Tag Archives: devotions

Pray without ceasing?

By Emily Rose Massey

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV).

With the invention of smartphones and these (often anti) social media apps, we can now be distracted and ignore the reality in front of our faces at any given moment of every single day. Many have lost the art of communication because there really is no need to actually talk (aloud) to people anymore. It’s all about these black letters on white background. We text instead of call. We use emojis instead of an emotional face-to-face conversation. We post “insta” updates like engagements or the birth of a new baby instead of waiting to share that news in person, especially to close friends and family members. I strongly dislike finding out important things through Facebook first, don’t you?

We can’t even sit in a twenty-minute car ride without grabbing for that block of distraction. My husband knows how guilty I am of this one! And recently, I discovered that existing behind my phone’s keyboard hadn’t just affected my relationships with other people but with God. Are we so connected to our devices that we are neglecting to connect with the Lord? How much time am I spending on my phone? I must wonder if living a communicative existence of only black letters on a white background is a huge reason my prayer life seems like it is on life support sometimes. You can’t text God. He wants to hear from His children. 

Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, He tore the veil that separated sinful man from the Holy and Righteous One; Jesus made a way for me to approach God as my Father. What a beautifully life-changing truth! When the disciples asked Christ to teach them how to pray in Matthew 6, He told them to begin with “Our Father.” Prayer is personal because the Father longs to have a personal relationship with His children. He wants us to come to Him constantly with our concerns, burdens, joys, and requests. 

Prayer is personal because the Father longs to have a personal relationship with His children.

At the end of his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul gives a simple reminder to the Thessalonians (and us) to anchor themselves in joy and thankfulness and never stop praying:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV).

Just like all our relationships in life are affected by verbal communication, we are forming our relationship with the Lord with every conversation we have with Him, and we should constantly be lifting our gaze and voices to Him. This means that as we go about our day, we should remember to stay connected to the Vine (John 15), abiding in Him, knowing that we must remain dependent upon Him for all things, and to be thankful and content for His new mercies that are available to us every single day. The distractions are endless throughout the day, and it’s so easy for our eyes and minds to become focused on lesser, temporal things. This isn’t to say that we ignore all of our daily earthly responsibilities to sit in our “prayer closet,” but we seek God in the midst of responsibilities, remembering He is the One who gives us the grace to accomplish the tasks before us. 

His sovereign hand is always guiding us as His beautiful providence unfolds in our life, and we should be careful not to get caught up in our own plans and goals that we neglect coming to Him first. Constant communication with the Lord will build and strengthen our confidence and trust in the Lord as we learn to lean upon Him in all things. Rejoicing always and remaining thankful for another day to get a chance to get to know Him through His Word and glorify His name in all that we say and do. Let us ask the Lord to help us throw off the distractions that would keep us from that glorious partnership with Him.

1 Thess 5:16, inspirational image

Let’s pray:

Father God,
There can be such a blessing that comes from technology and being able to connect with other people all over the world in a moment. But this blessing can also become a major distraction from something so much better, staying connected to You. Lord, I repent for neglecting to keep our communication a top priority and allowing an electronic device to become a hindrance to the spiritual discipline of prayer. You call us to never cease from praying, meaning that we should be continually looking to You every moment of the day. I lift my gaze to You, knowing that is where my help comes from. I lift up my voice to You, knowing that You incline Your ear to me as Your child. Thank You, Jesus, for making a way for me to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. May I never take that relationship for granted? Help me by Your grace and the power of the Spirit to remember to keep prayer a daily, moment-by-moment lifeline to my Heavenly Father.
In Jesus’ name, amen. 

What Does It Mean to be Living Stones?By Rachael Adams

Today’s Bible Verse: “As you come to Him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:4-8

Recently, my family and I spent a day at the lake. We pulled our boat up to the shore for our kids to explore, and before long, they started skipping rocks. As I watched them having fun and enjoying nature, my eyes started to wander the shoreline. I was drawn to the beauty and variety of rocks, layered and weathered over time. If only those rocks could talk, oh the stories they could tell.

Later, I decided to learn what the Bible says about stones and found that the Bible refers to them quite often. The majority of the mentions pertain to altars built for the Lord. An altar is a memorial built to symbolize a place where God met a person or a place to offer a sacrifice. As I studied this topic, I discovered three main kinds: an altar of sacrifice, an altar of remembrance, and an altar of faith.

