your daily crossroad

 

Enjoying Beauty

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) 
 
The painting caught my eye like a beacon. Displayed along a long hallway in a big city hospital, its deep pastel hues and Navajo Native American figures were so arresting I stopped to marvel and stare. “Look at that,” I said to my husband, Dan. 
 
He was walking ahead but I hesitated, bypassing other paintings on the wall to gaze only at that one. “Beautiful,” I whispered. 
 
Many things in life are beautiful indeed. Master paintings. Scenic vistas. Inspired crafts. But so is a child’s smile. A friend’s hello. A robin’s blue egg. A seashell’s strong ridges. To relieve the burdens life can bring, “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In such beauty, Bible scholars explain, we get a glimpse of the perfection of God’s creation—including the glory of His perfect rule to come. 
 
We can only imagine such perfection, so God grants us a foretaste through life’s beauty. In this way, God “has also set eternity in the human heart” (v. 11). Some days life looks drab and futile. But God mercifully provides moments of beauty to ponder. 
 
The artist of the painting I admired, Gerard Curtis Delano, understood that. “God [gave] me a talent to create beauty,” he once said, “and this is what He wanted me to do.” 
 
Seeing such beauty, how can we respond? We can thank God for eternity to come while pausing to enjoy the glory we already see. 
 
How do you respond to the beauty God has placed in this world? How does beauty reflect Him? 
 
This devotion blessed me. May this be your prayer today. Father, help me in the moments of this day to see and enjoy the beauty You bring into my life as I also look forward to eternity. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 2 Corinthians 10:5


Set Free!

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4) 
 
My mom was the only child born to a 13-year-old single mother in the 1930s. She grew up poor and feeling unloved. My mom was an angry woman who didn’t appear to like being a mom. She raised us the same way she’d been raised, with a harsh tone and little affection. So we grew up feeling unloved too. Around fourth grade, mired in shame and guilt of my own, I began to lash out at others. The girls who seemed to come from loving and caring families became the ones I targeted on the playground after school. I hated those girls. My actions didn’t make me feel better, though. In fact, I felt worse. One summer during Vacation Bible School, I learned about Jesus. I learned that he loved me to the point of death on the cross and that he died so that I would not have to feel shame and worthlessness. I couldn’t imagine someone loving me like that. I finally felt comforted, knowing that someone loved me. I was a new creation. (See 2 Cor. 5:17.) I didn’t have to hate girls whose moms took care of them. In loving others who came from better circumstances than I did, I could actually experience the love of God and become the kind of person God intended me to be. 
 
Dear Lord, give us the desire to show others love as you have loved us and the strength to treat others well regardless of our circumstances. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me. I pray it changes your perspective regardless of your circumstances and in return show The Love of Christ and pray for those who treat you badly. You never know what that individual is dealing with. A moment of hate can devastate a lifetime of work, whereas a moment of love can break barriers that took a lifetime to build. Use me today Lord to love beyond my own circumstances and help break barriers that may have taken a lifetime to build for you are The Way, The Truth and The Life. Use me to help others experience your Love so they too can become the kind of person you intended them to be. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalms 19:14 

 

 

 



Praise God!

All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. (Psalm 66:4) 
 
In the springtime, I love to sit outside alone in the early morning chill to sip a mug of hot coffee, read the word and bask in the sounds of nature. Each creature praises God in its own way. I especially enjoy the symphony of praise performed by all the different birds that live nearby. The orchestra often includes the loud trumpet sounds of Canada geese flying overhead, the high-pitched whistles of black-capped chickadees jostling for a place at our bird feeder, and a lone woodpecker holding down the percussion section in a tall oak tree. Each bird has its own unique sound, but together they generate a beautiful morning chorus of praise. Just like the birds, we each have our own distinctive, God-given voices with which we can praise God. Some people have the ability to praise God out loud for all to hear; some have the same gift of quietly praising God during conversations with others; some are skilled at soundlessly praising God through prayer. Like the birds, we can merge our unique voices and together share a magnificent melody of God’s praise for all the world to hear!  
 
