your daily crossroad

 

His Strength in Your Weakness

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 (2 Corinthians 12:9).  
 
I didn’t have an easy childhood. I came from a home that was broken many, many times over. But I can look back on my past today and instead of moaning about it, I can say, “I went through that, and now I can comfort others.” It has become a tool to help others. 
 
I wouldn’t want to go through that again, of course. Nor would I want anyone else to go through the same thing. But I’m thankful that God can take my past and use it for His glory today. I’m thankful that He can take that hardship and use it for His glory. He can do the same for you. 
 
Maybe at this time in your life, you’re going through some hard times, and you’re wondering why. God will use it. It’s hard to believe now. But just remember that it won’t last forever. 
 
As 1 Peter 1:6–7 says, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ). Trials don’t last forever. 
 
I’m reminded of a sign posted at the end of an airport runway that reads, “Keep moving. If you stop, you are in danger and a danger to those who are flying.” 
 
You can take that same statement and apply it to the Christian life. Keep moving. Don’t give up. Don’t abandon hope. You are going to get through that valley in your life. There will be an even greater mountaintop beyond it, with great lessons you have learned as God demonstrated His strength in your weakness. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 1 John 4:10


Perfect Love

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17) 
 
As children, we all dream about happily ever after. We pine away waiting for the knight on the white horse or daydream about love that is never anything less than perfect. When you think of perfect love, who do you think of? While many of you probably said Cinderella and Prince Charming; when I think of perfect love, my thoughts turn to Adam and Eve.
 
Kind of a bad choice for “perfect love” you might say; but Adam and Eve, while best known for the single worst mistake in history, were still the first couple ever made for each other in the literal and spiritual sense. God made Eve especially for Adam. She was made for him and from him. Their relationship was God’s handiwork and despite the whole apple thing, they created quite the life together. 
 
Just like many love stories today, I have never turned a pumpkin into a carriage and my husband has never trotted in on a white horse to save me from some wicked queen. However, I have turned lemons into lemonade many days and he makes the cutest neigh when he gives our kids piggyback rides around the front lawn. We bicker from time to time. We don’t go dancing on Friday nights or awake every morning to breakfast in bed. He snores. I nag. He watches too much Sports Center and I watch too much Lifetime. But while we two are far from perfect, we love each other perfectly. God created our marriage in His perfect manner, in His perfect way … as only He can do. 
 
God tells us in 1 John 4:12 (KJV), 
 
“If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” 
 
So, even though Adam and Eve were the epitomes of imperfection, even though Adam probably forgot to take out the trash and Eve probably forgot to wash his leaf now and then, their imperfection was made perfect in their love for one another. No matter how flawed they were, their marriage was created in perfect love because the Master created it and He dwelt within the midst. 
 
Don’t stress over living up to the fairytale. Your love story, no matter how simple or how elaborate, was designed by God. He perfected it. He wrote it. He even illustrated it and signed his name on your copy. He’s the author and the finisher. (Hebrews 12:2) 
 
Happily ever after doesn’t always come with ball gowns and white horses. Most of the time, it comes with sweat pants and minivans. But that’s ok, because if it comes from God, it’s perfect and nothing less. 
 
This devotion blessed me today. What a reminder on a day such as today, Valentines Day. My husband and I have a saying we love, every love story is beautiful but ours is my favorite. Today, be reminded of the love you share with those in your life, build a life you love with Christ as the center and you will see despite what your happily ever after looks like, it’s perfect and nothing less. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is John 13:34-35


Oh. No. She. Didn’t!

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) 
 
People use all kinds of expressions to describe being upset or offended. Such as “That flew all over me” or “Well, I never!” Another expression that comes to mind is “Oh no she didn’t.” For example … 
 
When someone takes credit for your big idea. Oh no she didn’t. 
 
When someone passes the blame on to you. Oh no she didn’t. 
 
When someone gives you a backhanded compliment. (“Your hair looks so much better since you had it cut.”) Oh. No. She. Didn’t! 
 
From little offenses to major ones, it’s easy to get our feelings hurt when we perceive someone has wronged us. Whether or not we have cause to be offended, when we take offense, our relationships can suffer. It’s as if we develop relational blind spots. 
 
As hard as it is to admit, sometimes I’m easily offended. It’s easy to blame others when we get hurt, but the truth is, we have control over our emotions. And I can choose whether to feel offended. 
 
I’ve learned to consider honestly whether I’m easily offended by asking the following questions:
  • Do you find that your feelings are frequently hurt?
  • Have people told you they feel as if they have to walk on eggshells around you?
  • Are you constantly feeling annoyed?
  • Do you frequently expect someone to apologize?
  • Are you constantly repeating the words, “You hurt my feelings”?
Much like forgiveness is a choice, not being easily offended is also a choice. 
 
