsoever, so I ended up having an anxiety attack my first night.
I hate hearing people edit my writing. I’m very sensitive, so when people edit something I wrote, I feel like they’re comments are aimed at me and not my work. I end up shutting down and not hearing what they’re saying to make my writing better.
I think I want to get my Master’s degree in Library Science, but I’m going to have to foot the bill for grad school. The cheapest option I’ve found so far is over $50,000 and I have no way to pay for it.
I’ve prayed for a while about all these problems that have pushed me to my breaking point. God answered them all with a simple phrase.
If you’re waiting for a magic answer from God, He’s waiting for you to seek Him. Seek God, and don’t lose faith. God is in control.
Prayer: Father, I feel lost. Give me peace and show me the way You’re leading me in Your time. Amen.
This Week’s Verse: “Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:21-23 (HCSB)
I don’t know about you, but life is wearing me out. I have a lot on my plate, including homework, projects, an internship, planning a retreat for my major, and finally, trying to edit one of my manuscripts to send to a potential agent.
The work never goes away, and it always feels like I have to slack in one area so I can give more attention to a different one. I don’t mean to complain, really, and my life’s always been this busy, but for some reason, it’s more amplified this week.
All this to say, I need a break.
When I started thinking about the devotion for this week and flipped through my Bible, Lamentations 3:21-23 stuck out to me. While my own personal drive wears down, leaving me impatient and irritable, God’s love for me. His faithfulness never wavers and never will. As verse 23 says, His mercies are new every day, waiting for us to come running to Him.
Are you worn out by everyday life? Go to Him for renewal. His arms are open wide for you to rest in Him.
Prayer: Father, I’m worn out by the world around me. Renew my heart and mind, Lord, so I can continue to live for You. Amen.
This Week’s Verse: “Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble.” Psalm 119:165 (HCSB)
We’ve all known someone at one point or another who lived their life adventurously. They took risks, like skydiving or rock climbing, coming out of those experiences with as fond of an appreciation for life as ever. Plus, they always have stories to share when you get together with them for coffee.
It takes a lot of trust to skydive. You have to trust the pilot of the plane to fly you over the drop zone and tell you the correct time to jump. You have to trust the instructor you’re with to teach you how to correctly jump and when to pull your parachute so you land safely back on the ground. Heck, you have to trust that your parachute isn’t busted when you pull the cord on your descent back to earth.
There are probably several other factors that go into skydiving that I’ve missed, but I’ve never been skydiving, so I’m going to move on from the illustration.
This week’s focus is living with abandon, and I feel Psalm 119:165 really captures that view I want to emphasize. Because of our faith in Jesus, we’re given this gift of peace, meaning we find our rest and strength in Him. This peace He’s given grants us the capability to live our lives out without fear. How cool is that? We have the ability to live our lives with the knowledge that God has everything under control.
Examine your life and find ways to live with abandon this week. When we root ourselves in the Lord, we have the confidence to live for Him. We can trust Him to deliver us through life’s trials.
Prayer: Thank You for providing peace throughout my life. Help me continue to live out Your will for my life. Amen.
This Week’s Verse: “A person should consider us in this way: as servants of Christ and managers of God’s mysteries. In this regard, it is expected of managers that each one of them be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (HCSB)
One of the hardest things to do when being a Christian is remembering to be faithful to God and His calling for our lives. Our world revolves around people looking out for themselves and mercilessly climbing to the top of whatever social or economic ladder they choose to climb. Because of that, and our sinful nature, remembering God is the main focus of our lives is hard.
Last week, I talked about being dependent on God for everything. We have to remember to be faithful to Him, even when we’ve pledged our dependence on Him.
You can be dependent on God every day of your life, but there can still be a disconnect between you and Him. When you’re actively dependent on God, you’re relying on your faith in Him. And there are ways to strengthen your faith, like reading your Bible daily and being in constant prayer with God. Building your relationship with God is an important thing, especially since, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, we are the servants of Christ. We should want to know our Creator more and grow in Him.
Continuing to live out your faith day-to-day is not for the faint-hearted. It requires discipline and devotion to God. But, because of His sovereign love, even when you mess up and fail, He is always in your corner.
Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your love and for sustaining me. Help me continue to serve You with a grateful heart, and learn to be faithful to You. Amen.
This Week’s Verse: “For I, Yahweh your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13 (HCSB)
I don’t know about you, but when I set goals for myself at the beginning of the new year, I try as hard as I can to reach them. One of my goals for this year is to remain dependent on God. Pretty simple, right?
What I knew going into this desire to live my life dependent on God is that I would have to be constantly conscious of this switch of my perception on my life. I had to surrender my life, plans, burdens, and worries over to God daily. And the days I remember to do this are great. I have low anxiety and I’m more willing to roll with the punches. The days I forget to, though, are days of high stress and uncertainty.
I use those days of uncertainty to turn myself back to God, and try even harder to live dependent on Him.
This week, I encourage you to take that step and be fully dependent on God. It’s not easy; it’s a conscious surrender of your struggles and plans for your life. As Chrisitians, we’re called to trust God with those burdens. He’s bigger than our problems, and He can handle whatever challenges you’re facing at the moment. Be dependent on you heavenly Father.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your steadfast love and kindness. I’m falling into Your embrace, and I pray you lead me in Your way today. Amen.
This week’s verse: “Don’t criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:11-12 (HCSB)
Take a moment and think about a person you can’t stand being around. What qualities make them unbearable? Their voice? Actions? Beliefs? Or is it something in their personality that just rubs you the wrong way? Whatever the reason, it makes them a little harder for you to tolerate their presence.
I’m human just like you, and there are people in my life that I have trouble being around, too. We should also keep in mind that we’re probably that person for other people, and we should be compassionate toward those people who annoy us just like everyone else.
We’re not perfect. God’s not asking us to be. Our goal as Christians is to live like Christ in every aspect of our lives, including in how we interact with people. As the verse this week says, we shouldn’t judge the people around us because we’re just as at fault and imperfect. We need to be there for everyone, especially for those people who annoy us. We don’t know what’s going on in their personal lives, and we should be mindful of that in those moments of irritation.
This week, I encourage you to pray for that person you thought of at the beginning of this devotion. You never know. They may need that encouragement this week.
Prayer: Father, I thank you for my friends, and I thank you for the people I struggle with loving. Be with me this week, and be with them. Amen.