your daily crossroad

 

A Believer’s Peace

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (Romans 14:19) 
 
Today, believers and unbelievers alike are looking for peace. But how do we follow after the things of peace?  Since everyone is longing and searching for peace, let’s first define the difference between the peace of the unbeliever with the peace of the believer. 
 
The unbeliever is looking for peace in the outer circumstances of their lives. “If only the world was a peaceful place to be, if only we had a leader that would establish peace, if only everyone else would be kind to one another….then we would have peace” are the hopes and thoughts of the unbelievers. So, they look for leaders who could bring this kind of peace to their environment. We all agree with this kind of thinking to some extent. Wouldn’t we all be happy with world peace and conflict free circumstances? But Jesus tells us that in this world you will have tribulation and the Bible teaches that the only leader who will bring world peace is the spirit of the antichrist. World peace cannot last under his reign for Satan is the master of division, destruction, disaster and death. 
 
A believer’s peace is different. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The kind of peace Jesus gives is peace of heart. Christians should have great peace knowing that they are unconditionally loved and that God has a purpose for them. There is great peace seeing prayers answered and understanding the things of God. As a believer begins to meditate upon the things of God, the peace they receive in their hearts starts training their minds to think differently. We start hearing praise songs going through our minds and thanking God for His lovingkindness and goodness towards us. Finally, this peace of Christ is lived out through the believers’ behaviors. Their attitude is not negative and they smile for no reason. They are focused but not self centered. And their behavior starts reflecting a trust in God that all things will work together for good because they love God and know God loves them. A believer understands that it is not about conflict-free circumstances that bring peace but about Jesus who brings peace in the midst of all kinds of circumstances. So, we follow after the things of peace leading us to follow the Author of perfect peace Himself. 
 
When I read this devotion I felt it was a great way to define the difference between the peace of the unbeliever with the peace of the believer. There is such a significant difference. My prayer today is if you are not reflecting the peace of a believer that you would be inspired by this devotion to make a change in your heart and life and walk with the assurance that as today’s devotion says, Jesus, The Author of perfect peace Himself brings peace in the midst of all kinds of circumstances. So today, even if you don’t see peace on the horizon, trust The Author of perfect peace.  
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is John 8:31-32 


Worshiping with Questions

But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. (Psalm 13:5) 
 
It’s not uncommon during a long (or short!) trip for someone in a group of travelers to ask, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” Who hasn’t heard these universal queries coming from the lips of children and adults eager to arrive at their destination? But people of all ages are also prone to ask similar questions when wearied because of life challenges that never seem to cease. 
 
Such was the case with David in Psalm 13. Four times in two verses (vv. 1–2), David—who felt forgotten, forsaken, and defeated—lamented “How long?” In verse two, he asks, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts?” Psalms that include lament, like this one, implicitly give us permission to worshipfully come to the Lord with questions of our own. After all, what better person to talk to during prolonged times of stress and strain than God? We can bring our struggles with illness, grief, the waywardness of a loved one, and relational difficulties to Him. 
 
Worship need not stop when we have questions. The sovereign God of heaven welcomes us to bring our worry-filled questions to Him. And perhaps, like David, in due time our questions will be transformed into petitions and expressions of trust and praise to the Lord (vv. 3–6). 
 
Lord, thank You that I don’t have to stop worshiping when I have questions; I can worship You with my questions. Amen. 
 
When I read today’s devotion it blessed me. I love when it said, worship need not stop when we have questions. Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of your joy and peace. Each and every day, bring your questions to God with worship and praise in your heart and mind. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). Praise Him in the storm. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Lamentations 3:22-23 


Algae and Diatom

Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. (Job 37:14) 
 
“What’s a diatom?” I asked my friend. I was leaning over her shoulder looking at pictures on her cell phone she had taken through a microscope. “Oh, it’s like algae, but it’s harder to see. Sometimes you need a drop of oil on the lens or they have to be dead to see them,” she explained. I sat amazed as she scrolled through the pictures. I couldn’t stop thinking about the intricate detail God put into life that we can only see with a microscope! 
 
God’s creation and works are endless. In the book of Job, one of Job’s friends, Elihu, points this out to Job as he struggles through his loss. Elihu challenges his friend, “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?” (Job 37:14–16). We, as humans, can’t begin to understand the complexity of God and His creation. 
 