An Altar of Sacrifice

In my opinion, the most notable example of an altar of sacrifice was when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his long-awaited son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). Abraham obeyed by making the journey, arranging the wood, and laying his bound son on top. However, at the last second God stopped Abraham and provided a ram in Isaac’s place.

This unfathomable act foreshadows God sacrificing His one and only son Jesus, the lamb of God. In the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus offered Himself on an altar in the shape of a cross. Because of His sacrifice, we no longer have to offer sacrifices as they did in the Old Testament. However, we can offer ourselves to the Lord as living sacrifices and offer the altar of our hearts. In our lives this looks like daily laying aside our own desires to follow Him, putting all our energy and resources at His disposal, and trusting Him to guide us.

1 Peter 2:4-5, inspirational image

An Altar of Remembrance

One of my favorite examples of an altar of remembrance is from Joshua. If you’ll recall his story, he was leading the Israelites into the Promised Land and they needed to cross the Jordan River. But they needed a miracle from the Lord to do it—the river was at flood stage, making the waters turbulent and impossible to navigate. The Lord showed up and helped them cross safely.

But before they crossed all the way over into the Promised Land, God wanted them to go back into the Jordan and gather 12 stones to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. He directed them to build a memorial to commemorate the miracle. The altar was to serve as a reminder for future generations to learn what God had done for them (Joshua 4).

Reading Joshua’s story convicts me when I think about how many times I have prayed for something and God has shown up and answered my prayer and I just moved on to the next prayer. I want to remember, but how often I forget how He has shown up and provided for me.

This prompts me to consider building metaphorical memorials in our hearts to thank Him for being present and answering our pleas. What would it look like to symbolically lay down a memorial for Him to remember His faithfulness? Could we build a figurative altar of remembrance to tell our children and our children’s children what He has done in our lives?

An Altar of Faith

I only found one altar of faith in my research and it was built by King David. Israel was experiencing a plague, so David built an altar to the Lord and prayed on behalf of the land. God answered his plea and the plague stopped (2 Samuel 24). What faith he had to build the altar first in expectation that God would meet their need. As a result of his active belief, God showed up and performed the miracle.

I’m inspired by this kind of faith. There are many areas in my life I need God to show up and act on my behalf. I’m guessing the same is true for you. Could God be asking us to lay down stones in active faith first, as David did, so He will act on our behalf?

Our Altars

Like those rocks along the shoreline of the lake, we are living stones—unique and weathered. Our stories of sacrifice, remembrance, and faith layer generation upon generation showcasing God’s presence and displaying the evidence of His work in our lives.

Peter writes, “As you come to Him, the living Stone, you are like living stones being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5).

With Christ as our Cornerstone, I pray our collective stones tell a beautiful story for His glory along the shorelines of this world. Together the altars we build to Him are also building a holy priesthood for Him, so more stones can be added to the beauty of the shoreline. If only those rocks could talk, oh the stories they could tell—God’s great story that we have the privilege to play a part. What a glorious sight to behold.


Rachael Adams is a writer, speaker, podcaster, and founder of The Love Offering. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women to realize their God-given purpose to live out our faith together by loving God, loving others, and learning to love ourselves. Rachael and her husband live in Kentucky with their two children. Connect with her online at rachaelkadams.com or @rachaeladamsauthor on social media.

Forgiveness.

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”   1 John 3:18 NLT

Thoughts for Today
 Has someone you cared about mistreated you? Hurt you deeply? Even though years may have passed, you might still harbor resentment and anger. And that unforgiveness is most likely affecting other relationships—maybe even your whole outlook on life. Try as you might to forget the offense, you find yourself rewinding and reviewing again and again.

You will never be able to overcome the hurt of the past and move on freely with your life until you forgive the offender.

Consider this …
Determine to be active in your pursuit to forgive. Begin to change your thought pattern about the person. Ask God to help you see this individual with eyes of love, looking beyond fault and seeing need. When you speak about the person, speak of needs and strengths—not offenses and weaknesses. Pray for this person and, if possible, take action to do something nice for him or her.

