Joy in the Journey

For this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10 (KJV)

If we had to depend on just our own strength, where would we be? If we had to travel our lives alone, where would we end up? We see it everyday in people all around us – shallow lives, lonely passages, fear and weakness hover beneath smiling facades, but we escape this fate by the grace of God.

By His Spirit, He fills us with His strength, His courage, and His comfort to overcome everything that would discourage, derail or destroy us. Be strong through the Lord and rejoice!

Prayer StarterI resolve to meet this day with gladness, to glory in You. Whatever circumstance comes my way, I will rejoice and be glad for You are my strength and my source of joy.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One 2019
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He Knows My Name

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. – Isaiah 43:1b

We know His name, but more importantly, He knows ours.

There is nothing we can hide from God, not our thoughts, our finances, our intentions or our fears. He has already paid the price for our mistakes, our secrets and our failures, He has “got our number” and He owns us.

Yet far from a malevolent Master, He remains a generous benefactor. He knows our needs, He will provide, He knows our names and He will not let us down.

Prayer Starter Almighty God, how humbled I am that You care to know me and still love me as I am.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One 2019
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The Name of Jesus

And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God. The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” – John 1:34-36

“The Lamb of God,” “The Alpha and Omega,” “The Way,” “Emmanuel – God With Us” are just a few of the names used to identify Jesus Christ as the one and only Son of God, Savior and Messiah.

More than identifying Him, these kinds of words describe Him such that we can begin to understand all that He is to us. As the Lamb, He is our sacrificial redemption. As The Way, He is the journey mapped out for our happiness and success. As Emmanuel, we know that we will never be alone. He was born to be one of us, and walk with us, to suffer and cry and rejoice and laugh with us, as Son, Brother and Friend.

We may call on Him by many names, but we know Him by His love.

Prayer Starter As I pray today, I meditate on Your names and they way each is manifest in y life: Emmanuel…Lamb of God…Father…Bright and Morning Star…

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One 2019
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Set Free

Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. – Acts 16:33-34

This jailer met most unusual prisoners. In his short time with Paul and Silas, he came to understand that it was he who was imprisoned – not them. While no doubt he had heard many under his lock and key, complain that they were jailed unjustly; likely none had opened their mouths to pray and sing praises in his keep. For no others, in his experience, had the Hand of God moved to set men free. None would have stayed with their way out so assured, to protect the life of their captor, who would have forfeit his life in payment for their escape.

The jailer kept to his employer’s charge, holding the men safely under his care and bringing them into his home, but in the end, he found a new Master that would keep him and his whole family safe in HIS care and HIS home. The jailer left his prison in chaos and brought his house into order. He may have gone back to work, but not to jail, for he was set free indeed.

Prayer Starter What in my life, have I let imprison me? What is holding me back from being completely available to Your service. Set me free and set me loose on Your mission to my world.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One 2019
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Missed Miracles

Pilate and Herod who were enemies before, became friends from that day… – Luke 23:12

When Jesus stood before Herod, he demanded that Jesus perform miracles, to which Jesus made no reply. Herod was disappointed as he then sent Jesus to Pilate. But at the end of the story, the scripture records that “Pilate and Herod who were enemies before, became friends from that day…”

It is much harder to convert an enemy into a friend than to turn water into wine. Herod got his miracle – but he didn’t see it. Don’t miss the miracles in your life!

Prayer StarterPowerful and Gracious God, open my eyes to Your miracles around me everyday, both large and small. Help me recognize You in happenings that are not just coincidences, but Divine interventions.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One 2019
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Serve Others

…but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. – Hosea 11:3-4

Christians are sometimes accused of being so “heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good.” Just as Jesus came to serve human kind, He commissioned us to serve each other – at home and in places far away.

When Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem that day – many had no idea who He really was – but He went anyway, all the way to Calvary. Many times, those we serve around the neighborhood or on the mission field, may not understand that we come in the name of Jesus Christ, but we go anyway. We must meet them where they are, in love and kindness, not with a new yoke to burden them.

It is up to us to express God’s merciful heart through our actions toward those that don’t know Him.

Prayer Starter Lord, let me be a friend and a blessing to those who need you, reminding me of how much I need you as well.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One 2019
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The Second Sunday of Lent – Humility

Jesus called a little child to Him and put the child among them. Then He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. – Matthew 18:2-4

It is a great paradox in Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory, that “the first shall be last,” and that the greatest among us must be the servant of all. In His time, Jesus’ teachings turned the world upside down, and we still struggle today with how simple childlike faith and submission can lead us to a place in the Father’s eternal arms.

Through fasting, prayer and obedience beyond our will, we shed our grown up pride and power, and learn the true meaning of His gift of grace.

Prayer Starter – Help me, dear Father, to learn how to empty myself of vain desires, of ego and self indulgence in order to be filled with more of You, by You and for You.

Delve Deeper – Try fasting. Fasting is a practice of personal devotion to God. How we fast is never as important as why. Whether we forego one meal a day, one kind of food, or adopt any of the many other techniques of fasting, it is only the intent of our heart, not our stomach, that makes it acceptable to God. It is not how gaunt, but how grateful, we look to others that impresses our Father – not how hungry, but how humble.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One 2019
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The Cross

God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ… – Galatians 6:14

The cross is a constant reminder that we are helpless to save our own souls. It was Christ who died and rose again to put eternal hope within reach of all.

Prayer StarterSuch a simple thought. Such a profound truth. As I meditate on this symbol throughout the centuries, help me find in it, a new facet of your love for me.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One 2019
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Retreat

That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity. Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit. – Luke 4:13-14 (MSG)

Luke’s description of the temptation story ends like this – “The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity” – he never gives up. But the very next line reads, “Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit.

Being tested and tormented for 40 days, physically, emotionally and spiritually, He not only survived, but emerged with greater power than before. Satan could do nothing but retreat. As metal is made stronger in the fiery forge, so we are made stronger in the Spirit by our trials. Unlike Jesus, we don’t have to go it alone – He is with us!

Prayer Starter – You are with me in my time of need and even when I don’t realize I am in need. When You send my tempter into retreat, fill me with Your power to go on.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One 2019
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Tackling Temptation

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time. – Luke 4:13

The opportune moment is the one when temptation hits us hardest. It comes when we least expect it, are most unprepared for it, and at our weakest. The allure of all we desire so often comes wrapped in deception and stealth, so quiet we don’t hear its voice or recognize its dangers. Our greatest temptations are not always the most obvious, inherently valuable or clearly definable, but those which make their secret home within us, lying in wait for the opportunity to boost our fragile spot or pamper our pleasure point.

Fortunately, this also provides us a way to fend off temptation by allowing time to strengthen our defenses, to do a daily room to room sweep of all our hidden closets and to become more sensitive to its slightest vibration. As we are less and less susceptible to its tricks, there will be fewer and fewer opportune moments and the Tempter will just have to walk away- – again.

Prayer Starter I sweep my closets clean today and give no quarter to the temptations that would hide, hurt or hinder me from walking closer to you.

  • Sue Breland, worship for One 2019
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