How God Speaks To Us Through Daily Devotions

Daily Devotions

How God Speaks To Us Through Daily Devotions

Have you ever wished you could pick up the phone, give God a call, and ask him the pressing questions in your mind or just have a chat about life? As you read the Old Testament, have you wondered why God doesn’t speak to us as he did to Adam and Eve, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and others? In this modern world, we may not audibly hear God’s voice, but nevertheless, He does speak to us in many ways.

Daily Devotional Reading

I have been practicing daily devotional reading since high school.  I received a devotional book for teens and I was hooked.  Currently, I read two daily devotionals: The Upper Room, which is offered in a print and 0n-line version, 40 Powerful Spiritual Phrases That Can Change The Quality of Your Life and Guideposts, a beautiful hard-covered book that is published yearly.  I prefer to do my devotional readings in the morning, it helps me start my day out right.

There are many reasons I love daily devotional readings,  however, what has become most significant about my daily readings, is how they seem to speak to me as if God himself were whispering in my ear.

When I read the scripture verses with the daily passages or the stories shared, I feel connected to God and other believers across the world. Not only have the scripture readings spoke directly to my own situation, I’ve also been prompted to share certain verses with friends.  They have thanked me and have commented that it was exactly what they needed to hear that day.

Speaking To Me

One of the most poignant memories I have of daily devotionals applying to my life was nine years ago. We were an ocean away from home in a foreign land. It was the morning we were to meet our adopted daughter for the first time.  I was beyond nervous and anxious, there were still so many unknowns and fear was trying to get the better of me.  The scripture reading for the devotion that day was from James 1:27

 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Wow! Talk about a voice from God. I immediately felt peace wash over me and knew that no matter what, God was with me and all would be okay.

Finding Peace and Comfort From Scripture

A more recent example was just last week.  My Mom had a very important doctor appointment that would determine if she was able to proceed with a scheduled surgery.  Since early spring, she has been in a lot a pain and this surgery could be life-changing for her.  I was filled with anxiety and uncertainty about the day as I opened my Bible that morning to the suggested scripture reading.  As I turned to Psalm 27:1-3, I saw brackets around these verses and the words “Mom” next to them.

When my oldest was confirmed, I asked each member of the family to share their favorite Bible verse. I compiled them into a book for her.  It was so interesting to see what verses were special to each member of my family.  Psalm 27: 1-3 was shared by my Mom and I wanted to remember it so I had marked it in my Bible.

That was over five years ago and here those verses were comforting me, as well as Mom, on the morning of this big appointment.  Does God speak to us? I think so!

Psalm 27:1-3

1The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

2When the wicked advance against me
    to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

I smiled to myself as I saw her name written in my Bible.  I read the above words and I felt the peace and comfort that only God can provide.  Praise God!  Her appointment went well and she was cleared for surgery. More importantly, we knew that whatever the outcome, the Lord was with us every step of the way. He was guiding us through the uncertainty and fear through His loving words.

Give It a Try!

Through the years, there have been many more times I have felt that God was speaking directly to me through my daily devotions.  If this is not something that has been a part of your daily routine, I urge you to give it a try. It can take as little as five minutes and is a positive way to start the day!

I would love to hear from you in the comments below.  Do you practice daily devotional reading? Do you ever feel as if God speaks to you through the scripture reading of the day? What are some of your favorite devotionals?

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Exciting News Coming This Week!

We have some exciting news to share this week. It has been a almost a year since you’ve heard from us!  Our big plans took little longer than we originally thought.  My oldest daughter graduated from high school last year and I wanted to enjoy every last moment with her home so our plans got put aside for a while.  I don’t regret it, the year was so special and filled with so many precious memories.  It went by in a flash!

Graduation Day!

Graduation Family Photo

She is off to college, now I have more time on my hands.  We have our new project ready to share with you!  Stay tuned for the launch of this exciting new adventure Jules and I have been working on.  The big reveal will be this Wednesday!

Blessings,

Jen

Summer Is Coming!

Greetings faithful followers!

We’ve had enough warm weather to start me thinking about some of my favorite summer trips. One of our “must do” trips every year is Mackinaw Island. It has a little bit of everything! Bridges and birds, flowers and butterfly’s, boats and bikes, carriage rides and stables, beautiful churches and scenery. I’ve put together a couple of collages to share some of our excursions to Mackinaw. (The beautiful model is my oldest grandaughter!)

 

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Mackinaw collage 2

I hope that if you haven’t had a chance to visit this Michigan treasure, to think about scheduling a trip this summer!

On another note, this will be the last post on Sweet and Simple Inspirations for awhile. Jen and I are working on another project that will be fun and exciting and we will tell you all about it when we return. So don’t give up on us and stay tuned while we are under a bit of construction!

under constructionSee you all soon!

Jules and Jen

Important Life Lessons Before College

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Hi everyone! For those in Michigan-what is up with these warmer temperatures!  I’m not going to question it, I’m just thankful for each day we don’t have to battle freezing temperatures, ice and snow!  Also, where did January go?  Usually it just drags by, but this year it has flown!  I’m not sure why, but I think it might have to do with the fact that time is racing too quickly as we prepare for our oldest to graduate from high school in June!