Forgiveness is not easy, especially when the hurt is deep. It helps to remember what Jesus did for us. Even though we certainly didn’t deserve forgiveness, he died on the cross to pay the price for our sin. He offers us forgiveness as a gift. Let us be willing to offer others the gift of our forgiveness.

Prayer
Father, help me to be active in my pursuit to forgive. Help me to see this person through your eyes. Help me to speak and think good and not bad about him. Help me to offer the gift of my forgiveness. In Jesus’ name …

These thoughts were drawn from … Free to Grow: Overcoming Setbacks and Disappointments by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. The purpose of this group study is to help people overcome disappointments and setbacks that have arrested or are presently hindering their emotional and spiritual development. The group study will help participants understand how to be set free so that they can grow and become all that God has designed them to be. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.

Receive. Remain. Respond.

Receive. Remain. Respond.
By Meg Bucher

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” – 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

“Did you even stop to notice what I was doing before you barged into my space, here?” I abruptly asked my daughter mid-sentence.

We often share descriptive discussions, but when she bursts into my train of thought unannounced, I struggle to keep up with the conversation. I prefer to be an active participant in these épilogues, but she often launches right in without any warning. When I ask her to start over, confessing I wasn’t listening, hurt and frustration fill her sweet face. She simply does not understand why I can’t instantly drop everything to give her my full attention.

1 Peter 3:15 encourages believers to do the diligent work of developing our faith in Christ. We do this by allowing the Lord to capture our attention, and by leaving room in our lives to listen to Him as He speaks. Our relationship deepens as we pursue Him daily in His Word and through prayer. He will also place other people perfectly in our lives to speak Truth to, love, and challenge us to step up and respond to them with love. The firm foundation of our faith prepares us to react in the way this verse commands. When we follow Christ, it’s important to be approachable, and interruptible! Only He knows what each day will hold, and He faithfully prepares us to respond when we make time to receive, and remain in, His Truth.

prepared-answer-sq

Acts 16:14 tells the story of a woman named Lydia: “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” (ESV)

Lydia responded immediately, and was baptized alongside everyone in her house! Why does it sometimes take longer for some to respond than others? Moses doubted he could fulfill what God called him to do. Peter denied Jesus. Thomas doubted. Sometimes, we fall under the mistaken impression that God’s calling to serve, especially in ministry, only looks a certain way or is attached to a specific set of talents. We’re not responsible for the way others respond to God, but for following His unique call on our lives.

The prophet Ezekiel sat for several days after the LORD called him to prophecy. He had experienced the glory of God, and it has physically drained and spiritually challenged him! He needed time to sit and digest what God had revealed to and instructed him to do. Our response to God will reflect the One abiding in us when we open our ears to hear and receive His Word. When we remain with Him, allowing His presence, wisdom, and truth to envelope and adjust our perspective to align with His, we are better able to submit our gut response for one obedient and aligned to His will for our lives.

Jesus didn’t wait until we were sinless to die for us, because it never would have happened. He has never required our perfection in exchange for His perfect sacrifice.

We are all missionaries, purposed workers for the Kingdom of God. It’s important to let our minds marinate with their Creator. He may have a quick response prepared for us today, or a slow mulling over. However He chooses to work in our lives, His timing always trumps our gut response.

Receive His Truth. Remain in His presence. Respond in Love.

Take Comfort in the Day of Your Distress

By: Lindsay Tedder

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in a day of distress: He cares for those who take refuge in Him.” Nahum 1:7

After a week of pure parenting torture, I hit my limit. It was a solid week of tantrums, defiance, meltdowns, hitting, kicking, screaming, refusing to sit in a time out, teachers telling me that his behavior was poor in school that day. I reached the precipice of Mount Overwhelmed, when I had to carry him out of Christmas play practice because he was sobbing in the front row of the church.

He had hit his limit.

The next day was the worst day of parenting I have ever experienced. Everything above happened in rapid-fire sequence in a matter of minutes. My husband and I tried everything to calm the chaos, literally everything. You name it, we did it and none of it worked. When my husband took our son for a “car ride” that we hoped would turn into a nap, I broke.

