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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Send It in a Letter - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 20 February



Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.

Colossians 1:9

Today's Scripture & Insight:
Like most four-year-olds, Ruby loved to run, sing, dance, and play. But she started complaining about pain in her knees. Ruby’s parents took her in for tests. The results were shocking—a diagnosis of cancer, stage 4 neuroblastoma. Ruby was in trouble. She was quickly admitted to the hospital.
Ruby’s hospital stay lingered on, spilling over into the Christmas season, a hard time to be away from home. One of Ruby’s nurses came up with the idea to place a mailbox outside her room so family could send letters full of prayers and encouragement to her. Then the plea went out on Facebook, and that’s when the volume of mail coming in from friends and complete strangers surprised everyone, most of all Ruby. With each letter received (more than 100,000 total), Ruby grew a little more encouraged, and she finally got to go home.
Paul’s letter to the people at Colossae was exactly that—a letter (Colossians 1:2). Words penned on a page that carried hopes for continued fruitfulness and knowledge and strength and endurance and patience (vv. 10–11). Can you imagine what a dose of good medicine such words were to the faithful at Colossae? Just knowing that someone was praying nonstop for them strengthened them to stay steady in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Our words of encouragement can dramatically help others in need.

Today's Reflection

How have others’ words encouraged me? What opportunities do I have to give someone else the “letter” of encouragement they need?

FEBRUARY 19, 2019 A Natural Expression of Thanksgiving - Joyce Meyer Ministries


Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
— Psalm 107:1


Thanksgiving can be a part of who we are deep down in our hearts; it is a type of prayer and it should flow out of us in a natural way that is simple and genuine.
Being thankful does not mean merely sitting down at the end of a day, trying to remember everything we need to be thankful for because we think we have to thank God in order to make Him happy, or to satisfy some spiritual requirement, or try to get Him to do something else for us.
Instead, it means having a heart that is sensitive to God’s presence in our everyday lives, and just breathing out grateful prayers of thanksgiving every time we see Him working in our lives or blessing us.
Prayer Starter: Father, I am thankful that prayer is not some ritual or formula that I am required to follow. I am grateful that prayer is a comfortable, ongoing conversation with You based on an intimate relationship with You. I love You, Father, and I am excited to give You thanks all day long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Shelve Them and Move On - Our Daily Bread Ministries 19 February



Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.

Proverbs 15:31


Today's Scripture & Insight:
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).

Today's Reflection

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.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Acts of Kindness - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 16 February Saturday



[Tabitha] was always doing good and helping the poor.

Acts 9:36

“Estera, you got a present from our friend Helen!” my mom told me when she got home from work. Growing up we didn’t have much, so receiving a present in the mail was like a second Christmas. I felt loved, remembered, and valued by God through this wonderful woman.
The poor widows Tabitha (Dorcas) made clothes for must have felt the same way. She was a disciple of Jesus living in Joppa who was well known in the community for her acts of kindness. She was “always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36). Then she got sick and passed away. At the time, Peter was visiting a nearby city, so two believers went after him and begged him to come to Joppa.
When Peter arrived, the widows Tabitha had helped showed him the evidence of her kindness—“the robes and other clothing that [she] had made” (v. 39). We don’t know if they asked him to intervene, but led by the Holy Spirit Peter prayed and God brought her back to life! The result of God’s kindness was that “this became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord” (v. 42).
As we’re kind to those around us, may they turn their thoughts to God and feel valued by Him.
By Estera Pirosca Escobar


Today's Reflection

Dear Lord, help me to follow You and show kindness to those around me, so they can see You in me.

Learn more about caring for hurting people at christianuniversity.org/CC205.

FEBRUARY 15, 2019 Take a Laugh Break - Joyce Meyer Ministries daily devotion

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
— Psalm 126:2

We need to laugh more. It is good for the soul and adds health to our body. One of the reasons we may not laugh more is because we think too much about things that have no ability to bring joy.
Thinking of what I have lost in life is not a joy-bringer, but thinking about what God has done for me and His promise to do even more does bring joy.
Thinking about the people who have hurt us in life is not a joy-bringing thought, but thinking about the grace God has given us to forgive and trust Him for vindication makes us want to laugh (at least it does me).
God often reminds me to laugh more. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get too serious and I need to have a “laugh break.” There are lots of things to laugh at or about if we will just take the time to do it.
I believe laughter is much more important than we may realize. We aren’t too old or too busy, nor do we have too many problems to laugh! Start paying attention to how much you laugh and try to do it as often as possible.
Prayer Starter: Father, I believe You gave me the ability to laugh for a reason, and I want to take advantage of all the benefits of laughter. Help me take every opportunity to laugh and to make others laugh too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Sinking into Grace - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 15 February Friday




Finally, on January 8, 1964, seventeen-year-old Randy Gardner did something he hadn’t done for eleven days and twenty-five minutes: he nodded off to sleep. He wanted to beat the Guinness Book World Record for how long a human could stay awake. By drinking soft drinks and hitting the basketball court and bowling alley, Gardner rebuffed sleep for a week and a half. Before finally collapsing, his sense of taste, smell, and hearing went haywire. Decades later, Gardner suffered from severe bouts of insomnia. He set the record but also confirmed the obvious: sleep is essential.
Many of us struggle to get a decent night’s rest. Unlike Gardner who deprived himself intentionally, we might suffer sleeplessness for a number of reasons—including a mountain of anxieties: the fear of all we need to accomplish, the dread of others’ expectations, the distress of living at a frantic pace. Sometimes it’s hard for us to turn off the fear and relax.
The psalmist tells us that “unless the Lord builds the house,” we labor in vain (Psalm 127:1). Our “toiling” and our relentless efforts are useless unless God provides what we need. Thankfully, God does provide what we need. He “grants sleep to those he loves” (v. 2). And God’s love extends to all of us. He invites us to release our anxieties to Him and sink into His rest, into His grace.

Today's Reflection

God, I’m so anxious. I churn inside. Would You help me trust You with my night, with 

FEBRUARY 14, 2019 Start a Blessing Box - Joyce Meyer Ministries daily devotion


You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
— Deuteronomy 15:10

Here's an idea: Get yourself a big box and start going through your possessions, asking God to show you what you have that you can use to bless others. Fill it up with things that are nice but that you no longer need.
Look in cabinets, drawers, closets, the basement, and the garage. You will fill up your box quickly! Don't keep something for years in case you ever need it—if you're anything like me, by the time you need it, you will have forgotten that you have it and go buy another one anyway.
Take the clutter that is frustrating you and turn it into blessings. Keep the box in a handy place and start asking God to show you who needs to be blessed.
One woman I know, who is a radical giver, got all the things together she wanted to use to bless people and displayed them on her kitchen table. She invited several friends over and told them to take anything they wanted from the table. She urged them to keep on taking until everything was gone.
I encourage you to be a giver and look for ways in which you can use what you have to be a blessing to others.
Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You so much for Your goodness and blessings in my life. Help me to always be mindful of other people’s needs and look for creative ways to share Your blessing with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Send It in a Letter - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 20 February

Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. Colossians 1:9 Today's Scripture & Insight: Colo...