Dear God, help us become more aware of the many reasons for praising you. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me. Give God praise, for He is worthy to be praised. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 2 Samuel 7:22 

 

 



Why So Afraid?

Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. (Genesis 32:11) 
 
One time in elementary school I said something mean to a kid in my class. Mike was a tough kid and much bigger than I so I expected that when we went outside for recess, he was going to beat me up. I worried the whole day. When recess came I told Mike, “If you’re going to hit me, please hit my arm so it won’t hurt so much.” He laughed and said that he wasn’t planning on hitting me, that he had forgotten all about it. I had worried over nothing. Fear does serve a purpose. If not for fear, we would take foolish risks, endangering our lives. But we can’t fear everything. Jacob cheated his brother Esau out of his rightful inheritance twice, and then ran away for years. When God told Jacob to return home, he feared his brother would kill him and his family. Jacob wasted years fearing his brother’s vengeance — for nothing. Esau had long since forgiven his brother. If we can do something to fix a bad situation, then we should do it. Regardless, we can exercise our faith and turn our worries over to God. 
 
Heavenly Father, we know you care about every aspect of our lives. Help us to trust you more and to worry less. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me. I feel we can all be reminded to trust God more and worry less. Today, take a moment and do as today’s devotion says, exercise your faith and turn your worries over to God. Turn your worries into worship and and watch God turn your battles into blessings. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Jeremiah 17:7-8


Making a Difference

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31) 
 
Two mornings a week I take the bus into town. I find that bus ride an uplifting experience. I am constantly struck by the presence of God in the lives of the people around me. The drivers are kind and caring, often waiting for people who are running late to catch the bus. They greet everyone, not just the regulars, and go out of their way to help those with disabilities. Similarly, the kindness of the passengers is an inspiration. If anyone needs help, two or three people will immediately offer assistance — by giving up their seats to those who are frail and elderly, by lifting heavy suitcases, and by helping mothers with strollers and children. We often think that we must do great deeds to make a significant difference in the world. However, my morning bus ride reminds me that small acts of kindness done by ordinary people are just as significant. What a lovelier place our world would be if we all treated other people as we ourselves would like to be treated. We can serve God faithfully every day by showing kindness to one another. 
 
Loving God, use us to show your love through our kind actions and words to people we meet each day. Amen. 
 
After reading today’s devotion I was blessed by the truth of it. Today, may be stop and reflect on this very statement, “What a lovelier place our world would be if we all treated other people as we ourselves would like to be treated”. Be the change you want to see in the world. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Acts 4:12 


More than a Symbol

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Philippians 2:3-4) 

 

On the verge of making team history, University of Iowa basketball star Jordan Bohannon intentionally missed the free throw that would have broken a twenty-five-year-old school record. Why? In 1993, days after Iowa’s Chris Street had made thirty-four free throws in a row, he lost his life in a car crash. Bohannon chose to honor Street’s memory by not breaking his record. 

 

Bohannon showed a keen awareness of things more important than his own advancement. We see similar values in the life of the young warrior David. Hiding in a cave with his ragtag army, David longed for a drink from the well in his hometown of Bethlehem, but the dreaded Philistines occupied the area (2 Samuel 23:14–15). 

 

In a stunning act of bravery, three of David’s warriors “broke through the Philistine lines,” got the water, and brought it to David. But David couldn’t bring himself to drink it. Instead, he “poured it out before the Lord,” saying, “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” (vv. 16–17). 

 

In a world that often rewards those who seize whatever they can grasp, how powerful acts of love and sacrifice can be! Such deeds are much more than mere symbols. 

 

Instead of advancing your own agenda, how can you celebrate someone else and their efforts? How do our acts of love reflect God’s own? 

 

Father, guide my heart today. Rearrange my priorities so that I value the needs of others as well as my own. Amen. 
 