I began wandering around my house aimlessly. It was a disaster. I had to step over toys strewn all over the floor in order to clean up the art supplies and activities that were on every single surface. Puzzle pieces peppered the floor in the living room. It felt like the playroom had sneezed and my house was the tissue.

I had to capitalize on my alone time and make some semblance of normalcy in my home. As I meandered from room to room, I began to stare off in the distance. I knew I wasn’t ok. This week had done me in, and I had nothing left to give. I tried to do the housework. I tried to clean up the toys, but I just couldn’t do it. I felt as if I was about to walk out the front door and never return. I knew that was not possible. I knew I could never run away, despite how desperately I didn’t want to exist in that moment.

I grabbed my Bible. I begged God to reveal the truth to me. I pleaded and petitioned. With one hand on my Bible and the other on my tear-soaked face, I flipped open to the place where my finger had naturally gravitated. Nahum. Great, I thought. This should be really good, God. Can’t wait. Despite my sarcasm, I continued to read.

I will admit, Nahum has never been on my must-read list. In fact, I don’t recall ever reading it in the past. But that sorrowful day, Nahum became my sanity, my comfort. As my fingers spread across the words on the page, I felt like my Daddy was giving me a big squeezy hug. “The Lord is good.” Yes, He is. I know that. This is a truth that I can hang on to right now. He is a “stronghold in the day of distress.” Ok, Dad. You’re talking about today, my day of distress. “He cares for those who take refuge in Him.” Ahh…I see what ya did there, God. Today, I am taking refuge in You because it is my day of distress.

The conversation swirled through my mind. After reading and processing the words, my tears began to dry up, my shoulders began to feel lighter, and my mind was able to stop racing. The Lord, who is good, became my stronghold in that day of distress.

Did you know that Nahum in Hebrew means “comfort?” Wow. It is so incredible to me that my Father knew that Nahum’s words would reach me, thousands of years later, during my day of distress. As I reflect on this day and the way my Dad stepped in and showed me such limitless love and comfort, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude, but my heart can’t help but wonder why it took me getting to the place of debilitating desperation to take refuge in Him. What could my week have looked like if on day one, I turned to Him? Why do I wait? Why do I try to figure it out by myself first? The glory of God is that He wants me to seek Him FIRST. Not as a last resort. Not when the thought of abandoning the beautiful life He gave me is at the forefront of my brain. First.

Are you in a day of distress? Seek Him. Petition Him. Beg Him to reveal truth and comfort to you. And after He does, stop taking the weight of the world on your shoulders, girlfriend. Stop feeling the need to do it yourself first. We serve a God who tells us that isn’t necessary and it’s time we believe Him.

The Corinthian Creedby Shawn McEvoy

Be on your guard, stand firm in faith, be men of courage, be strong; do everything in love. –  1 Corinthians 16:13-14

********While this devotional is geared towards men, I felt like there were a some good thoughts for everyone, not just men.***********

Today’s verse hangs on a board on the wall of my son. But years ago, long before my son was even an inkling, I came across that verse as I was sending my own father one of many letters I composed over the years to share with him the importance of salvation, and the value of life in Christ. My sister, mother, and I came to know the Lord in 1980, but it took another 17 years, seven months, and 26 days worth of praying, heart softening, and brokenness for Dan McEvoy to surrender.

And it wasn’t this letter or the above verse that pushed him into it. No, this letter I was writing simply to tell him how blessed I was to have begun dating a woman (who eventually became my wife) for whom faith came first, and I was giving God all the glory and credit and all that good stuff, and probably telling him how God delights in blessing those who trust in Him.

With the letter I enclosed a quick-and-dirty page of graphic art involving the aforementioned verse from Corinthians in some fancy font, with a clip-art picture of a sailboat, kind of as a visual aid to my letter, indicating, I suppose, what it was like for the man of God to live in this world under the Captaincy of Christ.

Well, so. After he died in 2001, I found that letter and piece of “art” in my father’s desk, looking as if it had been read and glanced at often. Something in me knew then that if I were ever to have a son, I’d commit to raising him to manhood under these same five principles:

  • Be on your guard. Be ready, be alert. Expect God to be involved, expect Satan to attack. Let the wonder of creation still catch your eye.
  • Stand firm in faith. Be unmoved because you know intimately that of which you believe in. Become biblically literate.
  • Be a man of courage. Fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7), so go your way boldly. The worst that can happen – even death – still ends in victory and glory for the Christian.
  • Be strong. Physically, yes, let’s take care of ourselves, and present our bodies as holy. But remember that the Lord is the strength of the strong (Ephesians 6:10), and that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
  • Do everything in love. Here’s your motivation, because he that doesn’t love doesn’t know God (1 John 4:8), and the world shall know you by your love (John 13:35).