There was a time when I had to make this choice at work. I was looking forward to a new hire coming on board. Unfortunately from day one, she made comments toward me that left me feeling … well, offended. 
 
As a result of both her actions and my response, we frequently butted heads, causing our team to be less cohesive than it could have been. One day, I learned that this woman had recently been injured. In that moment, I had to make a decision. Was I willing to extend grace to her despite how she had treated me? The choice was clear. 
 
So, a colleague and I scrambled to take care of some things for her, and we picked up the slack during her recovery. A short while later, my boss asked me why I had helped this woman, despite the way she had treated me. 
 
“Because love covers a multitude of sins,” I replied. This answer comes from 1 Peter 4:8. The Amplified Bible explains that this means love forgives and disregards the offenses of others. 
 
While I had every reason to be offended, the Lord impressed upon my heart that I had an opportunity to be kind. As a result, the relationship improved so that it was more professional. I extended grace to her, treating her how I would want to be treated. I worked hard to let go of the offenses and integrate the words of 1 Peter 4:8 into my life. And it worked! 
 
Jesus’ love through the cross has covered a multitude of our sins. Allow His grace to overflow out of that excess to those in your life who offend you, and choose to turn your “Oh no she didn’t!” into “Oh yes He did!” 
 
Dear Lord, I’m sorry for how I’ve offended others. I ask that You reveal to me if there’s anyone I need to make peace with. At the same time, show me when and how to let go of offenses against me. Help me learn to be a better spouse, neighbor and friend. And when someone offends me, enable me to give that person grace in the same way You’ve shown me grace. May I respond in a way that helps, rather than harms, my relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 
 
Wow! This devotion blessed me so very much and I pray it too has blessed you in some way. What an incredible reminder for all of us, we can all be so easily offended from time to time but today you can choose to make a change for the good. Ask yourself, am I easily offended?  
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Philippians 2:3 


Jesus Reached Out

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:31) 
 
Sometimes life gets busy—classes are hard, work is exhausting, the bathroom needs to be cleaned, and a coffee date is on the day’s schedule. It gets to the point where I force myself to read the Bible for a few minutes a day and tell myself I’ll spend more time with God next week. But it doesn’t take long before I’m distracted, drowning in the day’s tasks, and forget to ask God for help of any kind. 
 
When Peter was walking on water toward Jesus, he quickly became distracted by the wind and waves. Like me, he began to sink (Matthew 14:29–30). But as soon as Peter cried out, “immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him” (vv. 30–31). 
 
I often feel as if I have to make it up to God after being so busy and distracted that I lose sight of Him. But that’s not how God works. As soon as we turn to Him for help, Jesus reaches out without hesitation. 
 
When we’re unsettled by the chaos of life, it’s easy to forget that God is standing in the middle of the storm with us. Jesus asked Peter, “Why did you doubt?” (v. 31). No matter what we’re going through, He is there. He is here. Next to us at that moment, in this moment, ready to reach out and rescue us.
 
Lord, help me to turn to You in the midst of my busyness and life’s distractions. Thank You for always being here, ready to catch me. Amen. 
 
Today I am reminded that God is waiting for us to turn to Him so He can reach out and help. It’s not about “having” time it’s about making time, make time for what truly matters. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is 1 John 3:18


All I Can See

He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30) 
 
Krista stood in the freezing cold on a winter day, looking at the beautiful snow-encased lighthouse along the lake. As she pulled out her phone to take pictures, her glasses fogged over. She couldn’t see a thing so she decided to point her camera toward the lighthouse and snapped three pictures at different angles. Looking at them later, she realized the camera had been set to take “selfies.” She laughed as she said, “My focus was me, me, and me. All I saw was me.” Krista’s photos got me thinking of a similar mistake: We can become so self-focused we lose sight of the bigger picture of God’s plan.
 
Jesus’s cousin John clearly knew his focus wasn’t himself. Right from the start he recognized that his position or calling was to point others to Jesus, the Son of God. “Look, the Lamb of God!” he said when he saw Jesus coming toward him and his followers (John 1:29). He continued, “The reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed” (v. 31). When John’s disciples later reported that Jesus was gaining followers, John said, “You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ . . . He must become greater; I must become less” (3:28–30).  
 
May the central focus of our lives be Jesus and loving Him with our whole heart.
 
How can I love Jesus best? Who might He want me to love? 
 