Even the parts of creation we can’t see reflect God’s glory and power. His glory surrounds us. No matter what we’re going through, God is working, even when we can’t see it and don’t understand. Let’s praise Him today, for “Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number” (Job 5:9). 
 
Lord, thank You for the detail You put into creation and for being at work even when we can’t see it. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion it blessed me. We must remember each and every day, no matter what we may be facing, God is always working. He is faithful. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 118:5-6


Free from Frostbite

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. (Psalm 119:35) 
 
On a winter day, my children begged to go sledding. The temperature hovered near zero degrees Fahrenheit. Snowflakes raced by our windows. I thought it over and said yes, but asked them to bundle up, stay together, and come inside after fifteen minutes.
 
Out of love, I created those rules so my children could play freely without suffering frostbite. I think the author of Psalm 119 recognized the same good intent in God as he penned two consecutive verses that might seem contradictory: “So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts” (vv. 44–45). How is it that the psalmist associated freedom with a spiritually law-abiding life? 
 
Following God’s wise instruction allows us to escape the consequences that come from choices we later wish we could undo. Without the weight of guilt or pain we are freer to enjoy our lives. God doesn’t want to control us with dos and don’ts; rather, His guidelines show that He loves us. 
 
While my kids were sledding, I watched them blast down the hill. I smiled at the sound of their laughter and the sight of their pink cheeks. They were free within the boundaries I’d given them. This compelling paradox is present in our relationship with God—it leads us to say with the psalmist, “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight” (v. 35). 
 
Dear God, give me a love for Your ways like the psalmist had. I want to worship You with the choices I make every day. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion I was reminded, obedience flows freely from a heart of love. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 1 Peter 1:15-16 


The Mood Mender

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. (Psalm 94:19) 
 
As I waited at the train station for my weekly commute, negative thoughts crowded my mind like commuters lining up to board a train—stress over debt, unkind remarks said to me, helplessness in the face of a recent injustice done to a family member. By the time the train arrived, I was in a terrible mood. 
 
On the train, another thought came to mind: write a note to God, giving Him my lament. Soon after I finished pouring out my complaints in my journal, I pulled out my phone and listened to the praise songs in my library. Before I knew it, my bad mood had completely changed. 
 
Little did I know that I was following a pattern set by the writer of Psalm 94. The psalmist first poured out his complaints: “Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. . . . Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” (Psalm 94:2, 16.) He didn’t hold anything back as he talked to God about injustice done to widows and orphans. Once he’d made his lament to God, the psalm transitioned into praise: “But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge” (v. 22). 
 
God invites us to take our laments to Him. He can turn our fear, sadness, and helplessness into praise. 
 
Lord, I pour out my heart to You. Take my hurts and my anger, and grant me Your peace. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me. We all need to be reminded of how praise has the power to lighten our heaviest burden. Be encouraged today and take a praise break. He is The Rock in whom I take refuge, amen! 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 1 John 5:14 


Where Are You Headed?

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2) 
 
What determines our direction in life? I once heard an answer to that question in a surprising place: a motorcycle training course. Some friends and I wanted to ride, so we took a class to learn how. Part of our training dealt with something called target fixation. 
 
“Eventually,” our instructor said, “you’re going to face an unexpected obstacle. If you stare at it—if you target fixate—you’ll steer right into it. But if you look above and past it to where you need to go, you can usually avoid it.” Then he added, “Where you’re looking is the direction you’re going to go.” 
 
That simple-but-profound principle applies to our spiritual lives too. When we “target fixate”—focusing on our problems or struggles—we almost automatically orient our lives around them. 
 
However, Scripture encourages us to look past our problems to the One who can help us with them. In Psalm 121:1, we read, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?” The psalm then answers: “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. . . .The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (vv. 2, 8). 
 
Sometimes our obstacles can seem insurmountable. But God invites us to look to Him to help us see beyond our troubles instead of letting them dominate our perspective. 
 
Father, help me not to “target fixate,” but to look to You whenever I face fearful obstacles as I seek to follow You along life’s road. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me so very much. What a reminder where our true source of strength and help comes from, The Maker of heaven and earth. It’s not within ourselves. I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9, And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Matthew 5:6


Loving Difficult People

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (Colossians 3:12-14) 
 
It was only a three-minute escape. Listening to my name being chanted over and over, louder and louder, with greater urgency, along with pounding on the door, you might imagine me to be a rock star. 
 