So when Jordan was born, and we had the dedication service at our church, that’s the verse we selected to have read. When he was about two-and-a-half, he started reciting it by memory and making up arm/hand motions to go with it. We call it our “Man-Creed.” 

But here’s the secret: these couple verses from the closing of Paul’s first letter to Corinth aren’t first-and-foremost for Jordan… they’re for me.

When I first realized that, it caught me, ironically enough, “off my guard.” I had been more than happy to tell my own father how to “be a man,” and was perfectly willing to raise my son to be one according to the Word. How, I wonder, did I intend to do so without living out the credo, making it my own?

The Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible comments upon the 1 Corinthians passage thusly: “[Paul] shows that they ought to make their hopes of salvation to depend not on Apollos or any other teacher; that it rests with themselves.” Yes, and on how I am willing to live, or better, whether I am willing to let my life be of greater worth than my words.

I don’t know about the other guys out there, but it definitely helps me to have something to live by, to recite, to write on my heart, ponder the meaning of, and connect to other scriptures as I strive to be a man after God’s own heart. And it doesn’t hurt that this creed I now try to follow is affecting its third generation in my family.

Happiness Isn’t Required to Rejoice

By: Meg Bucher

“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24 ESV

“Don’t draw from the pile when there’s a wild card in your hand.” My husband repeated the proper UNO rules to my nine-year-old, as our oldest drained all the hot water for her shower.

“Mom… it’s your turn.”

Life is transitioning from when bedtime was a pretty reliable staple to an era where our kids stay up later than we can. Change can tempt us to assume something is wrong. Our youngest needs to move until her head hits the pillow, which pushes every parental button trying to decompress at the end of the day. Instead of battling her behavior, we play UNO. We celebrate who she is alongside her, and peace prevails.

Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (ESV) Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. This is the day. Though change can be challenging and transition trying and tiring, we are to rejoice and be glad in it. So often we pray for it to end, or for things to return to what we once knew. But life keeps moving. For those of us who love and follow Jesus, we’re always growing in maturity towards a heart like His. It sounds as beautiful as it is, but the everyday reality of growth pushes us out of our comfort zones.

Rejoice” in the original Hebrew, means to rejoice, exult, be glad, but also to tremble in fear. We can be fearful or uncomfortable without losing our joy. When we rejoice in the Lord, knowing our joy is rooted in Jesus, we are glad. It reminds us He’s got us. He has a plan, a purpose, sits sovereign overall and loves each of us.

Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (ESV) Always, including in times of suffering (NIVSB), “rejoice always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) The verb in these verses could be used as a salutation, or at the beginning of letters. Imagine if we greeted each other with “Rejoice!” Why shouldn’t we be glad? We have a Savior who has conquered death so we may live a full life here on earth, and on to eternity with Him in heaven.

When the daily grind turns everyday joys into mundane annoyances or change and transition threaten to rip up the roots of peace amidst uncomfortable circumstances …rejoice! Rejoice, not to minimize hard times and tragic pain, but to re-center our souls on the hope of Jesus.

Life will constantly shift, banking around sharp curves and sneaking up on us with challenging seasons. But God remains the same. Jesus walks through it all with us. Our rejoicing doesn’t have to look like a worship concert. It doesn’t even have to don a smile. The life-giving stirring of our souls comes from simply recalling what we know. There’s nothing extraordinary about playing Uno on the couch while we watch tv, but it reminds us peace doesn’t have to look organized or make sense. We just have to remember to pause and let it reign over our circumstances and solutions.


Meg Bucher writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. Meg is also a freelance writer and author of “Friends with Everyone.”  She loves teaching God’s Word and leading Bible study, being a mom, distance running, photography, and the Cleveland Browns. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Golden-Doodle.

Skydiving with JesusBarb Roose

Today’s Truth:

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here” (Matthew 14:27 NLT).