 

Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 

 

Today’s Reading is Galatians 5:22-23 



The Good Old Days

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) 
 
As my wife and I anticipate the upcoming wedding of our only child, we have begun to reminisce about “the good old days” when our daughter was a toddler, and about the fun we had as we took her to the seashore, the park, or the woods to go camping. I began comparing my present life, with all of its various hardships, to this idealized past. My mind began to drift into the future, imagining how enjoyable it will be when we hopefully can repeat these activities with future grandchildren. But then I stopped myself and thought, What do I have to appreciate here in the present? I began to list my many blessings. In spite of my current hardships, I realized how many gifts God has given me in the present. It hit me that someday we may be looking back on our lives today — right here and now — and calling these “the good old days.” This sheds new light on the concept of living in the moment and of not dwelling on past memories or on things yet to come. In Philippians 4, Paul wrote that he had learned to be content, whatever his circumstances. Perhaps we too can be content by living in and appreciating each and every day, whatever our circumstances, and being thankful to God for the gift of each day. 
 
Dear God, thank you for each day you give us and for your overflowing blessings. Amen. 
 
What a beautiful devotion, it brought tears to my eyes when I read it. My daughters 9th Birthday is tomorrow and I myself have been reflecting on how quickly the years have past with fun filled beautiful memories but as I’ve thought about the future I have felt a little sad, I have felt as today’s devotion describes, how soon “the good old days” will become reality, but after I read today’s devotion I was reminded to be thankful to God for the gift of each day. To embrace it with love, joy and happiness despite our circumstances, for each day is overflowing with His blessings. Remember to give every day the chance to become the most beautiful of your life. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Romans 15:13 


Bearing the Burden of Wrongs

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing . . . (1 Peter 3:9) 
 
On January 30, 2018, almost thirty-eight years after his conviction, Malcolm Alexander walked out of prison a free man. DNA evidence cleared Alexander, who had steadfastly maintained his innocence amid a myriad of court proceedings that were tragically unjust. An incompetent defense attorney (later disbarred), shoddy evidence, and dubious investigative tactics all put an innocent man in prison for nearly four decades. When he was finally released, however, Alexander showed immense grace. “You cannot be angry,” he said. “There’s not enough time to be angry.” 
 
Alexander’s words evidence a deep grace. If injustice robbed us of thirty-eight years of our lives and destroyed our reputations, we would likely be angry, furious. Though Alexander spent many long, heartbreaking years bearing the burden of wrongs inflicted upon him, he wasn’t undone by the evil. Rather than exerting his energy trying to get revenge, he exhibited the posture Peter instructs: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult” (1 Peter 3:9). 
 
The Scriptures go a step further: rather than seeking vengeance, the apostle Peter tells us we are to bless (v. 9). We extend forgiveness, the hope of well-being, for those who have unjustly wronged us. Without excusing their evil actions, we can meet them with God’s scandalous mercy. On the cross, Jesus bore the burden of our wrongs, that we might receive grace and extend it to others—even those who have wronged us. 
 
Without excusing their actions, how can you extend mercy to others who have wronged you? What will it mean for you to “bless” them? 
 
God, it’s hard not to want those who hurt me to hurt just as much. Help me to live out Your mercy and grace. Amen.  
 
When I read this devotion it blessed me. What a profound statement, “There’s not enough time to be angry.” May we live our lives each and every day with that statement at the forefront of our minds. It’s always so easy to just react to injustice without giving much thought to extending mercy. Today, when someone cuts you off in traffic, honks at you, treats you wrong, is rude, cranky or careless, the list can go on and on, practice extending mercy. There’s not enough time to be angry. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalms 94:19


A Father’s Love

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. (Psalm 103:13) 
 
I love my father. He is an ordinary man. He did not have great wealth, but he did not waver in his efforts to make sure his children could be successful. Though our family faced financial difficulties, he told me not to worry about the cost of my education. My father worked as hard as he could to secure enough money so that I could finish my studies and graduate from the university. My father’s struggles on our behalf made me love him all the more. His sacrifices for our family and the love that he showed us kept me constantly amazed. Even so, I know that there is a Father in heaven who loves me more than my earthly father. After all, God showed his love for us all through Jesus, his son, who suffered and died for the sins of the whole world! By God’s love through Jesus we are saved for abundant living and eternal life. As much as I love my father, God’s love goes far beyond that. God’s love for us cannot be measured — just experienced. I thank God for the love of my earthly father. But my gratitude is even deeper for God’s never-ending love for me. 
 