This devotion blessed me so very much. Today I am reminded that the lack of God-centeredness leads to self-centeredness. Lord, I often get centered on myself and my needs and wants. Help me to look outside of myself to You. Amen. He must become greater. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Ephesians 2:10 


Good Works Prepared

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10) 
 
When a burly stranger approached my wife and me on a street abroad, we shrunk back in fear. Our holiday had been going badly; we had been yelled at, cheated, and extorted from several times. Were we going to be shaken down again? To our surprise, the man just wanted to show us where to get the best view of his city. Then he gave us a chocolate bar, smiled, and left. That little gesture made our day—and saved the whole trip. It made us grateful—both to the man and to God for cheering us up. 
 
What had made the man reach out to two strangers? Had he gone around with a chocolate bar the entire day, looking to bless someone with it? 
 
It’s amazing how the smallest action can bring the biggest smile—and possibly direct someone to God. The Bible stresses the importance of doing good works (James 2:17, 24). If that sounds challenging, we have the assurance that God not only enables us to do these works, but has even “prepared [them] in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). 
 
Perhaps God has arranged for us to “bump into” someone who needs a word of encouragement today or has given us an opportunity to offer someone a helping hand. All we have to do is respond in obedience. 
 
Who can you pray for or help today? Who might God be putting in your path. 
 
This devotion blessed me so much. Lord, may I respond in obedience and share Your love with others as You have loved me. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Hebrews 4:12 


Shelve Them and Move On

The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. (Proverbs 15:31) 
 
I’m reminded of some wise advice a radio broadcaster friend once gave me. Early on in his career, as my friend struggled to know how to deal with both criticism and praise, he felt that God was encouraging him to shelve both. What’s the essence of what he took to heart? Learn what you can from criticism and accept praise. Then shelve both and humbly move on in God’s grace and power. 
 
Criticism and praise stir in us powerful emotions that, if left unchecked, can lead to either self-loathing or an overinflated ego. In Proverbs we read of the benefits of encouragement and wise counsel: “Good news gives health to the bones. . . .Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding” (15:30, 32). 
 
If we’re on the receiving end of a rebuke, may we choose to be sharpened by it. Proverbs states, “Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise” (v. 31). And if we’re blessed with words of praise, may we be refreshed and filled with gratitude. As we walk humbly with God, He can help us learn from both criticism and praise, shelve them, and then move on in Him (v. 33). 
 
Father God, thank You for the gift of praise and criticism. As I humbly surrender to You, may I grow and be sharpened by both. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me, so often we are easily offended and easily angered by criticism but if we would change our perspective as today’s devotion mentions and grow and be sharpened by both praise and criticism, we would see things much differently and make a change for the better, not only in our lives but in those around us. Learn from praise and criticism, then shelve them and move on. I want to be sharpened today. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 143:10


Seen by God

And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? (Genesis 16:13) 
 
The slave Hagar realized that as she fled from her mistress Sarai’s unkindness. Hagar was a “nobody” in her culture, pregnant and alone, fleeing to a desert without help or hope. Seen by God, however, she was empowered, in return, to see Him. No longer a vague concept, God became real to her, so real that she gave God a name, El Roi, which means “You are the God who sees me.” She said, “I have now seen the One who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). 
 
Our seeing God sees each of us too. Feeling unseen, alone, or like a nobody? God sees you and your future. In return, may we see in Him our ever-present hope, encouragement, salvation, and joy—both for today and for our future. Praise Him today for this gift of amazing sight, to see the one true and Living God. 
 
Lord, I’m just one person in a big world, but I thank You for looking from on high and seeing me—so that I may see You. Amen. 
 
After reading this devotion I am reminded of just how much God knows my name and sees me. Be encouraged today, you are seen, your not alone, God is with you wherever you go, He sees you. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Matthew 19:26 


Love and Peace

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:10-11) 
 
It always amazes me the way peace—powerful, unexplainable peace (Philippians 4:7)—can somehow fill our hearts even in our deepest grief. I experienced this most recently at my father’s memorial service. As a long line of sympathetic acquaintances passed by offering their condolences, I was relieved to see a good high school friend. Without a word, he simply wrapped me in a long bear hug. His quiet understanding flooded me with the first feelings of peace within grief that difficult day, a powerful reminder that I wasn’t as alone as I felt.  
 
As David describes in Psalm 16, the kind of peace and joy God brings into our lives isn’t caused by a choice to stoically stomp down the pain during hard times; it’s more like a gift we can’t help but experience when we take refuge in our good God (vv. 1–2). 
 
We could respond to the aching pain that death brings by distracting ourselves, perhaps thinking that turning to these other “gods” will keep the pain at bay. But sooner or later we’ll find that efforts to avoid our pain only bring deeper pain (v. 4). 
 