During a Monday morning planning meeting, I was given two choices: pet a tarantula or jump out of an airplane. I picked jumping out of an airplane because I am that afraid of spiders! Which one would you choose?

The next morning, I drove across my home state with two co-workers to go skydiving. As I passed the highway exit near my hometown, I considered giving my parents a call. However, wisdom, or maybe self-preservation, prevailed. I figured that if I didn’t die skydiving, my mother would surely kill me to keep me from jumping out of the plane.

After I arrived, the training staff taught us the basics of how to jump and how parachutes worked. I appreciated the information; however, thousands of nervous butterflies were skydiving in my stomach. It was knowing that my experienced jump instructor would be present and tethered to me during the jump that made the difference with my anxiety.

In Matthew 14:27, Jesus reminds the disciples of His presence in perilous circumstances. Shortly after feeding 5,000 men and their families, Jesus sent the disciples across the lake to wait for Him. Even though the disciples knew how to manage the boat, that didn’t take away their fear when a fierce storm blew across the lake. The disciples were in trouble and in Mark’s account, he wrote that the disciples were rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves (Mark 6:48).

Are you “rowing hard and struggling” in one of life’s storms? It’s easy to panic when you’re doing all that you can and you still fear that all will be lost. Perhaps you’re facing a parenting challenge and no matter what you’ve learned from the therapists or books, you’re still pacing the floor at night. Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with a life-changing illness and while you’ve got treatment plans and expert care, the waves of grief and uncertainty pummel you day and night. Not only do you feel the fear, but it’s exhausting, isn’t it?

Jesus speaks eight, powerful and practical words to the disciples that apply to you today, no matter what you’re facing:

“Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.”

Notice how Jesus didn’t tell them to steer the boat differently. Furthermore, He didn’t criticize them for being afraid. In their panic, Jesus knew that the only effective measure was to show up with his calming presence. Jesus called the disciples to take their eyes off the storm and focus on Him and experience His peace in the midst of the storm. An interesting note, as the story continued to unfold, Jesus invites Peter to walk on water and yet, the strong winds and waves continue. Yet, in Jesus’ presence, Peter had the courage to step out and walk on water in the midst of the storm.

Today, you can be encouraged! Jesus’ presence is always near, so you can live in bold courage rather than fear. Even as the circumstances of your life whip and whirl around you, courageously do whatever God has called you to do. He is right with you!

When the tiny crop plane reached 10,000 feet over the jump point, my instructor tethered his jumpsuit to mine and opened the door. The loud rush of cold wind filled my ears, but I heard his voice in the wind: “I’m right here.” Even though we would free-fall at 120 mph back toward earth, I felt the intensity of the fall, but never the fear because my instructor was near.

What are those waves named in your life? Imagine yourself sitting in a boat and picture Jesus walking toward you saying, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.” Even if you can’t see him in your difficult moment, he is near to you today.

Let’s Pray

God, I am grateful that I can face the storms of life with peace and courage because Your presence is always with me. Whisper Jesus’ words to my heart and soul today whenever I focus too much on the waves of fear, uncertainty or stressful circumstances. Thank You that I am never alone! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

A Prayer for Hope When Life Seems Hopeless

By: Emily Rose Massey

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:24-26, ESV).

My husband and I recently celebrated twelve years of marriage. Although I enjoy reflecting and focusing on all the wonderful and joyous memories together over these last twelve years, it can be said that our faith has been tested under waves of chaos and storms and under the weight and pressures of life.

It would be amazing to have a life full of happy times only, but it’s in the fire, the trials, and the storms of life that we are truly strengthened. We can choose to rise above the chaos or allow hopelessness and despair to overtake us. 

Our faith in Jesus Christ has given us hope to remain steadfast because we know He is faithful. 
This hope is what has been our anchor through all. 

This anchor is what holds you to your trust and faith in the Lord. Hope isn’t something that can be created or conjured up. Sure, we can give ourselves a pep-talk when we are feeling downcast or be encouraged by a friend to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but true hope is given to us by the Holy Spirit. He endows us with the faith that God’s promises are true; He is not a liar- He can be trusted completely and that ultimately, His sovereign hand is working in our life; we will not be put to shame.