Beloved Father, we thank you for earthly fathers who have shown us your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me. It made me think of how incredibly blessed I am to have my earthly father. He too always works so hard to give his girls everything they need and want, even now, his love is and never has been a question in my mind and as today’s devotions says, if he loves me this much how much more does our Heavenly Father love. If you never had a great father role model, know that you always had and continue to have God looking out for you and loving you beyond measure. He is the father of all fathers. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 2 Peter 1:5-8 
 


Right There with Us

And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. (Matthew 14:17) 
 
She was completely focused on the top shelf, where the glass jars of spaghetti sauce sat. I’d been standing beside her in the grocery aisle for a minute or two eyeing that same shelf, trying to decide. But she seemed oblivious to my presence, lost in her own predicament. Now I have no problem with top shelves because I’m a fairly tall man. She, on the other hand, was not tall, not at all. I spoke up and offered to help. Startled, she said, “Goodness, I didn’t even see you standing there. Yes, please help me.” 
 
The disciples had quite the situation on their hands—hungry crowds, a remote place, and time slipping away—“This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals” (Matthew 14:15). When challenged by Jesus to take care of the people themselves, they responded, “We have here but . . .” (v. 17). All they seemed to be aware of was their lack. Yet standing right beside them was Jesus, not just the multiplier of bread but the Bread of Life Himself. 
 
We can get so wrapped up in our challenges and trying to figure them out for ourselves with our often-limited perspective that we miss the abiding presence of the risen Christ. From remote hillsides to grocery store aisles and everywhere else in between, He’s Immanuel—God right there with us, an ever-present help in trouble. 
 
How can you increase your awareness of Jesus’s presence? Why is it vital for us to gain His perspective in what we’re facing? 
 
When I read this devotion I felt it was an incredible reminder for each and every one of us. Wherever we are and whatever the challenge, Immanuel is with us. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Romans 8:28 


When You’re Not Chosen

And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias . . . (Acts 1:26) 
 
My friend’s Facebook post announced he had finished a project. Others congratulated him, but his post knifed my heart. That project was supposed to be mine. I had been passed over, and I wasn’t sure why. 
 
Poor Joseph. He was passed over by God, and he knew why. Joseph was one of two men in the running to replace Judas. The disciples prayed, “Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen” (Acts 1:24). God chose the other guy. Then He announced His decision to the group, when “the lot fell to Matthias” (v. 26). 
 
As the disciples congratulated Matthias, I wonder about Joseph. How did he handle his rejection? Did he feel jilted, wallow in self-pity, and distance himself from the others? Or did he trust God and cheerfully remain in a supportive role? 
 
I know which option is best. And I know which option I’d want to take. How embarrassing! If you don’t want me, fine. Let’s see how you do without me. That choice might feel better, but only because it’s selfish. 
 
Joseph isn’t mentioned again in Scripture, so we don’t know how he reacted. More relevant is how we respond when we’re not chosen. May we remember that Jesus’s kingdom matters more than our success, and may we joyfully serve in whatever role He selects. 
 
How do you feel when you’re not chosen or are left out? How could your attitude be hindering you from seeing God’s direction for your life? 
 