Or we could turn to God, trusting that even when we don’t understand, the life He’s already given us—even in its pain—is still beautiful and good (vv. 6–8). And we can surrender to His loving arms that tenderly carry us through our pain into a peace and joy that even death can never quench (v. 11). 
 
Father, thank You for the way Your tender touch embraces and holds us in our times of joy and pain. Help us to turn in trust to You for healing. Amen. 
 
When I initially read this devotion I hesitated to share it. I felt I didn’t want to dwell on death and sadness, I don’t even like talking about death, it causes me to think of the possibility of loosing those close to me and that pain seems unbearable but as I started to pass up this devotion The Lord touched my spirit and I felt Him encourage me to post it. I don’t know who this is meant for but I know it will not return void, maybe this devotion was meant for me, a sweet reminder that despite our pain, whatever that pain may be, God’s love carries and holds us through our pain into peace and joy. I prey you are encouraged by this devotion today. He is my refuge and strength. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Isaiah 43:19 


Praying and Growing

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17) 
 
When my friend David’s wife developed Alzheimer’s disease, the changes it brought to his life made him bitter. He needed to retire early to care for her; and as the disease progressed, she required increasingly more care. 
 
“I was so angry at God,” he told me. “But the more I prayed about it, the more He showed me my heart and how I had been selfish for most of our marriage.” Tears welled in his eyes as he confessed, “She’s been sick ten years, but God has helped me see things differently. Now, everything I do out of love for her, I also do for Jesus. Caring for her has become the greatest privilege of my life.” 
 
Sometimes God answers our prayers not by giving us what we want but by challenging us to change. When the prophet Jonah was angry because God spared the wicked city of Nineveh from destruction, God caused a plant to shade him from the hot sun (Jonah 4:6). Then He made it wither. When Jonah complained, God answered, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” (vv. 7–9). Jonah, focused only on himself, insisted it was. But God challenged him to think about others and have compassion. 
 
God sometimes uses our prayers in unexpected ways to help us learn and grow. It’s a change we can welcome with open hearts because He wants to transform us with His love. 
 
Lord Jesus, thank You for helping me grow when I pray. Help me to be sensitive to what You want for my life today. Amen.  
 
When I read this devotion I was encouraged. When it said “God sometimes uses our prayers in unexpected ways to help us learn and grow” I was reminded of the many times in my life when I was quick to complain about my prayers not being answered in the exact way in which I prayed but looking back now I can see The Hand of God in every situation I was and continue to be in, even if it’s not exactly how I wanted it to work out, in the end, it was exactly what He wanted for my life to grow. God grows us as we spend time with Him. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Philippians 1:6 


The Heart

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. (Psalms 139:23) 
 
Deep within us lies the truth. Not the superficial things that others see. Not our own preferences or how we hope to be perceived. 
 
Our true self can get buried beneath layers and masks, so that even we cannot recognize it. We might accurately identify the symptoms, but incorrectly label them as the cause of our misery. Or we might overlook the layers entirely. We need to dig deep to uncover the core of our being, and often we’re afraid to probe as deeply as necessary. 
 
But God reminds us that He goes beyond the surface. He knows the deepest things about us. For He “seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). 
 
God calls us to recognize these truths and realize how important this understanding is to our relationship with Him and to our spiritual maturity. Instead of being concerned with the approval of others, God calls us to focus on getting our hearts right with Him. To love Him not in superficial ways but “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). 
 
Jesus pointed out that many religious people (even leaders) did not understand God’s concern for the deeper things. Citing Isaiah, He said, “this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). 
 
Today, give God permission to search your heart and mind, revealing deep things to you. Be sensitive to His Spirit, and love Him with your whole being. Make Him your highest priority. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Deuteronomy 6:5 


The Art of a Grateful Heart

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 118:1) 
 
What are we to do when we face life’s inevitable difficulties? Paul urges us on behalf of Christ to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As difficult as that may sound, there is good reason why God encourages us to embrace a spirit of gratitude. Gratitude is grounded in the truth that our Lord “is good” and “his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1). He is present with us and strengthens us in the midst of trouble (Hebrews 13:5–6), and He lovingly uses our trials to grow our character into His likeness (Romans 5:3–4). 
 
When life hits us with hard times, choosing to be grateful focuses our attention on the goodness of God and gives us the strength to make it through our struggles. With the psalmist, we can sing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his mercy/love endures forever” (Psalm 118:29). 
 