So I have had this panicky feeling over the past few months of trying to think of everything I need to teach her before she leaves the nest!  Now we have had 17 years to try to impart wisdom and knowledge to her but I’ve realized over the past couple of months that some things may have been overlooked.  Some of the basics she has been doing for a while-she does her own laundry, makes a mean bowl of mac and cheese and is driving herself to school and work.  However, I find myself randomly quizzing her on things: Do you know how to address and stamp a letter, write a check, make a dentist appointment and so on.  I’ve been teaching her about stranger danger since she was a toddler but I had a feeling of pure fear picturing her walking home from a college class at night!

When I step back and take a breath, I realize she will be okay.  We have taught her some of the most important things: love God, be thankful, love family, have a heart for service, treat others the way you want to be treated, work hard, and find some time for fun.   As she gets ready to transition into adulthood and test her wings out in the big world, I know she will have many more lessons to learn.  But as in everything, I have learned to give it all to God, she is His beloved child and I know He is with her each step of the way.

…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:20

So how about you veteran parents out there that have sent your babies off to college?  What should be on my list of things to know before you leave the nest?  I welcome your ideas in the comments!

~Blessings

Jen

Living In The Gap

“Living In The Gap”-This is a phrase Jules uses for those times when you are living in that place of uncertainty and unknowns, of silence in answer to prayers. It is a place where there are more questions than answers and  life may seem unfair.  It is while living in this place that I drew closer to God, learned to trust in His promises and plan for my life and began to understand that silence to my prayers doesn’t always mean no, it might mean-not yet.

Seven years ago on January 13th, we brought home this lively, spunky, loving child from across the world and our lives were forever changed.  Had my prayers for a second baby been answered, we would have never known this precious gift and I could not imagine our lives without her!

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You see as I had been praying for another child, our sweet Little One was not even born yet.  God had plans for our life, but we had to wait for His timing.  That period of waiting for an answer was one of the hardest in my life.  Living in that gap of wondering if we would ever have a second child was challenging.  Every day I had to focus on the blessings in my life- a loving husband, a beautiful healthy daughter, family, friends and good health, as I waited and wondered if our little family of three would expand.  I clung to God and had to give up control to Him and learn to trust in His plan for the situation.  He eventually led us to Russia where we found the missing piece to our family, to our hearts.  The wait was worth it a million times over! God’s perfect, perfect timing.

So if you find yourself “Living In the Gap”, hold on, trust in God and His plan for you!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

This verse got me through some difficult and challenging days.  I hope it brings you comfort too.

~Blessings,

Jen

Snapshot Moments

Life has been moving at breakneck speed around our house since the beginning of September, especially for Eldest. In addition to her twenty plus hour a week competitive marching band schedule and a very challenging course load at school, she has been working on early admissions to colleges.   Some days I feel as if I’m barely keeping all of our heads above water with the day-to-day demands of life.

The other night I was feeling like the day would never end. It had been a long day of work, after-school activities, homework, dinner prep and clean up, lunch making and laundry and I just wanted to sit down when Eldest let us know that we would be needed for proofing her college application essays. The Mister and I exchanged glances and knew that there would be no relaxing on the sofa catching up on our favorite TV shows that evening or probably for the next few nights.

Friends have told me how busy senior year is and that it is over in the blink of an eye and I am beginning to understand what they were talking about. The past two months have disappeared like a vapor and I have hardly had a chance to catch my breath between activities. Back to school nights, school conferences, Homecoming, band performances and more have flown by!

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Last Marching Band Performance at a Football Game

So as we all gathered in the living room together, pouring over her college essays, I realized we had spent more time with Eldest this week working with her on these college applications than we had in a long time. I started getting emotional thinking about the fact that a year from now, she would be gone. In the midst of my weariness and feelings of being overwhelmed with life, I found myself feeling so happy and content in that moment. It was just an ordinary weeknight at home together, but I would cherish the memory of this night. Staring at Eldest, her youth and the excitement of so many wonderful opportunities ahead of her in life, yet still always my little girl, my heart was happy, yet melancholy. I said a silent prayer of thanks to God for the gift of this child no longer a child but a young woman.

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All grown up!

I tried to remember the words of my older, wiser sister Jules who said, don’t be sad when they leave because they come back and give you grand babies one day! I see Jules enjoying that stage of life and realize this isn’t the end, only the beginning of a wonderful life of many “snapshot moments”, these tiny snippets of time with our loved ones that we hold on to and cherish all of our days.

I’m happy to say all college applications were completed this weekend, now we can all breathe and relax a little-oh wait, now I need to start birthday shopping and planning for Little One’s December birthday and Christmas! It’ll be okay; we are just collecting more “snapshot moments” for the memory books!

I wish you a great week and some special “snapshot moments”.

~Blessings,

Jen