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DEVOTIONS

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Today’s Truth

“I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” (Genesis 17:1)

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I was exhausted. I was drenched in sweat. I was filled with inexplicable joy–a joy I had never known. It was the day Steven Hugh Jaynes, Jr. emerged from the pocket of my womb and made his grand debut into the world.


When my son was born, I never knew so much love could be wrapped in one tiny package. After twenty-three-and-a-half hours of pushing and pulling, heaving and hoeing, he finally decided to leave his comfy sauna and face the bright lights of the delivery room. As soon as the umbilical cord was severed, the nurses whisked him away to make sure ten fingers and toes were accounted for, wrap him in a cozy blanket, and place a

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Today’s Truth

Before I made you in your mother's womb, I chose you (Jeremiah 1:5, NCV).

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Beginnings are very important. In fact, the place of origin has much to do with the quality of the journey as well as the final destination. My journey – like yours – began in the heart and mind of God. Before I took even one breath, God loved and planned me. That same truth applies to you. You are neither an accident nor a mistake. You and I were created in response to the love and plan of God.


The power of Jeremiah 1:5 has changed my life!


Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you (Jeremiah 1:5, NCV).


God Himself supervised our formation. Wow! That just rocks my world. Think about that truth for a moment. We

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Today’s Truth

But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck” (Genesis 27:38–40 NLT, emphasis added).

Friend to Friend


I was really upset with her. I don’t need to tell you the details because I want you to fill in the blanks yourself. I was really mad at _______ for ________. I’m not worried about you not having anything to put in those blanks because you’re human. We’ve all been really irked at someone for hurting our feelings, hampering our plans or a whole lot worse.


We’ve talked about Jacob in our devotion times together before, but what about poor Esau. His baby brother stole his birthright and his inheritance…that was a lot more than hurting his feelings. But let’s look back at the story from Esau’s point of view because sometimes we have to look backward in

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Today’s Truth

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).

Friend to Friend


Have you ever felt left out?


I remember, as a kid, sitting on the curb at recess while the other girls in my class jumped rope. I sat alone. I stared at them. Inside, I knew where I stood with these girls. I wasn’t welcome. I had tried to join their club before; it didn’t work out so well.


Recently, I felt like that little girl on the curb again. It happened when a group of women laughed. They simply shared an inside-joke that I didn’t understand and, yet again, I felt left-out. I got triggered. I called the women “clique-ish” in my head and I hated their actions.


Yet, when I got home, I believe God prompted a thought. It

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Today’s Truth

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, ESV).

Friend to Friend


I became a watering girl that summer.


Not because my black thumb suddenly turned green, but because my husband had ordered a heap of mulch and I was determined to not have a lame bare patch in the landscaped section of the house. No sir-eee! Mulch should be the accessory, not the main feature. My opinion.


So, in response to the mulch mountain, I drove my spontaneous little self to the gardening store and bought us some new bushes, a few flowers, and a tree. And I quickly learned that once all of said planty-purchases were in the ground, they required… gasp… maintaining so they could take root.


Totally cool, I thought as I strapped on my big girl panties. I

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Today’s Truth

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat (Mark 6:31, NKJ).

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If I had a warning sign on my forehead, it might have flashed these messages:


Fresh out. Give me room, people. Nothing more to give.


There were a lot of needs and I was juggling. I was tired and cranky, but I kept on going—until one day I realized it’s almost impossible to give anything good out of an empty well.


Maybe, like I once did, you ignore those signs too. You may even consider yourself strong. After all, you don’t let anything stop you. At least, until you can’t take one more step.


In today’s verse, we find Jesus and the disciples after a busy and successful time of ministry. He recognized their fatigue and also their human need for food

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Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3–4, NIV emphasis added).

Friend to Friend


Chris, one of my friends, was in a seminary class when someone raised his hand and asked the professor: What is your best advice on how to be a good pastor?”


“Empathy,” the professor replied. “Have empathy.”


Then Chris raised his hand. “How do you get empathy?


With a trace of sad knowing in his eyes, the wise older man replied, “Suffer.”


Chris now understood. Empathy isn’t something you learn; empathy is something you live.


One of the greatest ways God puts to use what he puts us through is by creating in us a deeper sense of compassion than we would have ever known without the trauma. The word compassion is derived from the Latin words pati and cum, meaning “to suffer

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Today’s Truth

She works with eager hands (Proverbs 31:13, NIV).

Friend to Friend


I have had many jobs over the years. I started babysitting when I was twelve years old. In high school, I worked in a clothing store, as an aid for my choral director, and as a recruiter for an employment agency. In college, I was a secretary for the president of our social science honors program and often gave tours to visiting dignitaries. Some jobs I liked more than others but working in an insurance office when my husband attended seminary was one of my least favorite jobs.


I soon discovered that I was not alone in my lack of enthusiasm as I read the following note posted on the office bulletin board:


“If you don’t believe in the resurrection

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Today’s Truth

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV). ‬‬‬‬

Friend to Friend


When my children were young, most mornings I walked them across the street to our local neighborhood park. Sometimes we returned in the afternoon for one more push on the swing. With a preschooler, a toddler, and a baby in diapers I had my hands full. Though I had a flip phone shoved into my overloaded diaper bag, I never heard it ring. It was a point of contention in our marriage. “Why do you even have a phone?” my husband asked. “You never answer it.” The simple answer was that I didn’t have a free hand. And I didn’t keep it in my pocket because I didn’t want to be distracted. The needs around me were too

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Today’s Truth

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV).

Friend to Friend


My friend Brad has a daughter named Elizabeth. When Elizabeth was one year old, Brad and his wife taught her some sign language. For the word please, they chose to have her rub her chest. So, as Brad and Jamie taught Elizabeth to say please, they rubbed their own chests and said “please.” Simple enough.


Elizabeth had a favorite toy. It’s a plastic knobby toy that holds colorful rings. You know the one with the yellow pole and white base that, without the rings, loosely resembles a trumpet. (C’mon, use your imagination!) So, being the fun, creative parents that Brad and Jamie are, they’d often dump off the rings and playfully hold up Elizabeth’s toy and make a trumpet

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8