Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When Morning Gilds The Skies"1 (Lyrics)
John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (ESV)
It was a crisp, luminous winter's day when we ventured out of the city for a drive. Hawks were perched prominently in the treetops. Just outside a barn door stood a huddle of cattle absorbing the sun's warmth. It was a glorious morning, and my spirits were buoyed by the sunshine. Finding ourselves bordering my brother's hometown, I eagerly texted an impromptu coffee invite. His reply surprised me: the previous night, a heavy snow had fallen, and now menacing clouds darkened the sky, so he wouldn't chance the drive. From his vantage point, the weather was unstable, and the fear of a storm held him captive. As we looped along the country roads heading for home, I was saddened to think that threatening skies had foiled an opportunity to enjoy a visit in the sunshine. In reality, the enemy had planted a seed of fear in my brother's heart, causing him to miss out on the blessings that God had prepared for him.
Psalm 42:11 – Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God. (CSB)
There are times when others lead us out of the mire, just as the farmer had led the cattle outside and into the sunshine. The Bible tells us that we are responsible for stirring up our own faith, shaking the dust off our feet, and persevering until we reach the prize. It's hard work being our own cheerleader. When life is a struggle and times are tough, how do we keep ourselves encouraged and retain the stamina and hope to carry us through? God's Word and praise, when used together, help us to maintain a heavenly perspective on our circumstances. Let us begin by remembering that He is the vine and we are the branches. The vine has everything that the branches require to flourish. Our part (what we do) is to stay connected to the vine — our source of life — by reading, hearing, watching, and speaking God's Word. We are instructed to cast all of our cares on Jesus and to trust Him to provide for all our needs. We need to read the Bible and feed our inner self with His Word. We search for Scriptures that address the problems, and then praise God for the answers. The more Word that gets down into our hearts, the better equipped that we become at handling all that comes against us. We are called to persevere, because breakthroughs and blessings could be waiting around the next corner.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we lift our hearts in praise and thanksgiving for sending Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us so that we are never alone in this world. Thank You for leaving us Your living Word, contained within the Bible, as a daily source of nourishment, guidance, strength, and encouragement. Thank You for allowing us to stay connected to You through prayer. Use our trials to teach us perseverance and reliance on You. We cast down every negative thought and shake off our discouragement by resting in Your love and rejoicing in You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.