New Mercies…New Beginnings by Laura

But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:21-22).

At the beginning of a new year – a new decade, I have been so aware of new mercies. Divine favor from our merciful LORD never ceases to amaze and encourage me. Reading the prophet Jeremiah has opened my heart to the deep meaning of his words in Lamentations 3. The book of Jeremiah is filled with extreme messages he delivers from the LORD to His people. The Old Testament prophets spoke for the LORD to the people of Israel and in Jeremiah’s case, these messages brought dire consequences.

In the first 20 verses of Lamentations 3, he is recounting trials, tests and afflictions he has experienced because of His prophetic messages. We read in verse 20, “My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.” Then we come to verse 21 and a wonderful word in scripture…”But”. This change of direction reveals Jeremiah’s mental decision to remember something that gives Him hope even in the midst of his drastic situation. It is the steadfast love of Yahweh. The “chesed” (Hebrew word) of the covenant keeping God. This steadfast love is loyal love. This steadfast love is eternal and brings new mercies every morning from our faithful Father. Experiencing this love gives us hope in the midst of anything we may encounter in the new year.

My guess is that most of us have not endured anything near the kinds of experiences Jeremiah endured due to our speaking the truth of God’s Word. However, we are not without tests and trials in this life. You may be in a place of discouragement. You may feel as if your soul is bowed down within you. You may feel hopeless. You may have never known the “chesed” love of God. Hear God speaking through Jeremiah to remind you that there is hope in His great love. God demonstrated this great love by sending Jesus to die on the cross, shedding His perfect blood to forgive your sin. Cry out to Him today for His new mercies. Call to mind His steadfast love and experience a new beginning in 2020!!

Love One Another by Miriam

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

These were some of Jesus last words to His disciples before He was crucified. Over and over in God’s word we are told to love one another. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:2 to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Then in 1 John 3:23 we are told, “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”

As I pondered the passage in John 13 recently, I asked myself, “Do people know I am a follower of Jesus by the way I love others?”. And by others, I don’t just mean my immediate family or close friends. Although they are definitely part of the ones I should love, I’m pretty sure that Jesus meant much more than that. Do I show love for those who are not as easy to love?

I’m asking the Lord to help me to see others as He sees them — as someone for whom He gave His only son (John 3:16) — and to love them. I want people to know I am a follower of Jesus by the way I love others. How about you? Do people see your love for others and think, “They must be a follower of Jesus because they love others so well.”?

A Bright Sunny Place (Excerpt from 31 Days of Encouragement – Beth)

Matthew 5:8

One of my favorite places to sit with the Lord in the early hours of the morning is at my kitchen table. It is a bright sunny place overlooking a small pond in my backyard. A few weeks ago, as I sat in this place with the Lord, I could barely see through my own tears. My spirit was broken and my heart was hurting. The day before, I had left the special Bible that my mother gave me on the kitchen table. This particular Bible was so special to me because my mother had written love notes to me and highlighted special passages as she read through it the year before she gave it to me. I enjoyed using that Bible during my quiet times with the Lord for over four years. It was one of my most precious possessions. My heart sank when my family and I returned home from church the day before to discover that our new puppy had shredded and half-eaten my special Bible. When I saw the Bible scattered and torn all over the kitchen floor, it was as though the breath was knocked right out of me. I fell to the floor, weeping and trying to gather all of the pieces. The Bible could not be salvaged.

The next morning, as I sat in my usual sunny place, my spirit felt dry and empty. This beautiful sunny place suddenly became a sad, dark place for me. I wept many times over my loss. I battled an empty feeling for several days as I sat in my special place. My emotions began to consume me as I grieved for my Bible. It was during one of these times with the Lord that I sensed Him speaking to me. In a voice as clear as the words on this page, I heard Jesus say to me, “My precious Beth, you have been worshipping the time and routine of spending time with Me. I want you to worship ME.” My choked response was, “Lord, what did you say?” Again, the Lord said to me, “I want you to worship Me in spirit and in truth.” I fell on my face before the Lord that morning and confessed my selfish heart. The words of Deuteronomy 8:5 rang true that “you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.” At that moment, the dry and empty place within me began to warm up and become sunny again. This was a life changing moment for me.

According to scripture, those who worship the Lord “must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Friend, are you worshipping the habit of meeting with the Lord or are you worshipping HIM? There is a significant difference between the two ideas.

How Will You Answer His Call? by Laura

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, more than likely, there will come a time when He invites you into a leadership role. It is a beautiful truth from His Word that He chooses to use us as His vessels, His ambassadors, His witnesses.   You may be considering a call to service as you are reading this devotional.  If so, as you ponder this invitation, would you accept a challenge and spend some time in prayer? 

The challenge …

Embrace God’s Call!  Expect God to Equip You!

READ ALOUDHebrews 13:20-21 (NLT) “Now may the God of peace-who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood-may he equip you with all you need for doing his will.  May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

Hear the Spirit speak to you through God’s Word. 

