We hope these devotions bring hope and cultivate spiritual growth for you and your loved ones so that you can flourish in this season of renewal.
Spring is known for rejuvenation and rebirth causing plants and animals alike to “spring forward.” We hope these devotions bring hope and cultivate spiritual growth for you and your loved ones so that you can flourish in this season of renewal.
1 of 13/ Put Spring in Your Spirit
by Erin Keeley Marshall
“Sing to God a brand-new song, sing his praises all over the world! Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause, with all the far-flung islands joining in. Let the desert and its camps raise a tune, calling the Kedar nomads to join in. Let the villagers in Sela round up a choir and perform from the tops of the mountains. Make God’s glory resound; echo his praises from coast to coast.” Isaiah 42:10 (MSG)
SPRING, SPRING, SPRING! Can you smell the fresh breeze through my open window? Ahhh!
I love the freshness of spring each year. I walk taller, feel healthier, enjoy more color in my face and a boost in my energy. Everything about spring breathes of life and newness. I love seeing green fields with baby calves reaching up for a drink from Mama.
My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2–4 (NRSV)
In John 16:33 Jesus made a promise to His followers: “Here on this earth, you will have many trials and sorrows” (NLT). I can understand that, since this world is opposed to Jesus and all He stands for. But I’ve always had a hard time understanding how I’m supposed to count those trials and sorrows as joy. I do want my faith to become “mature and complete,” but still—joy? Then I heard a story from a friend that changed my perspective on trials.
“As long as the earth exists, seedtime and harvest, cold and hot, summer and autumn, day and night will not cease.” Genesis 8:22 (CEB)
The day the first seed catalog of the year arrived in the mail, it was twenty below zero with a biting wind chill. My first thought was, That’s just cruel. Pulling my wool sweater tighter around me, I stared out at the snow-covered ground, the garden stiff and lifeless. The seed catalog cover made me sigh. It would be many months before I’d see color like that in my garden.
The season of hibernation, not the season of growth. Too many gray days made me resistant to the joy-potential the seed catalog held.
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life. John 4:14 (NLT)
For the gazillionth time that hour I wiped sweat from the back of my neck. One hundred degrees. What a day for the zoo! Even the water buffalo looked dehydrated, though they lounged in shallow, stagnant ponds.
I reached for my water bottle once again, only to be disappointed that it was empty… again. Feeling desperate and utterly worn out, I scanned the map for the nearest snack station. All my present hopes focused on finding a way to quench my thirst and revive my spirit. We certainly know what it’s like to be thirsty without a drink handy.
The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Isaiah 58:11 (NLT)
For years I had dreamed about lush flower gardens, and even filled a notebook with pictures of beautiful flowers and various styles of gardens. Each time I found a new idea online or in a garden magazine, I’d show my husband. I knew gardening was my passion, not his, so I tried to be careful not to pressure him. I never thought my dreams would become reality.
But a few years ago he actually suggested we draw up some ideas for a perennial garden.
From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see His invisible qualities— His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. Romans 1:20 (NLT)
Last summer my family took a 2,000-mile road trip from our home in Arkansas to visit family in Montana. There isn’t much to see along the way. There are few large cities on this path. Small towns dot the landscape. There are rolling hills and sprawling prairies.
Mostly there is sky—lots of sky. And, amazingly, it’s the sky that we still talk about most. There were lightning storms that danced and flashed in Wyoming.
And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Mark 4:20 (NLT)
So often, reading this parable or hearing it taught as I grew up in the church, the focus was on the harvest. This verse is rightfully linked with Jesus’ words in John 4:35, which says the fields are ripe for harvest.
In the church I grew up in, this harvest, ripe for the picking, has to do with winning converts to the faith. Since it came after Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman and the subsequent conversion of many in her town, that makes sense. But so often we think, What do I have to do to get busy harvesting?
8 of 13/ Spiritual Benefits of the Prayer Labyrinth
by Heidi Gaul
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:6 (NIV)
Until recently, I knew little of prayer labyrinths. Unlike mazes, they don’t offer choices along the trail. The only decision you make is to enter, trusting the path will lead you closer to God. The footpath represents the complexities of faith as we face life’s trials. It should be walked slowly, praying with every step.
Walkers might leave with a sense of God’s will, or a word or phrase clear in their minds. At first, I questioned the spirituality of this practice, but worshipping Christ is a good thing.
After saying this, He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ He told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means ‘Sent’). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.” John 9:6–7
Every spring when I prepare my garden, I think about dirt. As I turn my raised beds, rich, loamy compost feeds my soil. But there are many other textures of dirt: heavy clay, grit that rubs between the toes, mud that clings to everything.
You’d think the Holy God of the universe would like things sterile, pristine. But He got His hands dirty when He formed Adam from the dust of the ground. When the pharisees were about to stone a woman, Jesus wrote on the ground with His finger. He washed grit from His disciples’ feet.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
This past year yanked the joy out of me. But I like joy and laughter and hope better than crankiness and irritability. What would it take for me to wake up and feel a sense of expectation of what the day holds instead of dread at the thought of what is required of me? What would it take to turn my heart inside out, empty it of the sadness, and fill it with hope?
I know that some of my sadness comes from losing a dear friend recently.
O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. Psalm 139:1 (NLT)
I have been completely color-blind since birth, so I see the world like a black-and-white movie. Attending a class at church about using coloring to deepen my prayer life might seem like an odd choice for me. But when I saw the blurb for Colorful Prayer, I knew I needed to sign up. It sounded like fun, and I had labeled pencils. I appreciated anything that could allow me to weave creativity into my time with Jesus.
“This isn’t about artistic ability, and it isn’t about the colors,” the instructors assured us. “It’s about meditating on a Scripture and letting the picture flow from that.”
[Jesus said], When evening comes, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,” and in the morning, “Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.” You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. Matthew 16:2–3 (NIV)
When I am in nature, I often hear Jesus reminding me: “The answers to your questions are right here. Open your eyes to the truth and beauty unfolding all around you. I’m communicating with you through all creation!” Just the other day, I was on a hike up a mountain, and I brought my troubles with me. In my mind, I was replaying an argument I had had with my husband and was feeling frustrated.
Restore your sense of calm and prepare your heart for prayer with 60 Days of Prayer.
Our daily devotional magazine is filled with reflections and prayers that will fill your soul and quiet your mind. With each issue, you’ll be inspired to set aside a few minutes each day to create positive change through prayer and experience God’s grace in amazing new ways.