But in reality, I’m the mother of a toddler who has decided he is only content when he is in my arms. My escape was merely a trip to the bathroom in which I took a deep breath behind the locked door before re-entering my world of diapers, blocks, and Daniel Tiger. And even though I love this little guy with all my heart, at times he can definitely be a difficult person to keep showing love to, especially in the midst of tantrums and tears. 
 
It probably isn’t hard for you to think of a difficult person in your own life. In our broken, sin-filled world, they are everywhere. The coworker who is willing to do anything to get ahead, including taking credit for your ideas. The in-laws who always seem to be peering over your shoulder, critiquing your parenting skills, and offering “suggestions” for improvement. The child who knows exactly how to push your buttons to leave you exasperated and flustered again. The person in your ministry who is constantly complaining about your leadership, who thinks he has better ideas and communicates them with a sharp and biting tongue. The passive-aggressive friend who is kind one moment and gives you the cold shoulder the next. The list can go on and on. 
 
So, what do we do with these people? With constant strained relationships? Our natural tendency is to want to run the other way, to avoid them as much as possible. But is that what honors God in these hard situations? 
 
Moses was no stranger to leading a group of difficult people. Even after rescuing them out of slavery and leading them safely away from the Egyptians, the Israelites were not happy with him. Instead of being grateful for their new freedom and provision from God, they were shedding tears over the menu (Numbers 11:4–6), grumbling about not having water (Numbers 20:2–3), wishing they had died in Egypt and could choose another leader (Numbers 14:2–4). Even Moses’s own siblings were jealous of his leadership (Numbers 12:2) and complained to God about their brother and his Cushite wife. 
 
Yet what amazes me about Moses is that he didn’t retaliate against this annoying group of people. He didn’t even defend himself against the harsh accusations. Instead, he demonstrated amazing humility and compassion on those he led, repeatedly interceding for them. 
 
Moses pled with God to heal Miriam’s leprosy (Numbers 12:13). He begged God to forgive Israel’s unbelief when it was time to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:19). He lay prostrate before God, fasting forty days and nights after Aaron and the Israelites had made the golden calf to worship (Deuteronomy 9:13–18). 
 
Admittedly, there were moments when the Israelites’ constant complaints drove Moses to the brink of despair (Exodus 5:22; Numbers 11:14–15), yet by God’s grace he persevered. And even at the very end of his life, he was still lovingly leading the disobedient Israelites. 
 
Moses remained steadfast to his last days and made sure God had another leader in place to take over. He didn’t want his wandering sheep to be without a shepherd (Numbers 27:16–17). Moses never stopped loving them, even at their worst. 
 
By God’s grace, we too can keep loving the difficult people God has placed in our lives. The easy thing is to cut the troublesome person out of your life when possible, or just avoid them at best. 
 
But I suggest we are more like our patient and loving Savior when we bear with each other and seek to show mercy and kindness, no matter how we are treated. 
 
Here are six practical ways, among many others, to show love to a difficult person God has placed in your path. 
 
1. Pray for your own heart. 
 
Ask God to soften your heart towards this person, to put off anger and irritability, to put on meekness and kindness, to understand this person’s struggles and meet them with compassion (Colossians 3:12–14). 
 
2. Pray for them.
 
Ask God to be at work in their hearts, drawing unbelievers to himself and sanctifying believers to become more like Jesus (Philippians 1:9–11). 
 
3. Move toward them, not away from them. 
 
Although our tendency is to want to steer clear of people with whom we have strained relationships, they are exactly the people we need to be intentionally moving toward. Find ways to engage them in conversation, meet them for coffee, send them a text. 
 
4. Find specific ways to bless and encourage them. 
 
Write them a note of appreciation. Buy them a book that has been an encouragement to you. Tell them you are praying for them. 
 
5. Give them grace, just as God extends grace to you. 
 
Remember God’s lavish grace poured out for your own daily sins. Ask God to help you bear with them, forgiving them, as he has forgiven you (Colossians 3:13). 
 
6. Realize that you too could be the difficult person in someone else’s life! 
 
You might not even realize that you are a thorn in the flesh for someone close to you. Don’t be oblivious to your own shortcomings and sins. 
 
So, when that child has you on the brink of tears, or you’ve just received a harsh and critical email about your ministry, or you’re confronted with that extended family member who drives you up the wall, ask God for grace not to run away, but to keep engaging that hard-to-love person in love. 
 
