Devotional October 7, 2018

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1

When my husband and I go for nature walks, we bring our cameras and take close-ups of the plants at our feet, which are like microcosms of the world. What amazing variety and beauty we see, even in the fungi that spring up overnight and dot the woods with splashes of bright orange, red, and yellow!

The snapshots of life that surround us inspire me to lift my eyes to the Maker who created not only mushrooms but also the stars in the heavens. He designed a world of infinite scope and variety. And He made you and me and placed us in the very middle of this beauty to enjoy and to rule over it (Gen. 1:27–28; Ps. 8:6–8).

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Devotional October 14, 2018

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2

For decades the renowned Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has blessed multitudes through their soul-refreshing gospel songs. One example is their recording from Psalm 121 titled “My Help.”

Psalm 121 begins with a personal confession of faith in the Lord who brought all things into existence, and He was the source of the psalmist’s help (vv. 1–2). Just what did this mean? Stability (v. 3), around-the-clock care (vv. 3–4), constant presence and protection (vv. 5–6), and preservation from all kinds of evil for time and eternity (vv. 7–8).

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Devotional October 21, 2018

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. Psalm 98:1

When I was thirteen, my school required students to take four exploratory courses, including home economics, art, choir, and woodworking. On my first day in choir, the instructor called each student to the piano individually to hear their voices and place them in the room according to their vocal range. During my turn at the piano, I sang the notes she played multiple times, but wasn’t directed to a section in the room. Instead, after repeated tries, she sent me to the counseling office to find a different class to take. From that moment on, I felt I shouldn’t sing at all, that my voice shouldn’t be heard in song.

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Devotional October 28, 2018

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4

When I think of protection, I don’t automatically think of a bird’s feathers. Though a bird’s feathers might seem like a flimsy form of protection, there is more to them than meets the eye.

Bird feathers are an amazing example of God’s design. Feathers have a smooth part and a fluffy part. The smooth part of the feather has stiff barbs with tiny hooks that lock together like the prongs of a zipper. The fluffy part keeps a bird warm. Together both parts of the feather protect the bird from wind and rain. But many baby birds are covered in a fluffy down and their feathers haven’t fully developed. So a mother bird has to cover them in the nest with her own feathers to protect them from wind and rain.

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Devotional November 4, 2018

What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? —Psalm 8:4

An African proverb states, “The one who asks questions doesn’t lose his way.” That concept can be helpful as we consider David’s questions in the Psalms. He was clearly seeking God’s guidance for the way he should go.

Look, for example, at some of the questions he asked:

“O Lord—how long?” (6:3). A question of eagerness to see God’s plan accomplished.

“What is man that You are mindful of him?” (8:4). A question of awe that God even cares about sinful man.

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Devotional November 11, 2018

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. —Psalm 150:6

The well-known English preacher Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) wrote something that would be good to remember at the start of each day: “Let your thoughts be psalms, your prayers incense, and your breath praise.” Let’s look at each of these phrases.
Let your thoughts be psalms. The 150 psalms have a variety of themes, including praise, God’s character, and expressions of dependence on the Lord. Throughout the day we can turn our thoughts into psalms by meditating on God’s holiness, His worthiness of our worship, and how much we need Him.

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Devotional November 25, 2018

You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. —Psalm 3:3

Is God your glory? (Psalm 3:3). The word glory is the translation of a Hebrew word meaning “weight” or “significance.”

Some people measure their worth by beauty, intelligence, money, power, or prestige. But David, who wrote Psalm 3, found his security and worth in God. He said that many stood against him. He heard their cruel voices and was tempted to believe them, to give way to discouragement and depression. Nevertheless, he comforted and strengthened his heart with these words: “You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head” (v.3).

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Devotional December 2, 2018

The message of Christmas is about hope. But sometimes “it doesn’t feel like Christmas.” It doesn’t feel hopeful. Sometimes life conspires to challenge the Christmas message of “good news of a great joy.”

Christmas has become a time of family celebration with food, presents, and parties. So when the painful reality of life interrupts our celebrations of the Christmas season, when we lose some of these traditional supports, we believe we cannot experience the spirit of Christmas. What happens when a broken family or the aching loss of a loved one or deteriorating health or fragmented and painful relationships conspire to wipe away our joy? At such times we begin to see how far we have strayed from the true message of this blessed season. What we need is something different, something deeper.

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Devotional December 9, 2018

I bring you good news that will cause great joy . . . a Savior has been born to you. Luke 2:10–11

As you savor a candy cane this Christmas, say “danke schön” to the Germans, for that confectionary treat was first created in Cologne. As you admire your poinsettia, say “gracias” to Mexico, where the plant originated. Say “merci beaucoup” to the French for the term noel, and give a “cheers” to the English for your mistletoe.

But as we enjoy our traditions and festivities of the Christmas season—customs that have been collected from around the world—let’s save our most sincere and heartfelt “thank you” for our good, merciful, and loving God. From Him came the reason for our Christmas celebration: the baby born in that Judean manger more than 2,000 years ago. An angel announced the arrival of this gift to mankind by saying, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy . . . a Savior has been born to you” (Luke 2:10–11).

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Devotional December 16, 2018

The mystery from which true godliness springs is great.

1 Timothy 3:16

As Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol begins, there is mystery surrounding Ebenezer Scrooge. Why is he so mean-spirited? How did he become so selfish? Then, slowly, as the Christmas spirits marched Scrooge through his own story, things become clearer. We see the influences that changed him from a happy youth into a selfish miser. We observe his isolation and his brokenness. As the mystery is solved, we also glimpse the path to restoration. Concern for others pulls Scrooge from his self-absorbed darkness into a new joy.

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