Having an eternal perspective lifts your eyes from the cares of this life and helps you move forward when you are going through a storm to remind you that ultimately, this place is not our home; Being heavenly-minded during earthly trials is what fuels your hope in God. Romans 8 speaks of this kind of hope:

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:24-26, ESV).

Romans 8:24-25

We eagerly wait for the return of Christ and the day we will abide with God forever in our heavenly home. No matter how dark things may become around us in our world or in our personal lives, we must ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with hope. We must renew our minds with God’s Word so we will be able to seek and understand God’s perfect will in our lives more clearly. He has a purpose for us to fulfill here on earth and that is to share with others His glorious Gospel so that they may also find the hope that is available to God’s children.

As a child of God, we may feel a hopelessness in our hearts, but we must move beyond our feelings and remind our hearts of the great hope we have in Christ. The Holy Spirit can help us in our weaknesses. Let us ask Him for help when hopelessness tries to overwhelm us, moving beyond what we see and connecting ourselves to the hope that is attached to our trust in God’s promise of eternal life in Christ.

Father God, 

I am experiencing a heaviness, a weariness in my soul. Our world is in a constant state of chaos it seems, and my own soul is in turmoil from the weight of the cares of this life. But I refuse to live by what I feel for I know You are faithful and will not let me drown in the waves of the storms of life. Holy Spirit, fill my heart with a hope that can only come from heaven. 

Help me fix my eyes on eternity and give me the boldness to share the Gospel with others so they would know of this hope that heaven awaits those who repent of their sin and put their full trust in Christ alone. Thank You for never leaving me in my weakness and for strengthening me with Your grace each day.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Prayer to Let Go of Your Fear of Death

By Victoria Riollano 

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4

I hate fear.

I literally hate fear. From the age of six to twenty-six, fear encompassed my life. Fear of dogs, cats, riding in cars, speaking in front of people crossing the street, clowns, and being robbed, paralyzed me. So much to the point, that there were times I wouldn’t leave my home or would find ways to get out of planned family trips. Before long, fear had almost ruined my marriage and my life. After years of prayer for the Lord to remove this thorn in my flesh, the Lord spoke, 

“You have to be willing to let it go.”

 When I originally heard these gentle words from the Lord, I was convinced that maybe I misheard. After all, I had been praying for years to be free from the crippling bondage of fear. Yet, the Lord started to reveal that fear had become the foundation of my life. In my own way, fear was my way of remaining in control and not trusting Him. 

In my mind, if I did everything I could to remain safe I would preserve my life for longer. If it meant not getting in the car, avoiding people, or not crossing the street, I was willing to do it. Before long, the fear of death and the unknown were a part of every decision that I made. I had become a self-proclaimed “fear-aholic” and my choice to cling to fear was infiltrating every aspect of my life. I had to make a choice to let it go once and for all.

Over the years, the Lord began to point me to His Word about fear. Over and over, we see God speak to His people and tell them not to fear.

In Joshua 1:9, He says it like this: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

In the New Testament, Jesus speaks a similar sentiment as He says, 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 34:4, inspirational image

As you read the Bible, you will not find an instance when the Lord calls His children to live in terror. Instead, He encourages us that He is present amid trouble and reminds us that He gives us peace. God goes further in 1 John 4:18 to say that His perfect love drives out all fear. I believe that this verse is a reminder that when we accept His love for us it would be impossible to live a life of fear. 

Those who have accepted Him know that when their life ends, it is just beginning with God in eternity. This is why the Bible says O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Yes, we can live a life in complete peace knowing that God is with us from life to death and beyond! Fear has to go when we are in right alignment with Jesus and He is our safe place. My prayer for you today is that if you’ve been plagued with fear that God can bring you peace and that you would be willing to completely surrender those fears over to Him.

Lord, I thank you for your love. Help me to receive that love and maintain an awareness that you are with me. I pray against fear and every attack of the enemy against my life. Teach me to run to you when fear overtakes me. 

Lord, I recognize fear as a tool of the enemy to rob me of the life you have ordained for me. Teach me to be wise and no longer allow fear to be my resting place. I thank you that you are with me at all times and I cannot outrun your love or your protection. Help my mind to rely on you above all. In Jesus Name. Amen.