Devotional: Grace and Hope

Grace is a missionary teacher in South Korea, and she gave me permission to share part of an email she wrote to me today:

“This morning here in South Korea …when I was feeling so keenly that I needed God’s strength to carry me through, I was doing my personal devotions and this verse… Deuteronomy 31:8, was the one that I had read.  It just helped me so much to be reminded that God is going forth ahead of me and I don’t need to be discouraged by anything! It just gave me so much strength that I was refreshed and rejuvenated by this verse….For me, it’s another bold assurance that God is with me and He will not leave me nor fail me.”

I could really appreciate Grace’s experience, because I have been there too.  Maybe you have as well.  Whether it is starting a new year or a new day, sometimes facing our weaknesses and walls can be overwhelming.  But as we are honest with God about our weaknesses and walls, and wait in His presence (especially with His Word), we find that refreshment we need to get up and keep going.

As some of you add another year to your multi-year service, and others finish the last half of your term, what will you focus on?  Your impossibles or the God of the impossible?  As you consider this, remember who you are and where you’ve come from.  What God has already taught you, and where He has brought you.  Remember that you are part of an even bigger story.  You belong to an ancient line of God-followers who have witnessed God raise new life from ashes; send hope from unexpected places and people; topple walls and giants, and defeat powerful enemies.  You may not have faith in your situation or yourself that anything can change, but that is where faith in Jesus begins.  Don’t ignore your problems—see them, feel them, and name them.  But don’t keep staring at them.  Instead, stare at Jesus, who actually has the power to change both you and your circumstances.

I know this is becoming a theme of many of these devotionals, but if there is ever a time to be reminded of where our Hope comes from, it’s at the beginning of a new year.  May you be blessed with His presence as you walk with Him this year, whatever may come your way.

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you.”  Deut. 31:8 (NLT)


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