54 – A song for love and comfort

My elderly friend asked me to take her to the hospital one morning. She had diminished eyesight and left her car there the night before. She stayed too long visiting her husband and someone had to drive her home because it was dark.

I plugged in my iPod and turned up the volume since both of us have hearing impairments. I played a few songs from the 1940s, and I loved hearing her raspy voice singing the lyrics perfectly. We laughed and hugged as she exited my car to visit the love of her life who was sick.

The next day she told me that he was gravely ill, and she decided to sing ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so’ to him as he slept. But she giggled into the phone and said, “he started singing it with me.”

In sickness and in health, music warms our hearts. Share a song about Jesus with someone today. Sing it together aloud. Make a joyful noise with someone you love.

Scripture: Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. Ephesians 5:19 ESV

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for giving us the ability to love one another. Thank you for the spiritual songs that have been written for us to sing. Our hearts love being filled with your Spirit as we sing praise and glorify you. We seek ways to comfort our loved ones when they are sick. Softly singing about Jesus tells them, “Jesus loves you and so do I.” Amen.

52 – Lost and desperate

Lost and desperate was the headline I read today about a hiker in his favorite forest. His cellphone battery was down to ten percent, and he sent a picture of his legs on a steep hill to a friend. He had limited supplies for what he thought was going to be a two-hour hike. The photo was shared with authorities and a viewer used his satellite mapping skills to locate the stranded man.

Have you ever felt lost and desperate? Jesus told a parable (story) to a group of tax collectors and sinners while critical teachers of the law listened nearby.

A sheep was lost and found. The one who lost it celebrated its return to him. Tell Jesus if you feel lost and desperate. He will take you in his loving arms and celebrate that you are saved. Saved by grace. Lost and desperate no more. Thanks be to God!

Scripture: My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20 ESV

Prayer: Father God, thank you for finding the lost and desperate souls that walk this earth. Thank you for teachers, preachers, missionaries, and everyday disciples. We want to share your love with others. Give us the words and opportunities so that they may be saved. We look forward to celebrating every time a lost sheep is led home to You. Amen.

45 – Half empty or half full

There were years of struggle in my life, and if you asked, I would say my glass was half empty. Have you spent years like that, too? Did you reach a point where you finally looked inward for resolution? A time when you realized your circumstances might not change, and the only thing you could change was your attitude? It’s a hard look and a willingness to change yourself that can make a difference. Talk to God and ask for the strength to change your attitude so that you can see your life as half full rather than half empty. Fill my cup, Lord. Fill it up and make me whole.

Scripture: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for encouraging us to think positive in a negative world. May the words of our mouths speak confidence and affirmation to others. We pray that all manner of negative thoughts and speech be removed from us. Let others see your love and kindness in us. Amen

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44 – A hard path

Walking the parkway yesterday enjoying new blooms, I realized I began to look down at my path as it ascended. Whenever I stare at the hill on the corner with the stop sign, I often give up, turn around and tell myself I can’t make it. It was an interesting observation into my psyche for my walking exercise.

Looking at the path instead of the seemingly insurmountable hill, took my mind off the challenge. It stopped me from negative, confidence-stealing thoughts. I was calm and enjoyed the walk and thanked my Lord when I reached the top of the hill. We did it together, God and me.

Don’t look at your mountains as you try to scale them. Look for your strength through the One who is Lord over all the mountains, hills and pathways in your life. You will truly never walk alone.

Scripture: For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

Prayer: Father God, thank you for walking with me. Up the mountains and down in the valleys of my life, I know you’ve been there. Help me trust you and keep my eyes on the path rather than look at what seems humanly impossible to accomplish. I do believe nothing is impossible for you. Remind me that you walk by my side in every endeavor. Amen.

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40 – Let me lighten your load

What’s in your backpack? Let’s unpack it before you walk out the door to go about your day. Here is guilt, anger and resentment. In another pocket there is worry and grief. Buried in the bottom is loneliness, heartbreak, and disappointment. Don’t put them on the table. Lay them at the foot of the cross where Jesus Christ forgave your sins. It is where he lifted your burdens and bore them as him own. Give the contents of your burdensome backpack to the Savior. Let him lighten your load.

Scripture: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 ESV

Prayer: Father, thank you for your mercy and forgiveness. Thank you that your Son, Jesus Christ, died in my place. I am placing all my burdens at the foot of the cross at Calvary. I trust your word is true, and I sincerely desire rest in your loving arms. I love having you by my side and the peace and comfort that you freely give. We seek and ask for your favor today. Amen.

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39 – Renew my spirit

My marriage ended in divorce, and I tried marriage two more times but failed. I’ve been alone for many years now, and the Lord has been renewing my spirit. I’ve felt His continued, never-ending presence in my life through the good times and the lean years (spiritual, mental, physical and financial). He never left me through all my failed attempts in life to sit on the throne all by myself. He waited by my side. I thank God that he never gave up on me. You may have had years of struggle and need spiritual renewal. God is listening. Go ahead and tell him how you feel. He loves you and wants to renew your spirit and grow your faith. He won’t leave you.

Scripture: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 ESV

Prayer: Gracious Father, thank you for loving us and forgiving our faults. We are often weak and choose the wrong path in life. Lord, we need your strength and wisdom to make better choices. Help us feel your presence and grow stronger in our faith, confident that you will never leave us. We are asking you to clean our hearts today and everyday start anew. Amen.

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30 – According to plan

Has your life worked out the way you planned it to? I think most of us would say no. There have been good things, bad things, and in between things that have changed our paths through the years. You may think that day in and day out it’s the same old thing. Ho hum. If something needs to change, pray for guidance. God is working on it. He has a plan for you. Keep praying, keep listening, and be patient.

Scripture: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving us free will. Help us to be prayerful and seek your will to be done in our lives. We often use our free will to manipulate our circumstances and become impatient. We ask for calm in our minds to listen for your voice. Amen.

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21 – Learning to lean

We depended on our parents for our livelihood while growing up. I still remember the freedom I felt when I became an independent young woman. Making decisions and life choices on my own were good and bad. Live and learn, they say. As Christians, we sometimes try to be independent and think we know better than God. How does that work out for you? He still wants to guide us, but we have free will to choose. It is my prayer today that you will seek God, learning to lean on his wisdom. Get quiet and listen. Pray about your situation and don’t worry. Like a loving father, God is there. He cares for you.

Scripture: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 NLT

Prayer: Father, thank you for loving stubborn, independent grown-up children. We try to sit on your throne and manipulate our lives but often fail. We ask you today, Lord, to take away our pride of independence and accept your loving guidance day by day. Help us to practice leaning on your everlasting arms until it is second nature to our souls. Amen.

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20 – Little gray cloud

Depression has often hovered over me like a little gray cloud. Never raining more than a sprinkling. Never letting the sun burst through all the way. The best days are busy with cooking, crafting, texting and a long walk outside. Reading scripture, devotionals and listening to cheerful music also lifts my spirits. Years were wasted thinking about the past and worrying about the future.

Now I pray more, worry less and thank God for the sunshine. My sad memories still appear sometimes, but I counterattack them with positive actions. Working on where I let my mind wander has truly helped me with depression.

Scripture: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11 ESV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving and hugging us when we feel depressed. Show us how to change our thoughts from sadness to gladness. Help us to count our blessings instead of remembering regret and sorrow. We want to feel the sunshine today in our hearts and minds. Amen.

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