Write down anything that captures your heart or mind as you read and listen.

Embrace God’s Call…    

To be a leader, as you are being led by Jesus

To point others to Jesus, as you disciple

To live out the gospel message, with integrity and dependence on Christ

To stand for truth, in hard situations

To be courageous, when you are fearful

To be generous, investing in others

To be a mentor and a role model, by the Holy Spirit’s power

To maintain upright character, living above reproach

To boldly ask God for direction, trusting Him

To be committed, welcoming accountability

To be a life-giving leader, extending grace

To depend on Jesus, fixing your eyes on Him

Make a list of things that might be difficult or challenging about God’s call to lead.

Make a list of blessings you might receive from answering God’s call to lead.

Expect God to Equip You…

I Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…”


Take some time to talk to the Lord about embracing His call on your life. His invitation to lead.  Regardless of how you feel, the truth is that He is your helper and will equip you with all you need for doing His will…for His glory!!  May you answer with a resounding, “Yes, Lord.  Here I am!”

Does Your Playlist Keep Your Eyes on Jesus? by Miriam

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

I have a playlist on my phone of songs that help me keep my eyes on Jesus. The playlist is actually titled, “Keep My Eyes on Jesus” and is full of songs that point me to Jesus. If something is troubling me or causing me to lose sight of the Lord, I quickly tap that list and songs that remind me of who God is and His faithfulness start filling the air around me. One of those songs is “I Lift My Eyes” by Laura Story.

Recently I was burdened in my heart about something and was just talking to the Lord about how I saw things and what I thought needed to happen. I was in my car and hit my “Keep My Eyes on Jesus” playlist and “I Lift My Eyes” came on. When the song got to the part where it says:

My help comes from
The one who formed my heart
The one whose promise is forever

The words, “the one who formed my heart” just jumped out at me. I thought, “Lord, you formed my heart. You know exactly how I’m feeling. More than that, You know exactly what needs to happen in this situation and what is best.” Because music is a big part of me, God often uses it to speak truth to my heart. At this moment, He used this song to remind me to trust Him — the One who formed my heart.

Spending time daily in God’s word and in prayer is always the best way to keep your eyes on Jesus, but it never hurts to have other things that help you, too. For me, it’s music. This world is full of distractions that will snatch our eyes off of Jesus in a split second. What helps you keep your eyes on Jesus?

You’ll Get Through This by Beth

We hear this often. “You’ll get through this.” Your fear is you won’t. You fear you are stuck in this rut. You begin to believe this gray sky will never be bright again; this load you are carrying will never lighten up. You feel stuck, trapped, and locked in. Will you ever exit this pit?


I love what Max Lucado writes in his book, God Will Use This for Good, “Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy and everywhere. Out of the lion’s den for Daniel, the prison for Peter, the whale’s belly for Jonah, Goliath’s shadow for David, the storm for the disciples, disease for the lepers, doubt for Thomas, the grave for Lazarus, and the shackles for Paul.”

Jesus is the One who gets us through. Lucado goes on to write, “through is a favorite word of God’s; Through the Red Sea onto dry ground (Ex. 14:22), through the wilderness (Deut. 29:5), through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4), and through the deep sea (Ps. 77:19).”

Are you in a place today where your mindset is, “I am not going to get through this.”? Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Emphasis mine.)

You are never alone. The scriptures tell us as we are walking through whatever situation we are facing, God will be with us. It won’t be quick. If you recall the life of Joseph, he was seventeen years of age when his brothers sold him into slavery. He was at least in his thirties when he realized what the enemy had meant for evil God intended for good. How long will God take with you? Let me remind you, “God’s history is redeemed not in minutes but in lifetimes.” (Lacado)

This is where our faith kicks in. We either trust God through “this” or we don’t. There is no middle ground. John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

As a believer, you and I live from a place of victory. We don’t have to strive or work towards victory. We are victorious because of Jesus and the finished work on the cross (Hebrews 4:3).

You will get through this…

Focused Prayer by Laura

In my early adult years, it became obvious to me that I could not pray for all that God had put on my heart at one time.  The Lord led me to divide the focus of my prayer into the days of the week.  This form has been helpful to me over the years as the Lord teaches me to pray and provides a clear focus for each day.

Daily – urgent requests that require daily attention/immediate family
Sunday – church/pastors/ministries/missionaries
Monday – my husband/my calling/supporters-we raise support/1 on 1 discipling
Tuesday – my children/spouses/grandchildren/my home
Wednesday – extended family (relatives)
Thursday – Christian friends
Friday – the world/our nation/leaders/lost friends
Saturday – schedules/upcoming events
Miscellaneous – sermon notes/quotes/”remember and be blessed”
Journal -prayers/thoughts/conversations with the Lord Most High

Ask the Lord and He will guide you to the form that will help you focus your praying life.  You are His child and He initiates prayer with you!  Your communicating – God knows your language – the language of your heart.  Call to Him –He will answer!  Listen as He tells you great and mighty things which you do not know! (Jeremiah 33:3)

This definition of prayer from Henry Blackaby I find very Biblical and life giving.  Just keep in mind that the form you choose to organize your praying life is not nearly as important as the fellowship with the Lord in prayer.