God will be honored and our hearts will find deeper satisfaction as we seek to love people just as Christ loved us when we were his enemies. 
 
When I read this devotion I felt not only do I need to be reminded and encouraged about this very thing, someone, somewhere, needs to read this today. Maybe you had a rough day at work or just in life. I pray this devotion can give you encouragement and guidance in how to show love, no matter what your going through, no matter what your facing, no matter how your treated in return, love. Show The Love of Christ in all you say and do. Be blessed today and choose to make the rest of your day beautiful. Help me Lord to show Love, always. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Jeremiah 29:13 


Press Into Him

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret. (Luke 5:1) 
 
Have you ever been in the presence of someone famous and had an opportunity to get close to them – close enough to touch them? Fans at concerts get as close as they can to the stage and others wait in lines for hours just to get a glimpse of someone they want to see in person. People in these situations will keep pressing in until they see or hear that special person they desperately want to meet. Jesus had become such a person of interest that many people came from miles around to see and hear Him speak. They “pressed about Him” to get as close as they could. Was it because He looked good or had a great voice? Was there something about Him physically that attracted people? This verse says that they came to “hear the word of God.” When was the last time you pressed into church and sat as close as you could to the pastor just to hear the word of God? 
 
When we fall in love with the word of God, we fall in love with the Lord. In that place of love, we cannot get close enough to Him. We find ourselves on our knees, on our faces and in our closets praying to see His face and hear His voice. We desire an intimacy that is so special and so personal that nothing else matters. James 4:8 says that if we draw near to God, then He will draw near to us. Press into Jesus today. Draw close to Him. Find a quiet place to be alone with Him and ask His Spirit to fill you with His love and presence. Open your Bible  and start reading His Word. Soon you will understand why the multitude pressed about Him just to hear the word of God. Today, start your day off with a prayer to know Him more and do not stop pressing into Him. 
 
When I read this devotion it brought tears to my eyes. Press into Him more and more each and every day. He is readily available and loves us so much He died for us. How in love with Jesus are you?  
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Proverbs 16:3 


Counting Our Days

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
 
According to a statistic published some time ago, the average life span of people in the United States is 25,550 days (70 years). Some of us are already past that number, while others may never reach it. My calculator tells me that as of today I have lived 28,080 days. Perhaps you want to check just how many days you have already lived. 
 
As we count our days, we are reminded that they are limited. As someone once put it, “Life is a temporary assignment.” 
 
That’s why the psalmist asks the Lord to help us number our days—so we will realize we have been given only limited time here on this earth. The psalmist wants us to remember that what really matters is how we use the days he gives us. 
 
And that raises some important questions: How will we use the remaining 364 days of this year? Will we use them in the way the Lord wants us to? Will we use them to serve him and to serve the people God places on our path? Are we willing to use our gifts and talents, our resources and our time to build his kingdom in whatever place he puts us? 
 
We are not given another year simply to take up space. Wherever we may find ourselves, God wants to use each one of us. Ask yourself today, “How does God want to use me?” 
 
Father in heaven, help us to understand that you have given us another year to serve you. Make us faithful in our calling. Amen. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 90:12 


Honoring The Lord

For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 2:7) 
 
The magazines, newspapers and front page of the websites are filled with the most memorable events and significant people that have affected our lives in the past year.  We can look back over the last year and see certain markers that changed our course and shaped our lives individually. Now with the New Year here, we not only reflect on the past, but also attempt to set goals for the future. 
 
While being in this frame of mind, I started my devotionals this morning reading the book of Malachi. Malachi has four chapters with themes that are easy to remember: mouth, marriage and money. God is rebuking His priests because of the words of their mouths, their attitudes toward their marriages and their motives toward money. The priests were to be an upright and holy group of men representing the Lord. Outwardly, the priests did carry on their functions and requirements. But inwardly, their hearts were far from the Lord. 
 
Considering the past year, we have to take the time to reflect on what we did and why. “Were my motives pure? Did others look at my actions and wonder why I was different? Did I give my best to the Lord or did I justify my offerings in giving the leftovers? Did my attitude in my marriage honor the Lord? What kind of words did I speak? Did my mouth glorify Jesus and edify others around me?” 
 
