Devotionals

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©2018 Clementine Msengi

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” –-Mark 1: 35-37

Title: Finding a Peaceful Time and Place with God

One morning I woke up energetic and jumped right into my routine, which includes getting the kids ready for school, responding to my many emails, and organizing my daily work and family tasks. I was well prepared for an important afternoon meeting. I completed my morning responsibilities as planned, and my afternoon meeting went smoothly. I felt proud of my organization and ability to plan and carry out my multiple roles as a mother, wife, and a full-time professor.

As I left the meeting on my way home, I saw a black Chevrolet Silverado coming rapidly towards me. Suddenly, I heard a loud, deafening crash. The other driver had missed a stop sign and side-swiped me. My car careened, and I ended up on the opposite side of the street, facing traffic. In the chaos of the accident, I panicked and called out, “Jesus, please Jesus!”

Two ladies rushed to my crushed car exclaiming, “Please, God, help her! Call the ambulance! Is she breathing?”

Thankfully, I was still breathing.

Sometimes, we run from one task to another, some important, others, not so important. I had focused my mind and activities on a list of tasks that day. But I had missed my most important priority.

Are we too busy to find a quiet place in our day to pray? Do we meet with God after our other  tasks have been accomplished, or does our time with Him come first? Are we distracted to the point that we do not set aside private time to talk with God?

In this fast-paced world, do you find private time to listen to what God wants to teach you?

I thank God that He is there for us in times of need. He responds when we call upon His name because He cares for us, and He comforts us when we are in trouble.

Today’s Prayer: “Dear God, please teach us to pray, and open ours eyes to see clearly that You alone are the foundation of lives. May we cherish quiet, private time with You so we can hear Your voice and grow closer to You. Amen”

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©2018 Clementine Msengi 

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
1 Corinthians 14:33

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 34:8

Dealing with Uncertainty

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt stuck? Perhaps you wanted to make a decision but were unsure what to do. Many circumstances in life can cause worry and uncertainty: family and friends, uncertain health, job changes, relationships, school pressures, business challenges, safety, security and other daily factors in life. We may worry because we are forced to choose between several options, and we fear making a bad decision. This fear can often leave us trapped in a place of uncertainty.

The good news is that we don’t need to live our lives stumbling in confusion and indecisiveness. The Bible tells us that we can experience clarity and find peace because our God is not a God of confusion, but a God of peace. I have often been in situations where I wished I could look into the future and be assured that my decisions would lead me into green pastures. At times I have asked God, “Please make this situation clear to me, and give me peace about this decision.”

While I did not hear a loud voice from God, He did speak to me through His Word, through His people, and even through dreams. He has also showed Himself to me in the beauty of nature and in gospel songs. God also spoke to my uncertainty by closing doors of opportunity and limiting my choices.

Today, let’s ask God to reveal Himself to us throughout our day and speak to us through His Word. May we taste His goodness and find our refuge in His presence.

Today’s Prayer: “Dear God, please guide me today and remove all confusion and other stumbling blocks that prevent me from feeling Your presence, hearing Your voice, and celebrating Your goodness in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

How do you deal with uncertainty?

How have you felt or experienced God’s assurance and peace in your life?

Share a time in your life where you felt stuck or overwhelmed with confusion, but things were made clear to you later.

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Surrendering our plans and burdens to the Lord

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

-Proverb 16: 9 – NIV

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength

-Isaiah 30:15 – NIV

I was recently in a position where I had to make a big a decision regarding a personal situation. I quickly began gathering ideas, possible solutions, and resources that could help me make my decision. I knew I had enough knowledge to make an appropriate decision, and I had briefly prayed for clear direction on how to implement a solution that would yield the best results. However, as I began to put my plan into action, I soon faced predicaments, rocky roads, and bleak days.  

 My situation felt like a puzzle. Every time I tried to put a piece of my plan in placed, it refused to fit or work out the way I wanted it to. The more I tried to solve the puzzle in my own power, the more missing pieces I discovered. I became tired, frustrated, sad, and weary. The plan I had researched and implemented was failing.

After a period of trial-and-error, I surrendered my plans to the Lord. I stilled my heard, remained calm, prayed diligently about my circumstances, and waited on the Lord. By His grace and mercy, the Lord provided an answer—His answer, and I felt a complete peace. Pieces of the puzzle suddenly began to slide into place. Over the course of two years, I watched God bring together details in a completely different way than I had planned, and as I stood back and trusted, I realized I could not have asked for a better outcome than what He provided.

Isaiah 30:15 reminds us that our prayer relationship with God is not like a candy machine. We cannot expect to put prayer coins in and expect our requests to fall our like candy. Instead, prayer is more like a flower. We plant a seed, tend it, and wait patiently for results.

Waiting on God can be difficult, however, it is not until we learn to surrender to His will and guidance that we find peace. 

Today’s Prayer: “Dear God, please teach us to surrender our plans and burdens to yYou and to wait patiently in Your divine intervention and timing in our lives. Amen.”

What about you?

What plans do you have for your life today?

How do you feel when things don’t fall in place the way you planned?

How do you react when answers to your prayers don’t come in the exact time and way you hoped?


What Should What Should We Do?

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-Acts 2: 37 (NIV)

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”Title: What Should We Do?

In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. Psalm 86:7.”  

Most of us face times where we go through changes and or face difficulty decisions.  Perhaps we face illness, loss of a job, haters and sabotage, difficult tasks, relationship problems, financial difficulties, insecurities, and other circumstantial and man-made challenges. In such instances, we must make decisions about how to move forward. Sometimes we know exactly what to do, how to it, who will support us, and what kinds of results we should expect. However, at other times the final results are not clear. In these situations we ask questions: “What should I do? Who should I ask for guidance? Where should I start? How will I get out of this situation? Should I quit or keep going?

I vividly recall a day when I was barely twenty when I was faced with challenging questions. Political instability had fractured my native country of Rwanda, and genocide was sweeping through our nation. As I fled into hiding, three muscular men stopped me. They were members of the tribe that had declared war on my family’s tribe. They recognized me and threatened my life. They eventually released me, shouting threats that I would be slaughtered before I made it to my destination.

Fearful and confused, I cried out to God. “Lord, What should I do? Should I keep going? Should I turn right, left, north, or south? Should I go forward or return back where I came from?”

In times of fear and confusion, we often feel trapped, and our options seem limited. We ask ourselves questions and experience anger, frustration, fear, confusion, blame, and guilt as and our minds run in multiple directions in search for reassuring answers. In such situations, turning to God for guidance is our only source of peace.

In Psalm 86:7, God’s Word reminds us to call upon the Lord in times of trouble. We can always approach God and ask, “What should I do? Where should I turn?” When we call upon God in the day of trouble, He promises to answer.        

Today’s Prayer: “Dear God, You‘re my Shepherd who leads me in green pastures.  Please show me the way. Give me wisdom when I’m confused. Oversee my decisions today, God, and grant me the peace that only You can give. Amen.”

Questions

Describe an event in your life when you faced difficult decisions and had little direction or resources to help you make a clear choice.

How did you feel in that situation?

 What steps did you take? Looking back, do you think you should have done anything differently?

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