 “Prayer does not give you spiritual power.  Prayer aligns your life with God so that He chooses to demonstrate His power through you.  The purpose of prayer is not to convince God to change your circumstances but to prepare you to be involved in God’s activity.  The fervent prayer of the people at Pentecost did not induce the Holy Spirit to come upon them.  Prayer brought them to a place where they were ready to participate in the mighty work God had already planned.  Prayer had prepared the disciples for their obedient response.  Prayer is designed to adjust you to God’s will, not to adjust God to your will.”
~~Henry Blackaby

Encourage One Another

“Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God.” (1 Samuel 23:16)

I was reading in 1 Samuel 23 recently where David is hiding out in the hill country of Ziph because Saul is continuing to hunt him “day after day” (verse 14). In fact, David gets word that Saul is headed to Ziph to find and kill him (verse 15). The very next verse says, “Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God.”

There are times in our lives when we all need encouragement from a brother or sister in the Lord to continue to stay strong in our faith. Recently, our family has had some struggles—some very difficult and some just not that fun—and there were many days the Lord used dear sisters in the Lord to encourage me to keep my eyes on Jesus. They texted or called me to see how I was doing or to say they were praying for me or a member of my family. Often they would send text messages with scripture in them. What an encouragement this was to me and my family!

The next time someone you know is going through a difficult time or maybe just having a hard day, reach out to them and encourage them to stay strong in the Lord. Maybe they just need a reminder to keep their eyes on Jesus instead of their circumstances.

Breakfast with Jesus by Beth

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’” John 21:12

One of my favorite meals of the day is breakfast. I have a place near my home and work where I love to eat breakfast.  I have eaten breakfast there for years–twenty to be exact.  For ten of those years, I had the same waitress most mornings.

There is a passage in scripture that I have come to love. It’s about Jesus making breakfast for his disciples.  I love the passage in John 21:1-14. Especially verse 12, “Jesus said to them, ‘come and have breakfast.’”

Here is the account of that morning:

After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”


Some things to ponder about this passage that spoke to my heart:

Jesus will meet us where we are — The disciples were fishing. They had not caught anything. “Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you do not have any fish, do you?’ They answered Him, ‘No’”.  Jesus knows what we are going through. What our current circumstances are. Whatever season we are in, Jesus will meet us right there.

He will supply and meet our need — He had breakfast waiting for them!  However, He used some of the fish they caught. “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” He will use what we have! It’s out of His supply that He will meet our needs.

Take a few minutes and thank Jesus for meeting your need in His time and in His way. Look for Him! Expect the unexpected. Jesus can meet your need and my need simultaneously.  Praise Him!

The Coffee Scoop by Laura

“We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Romans 12:5

Have you ever taken time to ponder how God has used His people to impact your life? When I do this, He always brings to mind life-giving, life-changing examples and it leads me right back to Him in thankfulness and praise. This is the beautiful body of Christ in motion. Those redeemed by the precious blood of Christ who live all over the world are part of this amazing family. Paul refers many times in his writings to believers in a familial way. He sees himself as a spiritual father and calls his fellow believers brothers and sisters. I love this!! I so agree with Paul and feel the same about those who have impacted me in the family of God.

One of my “sisters” I would like to tell you about is Sarah. She is many years my senior and is known as a woman of prayer. I met her over 20 years ago, yet her impact on my life continues daily. It’s interesting how simple truths are often sown into our lives through conversations and the Holy Spirit brings great increase from the sweet, life-giving seed of truth. Sarah shared with me a prayer reminder the Lord gave her as she was asking Him to bring her son a mate. She made coffee every morning and used the same measuring scoop. One morning as she was looking at the scoop, she saw it with spiritual eyes. She would begin to pray for her son’s mate every time she scooped her coffee for the morning!

In case you don’t know, I LOVE COFFEE and yes, I make a pot almost every morning. Over all these years, I have followed Sarah’s example, praying for godly mates for our two daughters each time I scoop. God answered my prayers when he brought us Tyler and Austin. These men who love Jesus will love our girls and lead them to the feet of Jesus! Now, my scoop reminds me to pray for godly mates for my grandson, Titus, and others the Lord allows to be born into our family.

This simple prayer reminder from my sister has impacted my life in ways I never would have considered. I shared this with Sarah years ago to encourage her. I want to encourage you as you are in this “praying” life as a child of God and a member of the body of Christ. Let your daily activities lead you to prayer. Ask your Heavenly Father to give you prayer reminders like my coffee scoop. Then share with your brothers and sisters in your spiritual family to encourage them, trusting that the Spirit will produce in them a great spiritual harvest building up the body of Christ.