After examining my heart in asking these questions, I found myself in repentance. How can anyone be that good? But that’s not the point.  None of us will ever be sinless but each of us needs to be above reproach in our hearts before God. God does not hold our behaviors against us if our hearts remain right before Him. It’s when we think our behaviors justify our hearts that God rebukes us. The Lord is more than willing to work with a repentant heart. 
 
In this New Year, be sure your heart is willing to be obedient. As you open your heart to confess, seek, yield and love the Lord, He will work with your behaviors that follow your yielded heart.  We all want the Lord to bless us this New Year. We all pray that His face may shine upon us and give us peace. No matter how short we fall, His mercies are new every morning and His desire is to bless us indeed.  As you reflect on the past and fix your eyes on the future, remember to consider the Lord. He has a plan for you as He watches over your coming and going, not only today but also for the this coming year. 
 
When I read this devotion it blessed me. His mercies are new every morning. As the year comes to an end don’t look back on yesterday’s disappointments, look ahead to God’s promises yet to unfold. Our hope is not in the new year but in The One who makes all things new. Psalm 65:11, You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Isaiah 43:19 


An Ordinary Man

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) 
 
William Carey was a sickly boy, born to a humble family near Northampton, England. His future didn’t look too bright. But God had plans for him. Against all odds, he moved to India, where he brought incredible social reforms and translated the Bible into several Indian languages. He loved God and people, and accomplished many things for God. 
 
David, son of Jesse, was an ordinary young man, the youngest in his family. He was seemingly an insignificant shepherd on the hills of Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:11–12). Yet God saw David’s heart and had a plan for him. King Saul had been rejected by God for disobedience. While the prophet Samuel mourned Saul’s choices, God called Samuel to anoint a different king, one of Jesse’s sons. 
 
When Samuel saw the handsome, tall Eliab, he naturally thought, “surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord” (v. 6). However, God’s strategy to select a king was much different than Samuel’s. In fact, God said no to each of Jesse’s sons, except the youngest one. Selecting David as king was definitely not a strategic move from God’s part, or so it seemed at first glance. What would a young shepherd have to offer his community, let alone his country? 
 
How comforting to know that the Lord knows our hearts and has His plans for us. 
 
Dear Lord, thank You that You care more about my heart’s attitude toward You than my outward beauty, possessions, or achievements. Amen. 
 
Today’s devotion blessed me. I am reminded of Psalm 139:14, I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary. Remember, God’s priority is your heart.  
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 1 John 2:6


Jesus Is Right Behind You

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40) 
 
My daughter was ready for school a little earlier than usual, so she asked if we could stop by the coffee shop on our way. I agreed. As we approached the drive-thru lane, I said, “Do you feel like spreading some joy this morning?” She said, “Sure.” 
 
We placed our order, then pulled up to the window where the barista told us what we owed. I said, “We’d like to pay for the young woman’s order behind us too.” My daughter had a huge smile on her face. 
 
In the grand scheme of things, a cup of coffee may not seem like a big deal. Or is it? I wonder, could this be one way we carry out Jesus’s desire for us to care for those He called “the least of these”? (Matthew 25:40). Here’s a thought: How about simply considering the person behind us or next in line a worthy candidate? And then do “whatever”—maybe it’s a cup of coffee, maybe it’s something more, maybe something less. But when Jesus said “Inasmuch as ye have done” (v. 40) that gives us a great deal of freedom in serving Him while serving others. 
 
As we drove away we caught the faces of the young woman behind us and the barista as she handed over the coffee. They were both grinning from ear to ear. 
 
Lord, help me not to overthink serving others. Sometimes the small, simple things mean more than I’ll ever know. And help me to remember that whatever I do for others, I’m doing for You. Amen. 
 
After reading today’s devotion I was reminded, We serve Christ when we serve people. What can you do to serve others today? 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Colossians 1:16


New Year, New Priorities

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. (Ecclesiastes 9:10) 
 
I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the cello. But I’ve never found the time to enroll in a class. Or, perhaps more accurately, I haven’t made the time for it. I had thought that in heaven I could probably master that instrument. In the meantime, I wanted to focus on using my time in the particular ways God has called me to serve Him now. 
 
Life is short, and we often feel the pressure to make the most of our time on Earth before it slips away. But what does that really mean? 
 
As King Solomon contemplated the meaning of life, he offered two recommendations. First, we’re to live in the most meaningful way we can, which includes fully enjoying the good things God allows us to experience in life, such as food and drink (Ecclesiastes 9:7), clothing and perfume (v. 8 nlt), marriage (v. 9), and all of God’s good gifts—which might include learning how to play the cello! 
 