Lord, I realize that focusing on my troubles causes me to forget that even in the midst of trials You are good. Teach me the art of a grateful heart. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me. I am reminded of Joshua 1:9, Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Forget what you can’t control and focus on what you can control, your attitude, your faith, and your perspective. Choose to make the very best of every situation that comes your way. Thanksgiving is a virtue that grows through practice.
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is John 15:4


Goodbye for Now

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) 
 
My granddaughter Allyssa and I have a regular routine we go through when we say goodbye. We wrap our arms around each other and begin to loudly wail with dramatic sobs for about twenty seconds. Then we step back and casually say, “See ya,” and turn away. Despite our silly practice, we always expect that we will see each other again—soon. 
 
But sometimes the pain of separation from those we care about can be difficult. When the apostle Paul said farewell to the elders from Ephesus, “They all wept as they embraced him . . . . What grieved them most was [Paul’s] statement that they would never see his face again” (Acts 20:37–38). 
 
The deepest sorrow, however, comes when we are parted by death and say goodbye for the last time in this life. That separation seems unthinkable. We mourn. We weep. How can we face the heartbreak of never again embracing the ones we have loved? 
 
Still . . . we do not grieve like those who have no hope. Paul writes of a future reunion for those who “believe that Jesus died and rose again” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). He declares: “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. What a reunion! 
 
And—best of all—we will be forever with Jesus. That’s an eternal hope. 
 
Thank You, Lord, for the assurance that this world is not all we have but that a blessed eternity awaits all who trust in You. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion I was reminded of my grandmother who went on to be with The Lord this past August and it quickly brought tears to my eyes but as I continued reading I was reminded of the hope I have in God and despite the sadness and void that comes with the loss of someone as wonderful as she was, at death, God’s people don’t say “goodbye,” but “we’ll see you later.” Im looking forward to that day when the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. What hope and peace! 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Ephesians 4:2


Whispering Words

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29) 
 
The young man fidgeted as he sat down for his flight. His eyes darted back and forth to the aircraft windows. Then he closed his eyes and breathed deeply, trying to calm himself—but it didn’t work. As the plane took off, he slowly rocked back and forth. An older woman across the aisle from him put her hand on his arm and gently engaged him in conversation to divert his attention from his stress. “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “We’re going to be okay,” and “You’re doing well” were a few things she whispered. She could have been irritated with him or ignored him. But she chose a touch and a few words. Little things. When they landed three hours later, he said, “Thank you so much for helping me.” 
 
Such beautiful pictures of tenderheartedness can be hard to find. Kindness does not come naturally to many of us; our primary concern is often ourselves. But when the apostle Paul urged, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32), he was not saying it all depends on us. After we’ve been given a new life by our faith in Jesus, the Spirit begins a transformation. Kindness is the ongoing work of the Spirit renewing our thoughts and attitudes (v. 23). 
 
The God of compassion is at work in our hearts, allowing us in turn to touch others’ lives by reaching out and whispering words of encouragement. 
 
Lord, use me today to bring someone hope, a lighter burden, encouragement. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me, so simple yet so powerful. Helping one person may not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person. Today, may we be reminded that compassion is understanding the troubles of others and reaching out. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. Be His hands extended each and every day. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Matthew 5:14-16
 


Testing Builds Endurance

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4) 
 
“Why would a loving heavenly Father allow His children to go through terrible trials and experience sorrow?” We can understand the reason that this is a common question—it can be baffling when the all-powerful God of love seems to stand by silently while painful things happen to His followers. Where is He during personal tragedies, natural disasters, financial crises, and other times of heartache? 
 
The Word of God is the only place we can find the real answer. Even so, today’s reading can be hard to understand or accept. One might read James’s exhortation to be joyful in the face of trials and think, Count me out! Difficulties and joy just don’t seem to go together—that is, unless we understand God’s perspective of what life is about. 
 
When James spoke of joy, he wasn’t referring to a cheery, frivolous feeling. Rather, he was talking about an inner sense of calmness, peace, and confidence in the Lord. He wasn’t telling us to feel happy about our trials but to know, as we go through them, that God is up to something good in our life. Our attitude during the struggle will determine what shape we’re in when we come out on the other side. 
 
When our faith gets tested, the end result is endurance; being aware of this gives us hope and strength. What’s more, the Bible promises God will use trials for our good, so we don’t need to be afraid or anxious. 
 
God’s desire is to bless you, not destroy you. Adversity can make someone feel like a victim, but as followers of Christ, we can choose to be victors! 
 
This devotion blessed me! Today, I choose to be a victor and not a victim. Only God knows what is best for you and I. God will meet you where you are in order to take you where He wants you to go. Trust Him completely. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Philippians 2:14-15