This devotion blessed me. We have all dealt with some form of rejection at one point or another in our lives but as today’s devotion asks, how could your attitude hinder you from seeing God’s direction for your life. May this be your hearts cry, Father, as long as I can serve in Your kingdom, it doesn’t matter how or where. Sometimes God will bypass what you hope for to give you what you really need, don’t feel rejected but embraced by God. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


Songs in the Night

They also who dwell in the farthest parts are afraid of Your signs; You make the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice. (Psalm 65:8) 
 
As I turn on the barn lights and gather the cows for their early morning milking, a few sparrows begin a soft chatter in the milking-parlor rafters. They remind me of a few choir members gathering on a Sunday morning to warm up their voices. At this early hour, I start out grumpy. I love caring for the animals, but I feel lonely. The night gloom and my mundane tasks feel heavy on my soul. My focus turns to self-pity. I long for daylight. But then I notice a stunning sparrow rhythm unfold. About two hours before dawn, the bird chatter gradually swells to a soft, slow, throat-vibrating song directed heavenward. I feel invited to join. Sometimes I add my feeble songs of praise to the bird choir. Other times I just listen. I feel the icy heaviness melt, and joy and hope awaken in me. Yes, the darkness will end soon. Maybe, when we become keenly aware of our loneliness, our physical or relational wounds, our longing for darkness to turn to light, we can learn from the rhythms of the bird songs. Their songs reach a climax of praise during darkness to usher in the light they are expecting to come.  
 
Dear God, thank you for directing your love toward us by day and causing your song to be with us by night. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion I was reminded of Psalm 59:17, Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy. Even in the darkness, have hope and expectation for what’s to come. All of my life in every season He is still God, we have a reason to sing, we have a reason to worship. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Deuteronomy 7:9


Compassionate Friends

In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. (Psalm 18:6) 
 
My friend Virginia was overwhelmed and exhausted, having to go to work each day and also care for her husband, who was confined at home with terminal cancer. Tearfully, she would leave him each morning with his lunch and water within his reach and walk out the door with an agonizing prayer, “Lord, how am I going to do this?” Hearing of Virginia’s dilemma, several people from our church began helping with meals. Others came to sit with her husband for a few hours each day. They would read the Bible and pray, chat, or watch TV. Virginia told us how comforting it was to know that her husband was being loved and cared for when she could not be there. A bit of compassion goes a long way. God had heard Virginia’s distress call and prompted her community to come to her aid. It was an opportunity for us to show God’s love as we followed the call of Christ, lightening her load. God was with Virginia and her husband during that time — perhaps most powerfully through compassionate friends and family. 
 
Dear Father, thank you for your care, and for the hands of those who share it. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 
 
Today’s devotion blessed me. I pray this devotion encourages you today to find a way you can be God’s hands extended. There is always someone in need and my prayer is that we are willing and ready to heed to His calling, that God may use us to be an answer to someone else’s prayers. Just being there for someone can sometimes bring hope when when all seems hopeless. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


Look Forward

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14) 
 
My husband, Jim, and I enjoy a well-cared-for vegetable garden. We like nothing better than fresh vegetables, and looking at those straight rows of plants gives us a sense of accomplishment. Jim was a truck driver and away from home several days at a time. Thinking that I would help him by cultivating the radishes, I got on the tractor, started it, put it in gear, and headed down the row. Jim had instructed me: “When you cultivate, you must never look back. If you turn to look behind, you throw an ‘S’ in the row.” Forgetting his advice, I looked over my shoulder one time. That’s all it took. When I got to the end of the row, I turned to survey my work. To my dismay, a large section of the radishes was upside down with the roots exposed. No amount of replanting helped. That whole section died. As believers, we may be tempted to look back. But when we focus too much on past failures, we can forget that Jesus has forgiven our sins. Paul gives us a better way: to press forward to the prize that awaits those who follow Jesus Christ and learn from his example. Rather than harming our future path of life by looking back, we can keep our eyes on Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2, KJV). 
 
Dear God, help us not to look back at past failures. May we keep our eyes on Jesus and walk the path that he desires for all believers. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion it blessed me. What an analogy, I’ve never looked at in such a way. What truth, if you don’t keep your focus forward and continually look back you start to drift. Life is not meant to be traveled looking back, look forward and be grateful for the past. Allow Him to be the author and finisher of your faith by fixing your eyes on Jesus and look forward. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 139:23-24