His second recommendation was diligent work (v. 10). Life is full of opportunities, and there is always more work to be done. We’re to take advantage of the opportunities God gives us, seeking His wisdom on how to prioritize work and play in a way that uses our gifting to serve Him. 
 
Life is a wonderful gift from the Lord. We honor Him when we take pleasure both in His daily blessings and in meaningful service. 
 
Father, thank You for this life You’ve given me. Help me to live this new year for You, enjoying Your blessings and fulfilling Your purposes. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion I was reminded of how wonderful God is. Life is indeed a wonderful gift from The Lord. We can both enjoy God’s blessings and be a blessing to others. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Luke 2:40


Perfect Timing

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (Luke 2:6) 
 
The label said, “Don’t Open Until Christmas,” but the grandchildren cried, “Hurry up; open it!” 
 
Patience is a virtue, and we recognize the importance of perfect timing. But we often have a hard time waiting. This is especially true when we are hurting and want relief, or we are anticipating something special. 
 
The same holds true in relation to God’s work in our lives. We suffer a loss, wrestle with what seems to be unanswered prayer, or face a spiritual struggle, and soon we cry, “Hurry up, God!” We wonder why God hasn’t acted, and the “delay” often causes us to question God. 
 
Or how about when we reflect on Christ’s second coming? We eagerly long for a world free from sin, Satan defeated, injustices set right, and all things made new. So we cry, “Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly.” 
 
For ages believers waited for the birth of the Savior and won-dered, “How long?” But God was not slow. He had a plan, and in the fullness of time—when the time was ripe—God sent Jesus. 
 
In our lives, as we wait for God’s help or for the second coming, we remember God’s promise that “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). God might not come when we want, but we can trust him—his timing is perfect. 
 
Lord, we see the present, but you grasp eternity. We view only a part; you understand the whole. Help us to trust your wisdom. Renew us and your world, we pray. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion I felt it was fitting for today, Christmas Eve. You may be feeling down and discouraged but find hope in knowing you can trust Him and remember, His timing is perfect. We see the present, He sees eternity. Remember this today. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting Christmas Eve in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Luke 2:16-20 


Try a Little Kindness

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering. (Colossians 3:12) 
 
Notice the word clothe. The Greek word literally means “put on.” What Paul is saying here is that when we wake up in the morning, we ought to get dressed spiritually and emotionally as well as physically. When we wake up in the morning and decide what to wear, we should also ask ourselves, “What kind of attitude am I going to wear today?” 
 
Paul says kindness is a choice. It is something we can choose to “put on” every day. 
 
Kindness is “love in action” — a practical expression of love. It is visible and active, not just emotional. There is a song that says, “Find the need and fill it. Find the hurt and heal it.” That is kindness. 
 
But why should we be kind? After all, kindness can be risky. We might be misunderstood if we are kind to others. They might think, “Why is this person being so nice? What’s in it for him?” People we are kind to also might take advantage of us. They might become parasites with the attitude, “Oh, here’s a sucker. I’ll milk him for all he’s worth.” 
 
Despite the risks, we are to be kind for two reasons. First, we are to be kind because God is kind to us. Ephesians 2:8
says, 
 
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. 
 
Grace and kindness always go together. Poet Robert Burns said that the kind heart most resembles God. We should be kind just because God is kind to us. 
 
The other reason we should be kind is that we want people to be kind to us. We want to be treated right. Jesus said, 
 
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them — Matthew 7:12 
 
If you are rude to other people, they are going to be rude to you. But if you are kind, most people will want to respond the same way. Proverbs 21:21 says, 
 
He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. 
 
In Proverbs 11:17 we read, 
 
The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. 
 
So when we are kind, we are really doing ourselves a favor. 
 
So often we excuse ourselves when we are unkind. “That person deserved it.” “She just annoyed me.” “If I’m kind, he will see me giving an inch and he will take a mile.” Today, let’s ask the Lord to point out to us when we’re unkind and how we can respond with the kindness of Jesus instead, and pay attention to what He reveals. 
 
I pray this devotion blesses you, I feel it is a wonderful reminder that is needed for each and every one of us. Let’s respond with the kindness of Jesus today. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 1 John 4:9