Center of Hope Devotion – July 14, 2020

Dear Friends,

READ PROVERBS 1:1 THROUGH 4:27

When Estelle heard negative talk about her new supervisor, she felt disappointed. However, she didn’t join the group of disgruntled people who left the company or discussed the matter quietly in the restrooms. Instead, she went to the supervisor to find out the truth. She learned the story she had heard was skewed in an unkind direction that made the new boss look bad. Later the supervisor remembered her fair-mindedness and made plans to recommend her for a leadership position.

Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips (Proverbs 4:24).

Christians are commanded repeatedly in Scripture to keep tight reigns on their tongues. A deceitful tongue is like a sharpened razor (Psalm 52:2), and “cruel words are like deadly arrows” (Psalm 64:3). “The tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18), and with the tongue believers can sing of God’s righteousness (Psalm 51:14).

God’s Word gives clear directions about both the dangers and the blessings that can come from people’s words. With such a critical choice before them, Christians need to choose their words wisely.

Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help my words bless You and encourage others.

Center of Hope Devotion – July 13, 2020

Dear Friends,

READ PSALMS 143:1 THROUGH 150:6

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land (Psalm 143:5–6).

“When I was in college,” Sally told her grown daughter, “we had a spiritual emphasis week, and the whole campus changed. We sang for joy as we went to meals. Classes were dismissed because we were in the chapel sharing the things God had done in our hearts. And at camp meeting that summer, the Holy Spirit came upon us again. I haven’t seen another revival like that.”

Her daughter sighed. “I’ve never experienced that, but I’d like to.”

Many Christians today hunger for revival. Your past experiences in God’s presence should drive you to thirst for even more. The past creates a longing for more.

Like the Psalmist spread out his hands in prayer, when you pray for revival God will send streams into the parched land.

Prayer Suggestion: Father, send me such a hunger for You that I won’t stop praying until revival comes.

Center of Hope Devotion – July 10, 2020

Dear Friends,

READ PSALM 119:1 THROUGH 176

Kaitlyn thought the stress that caused shingles on her head and in her eye was pressure related to work and an upcoming international trip. However, when she told a friend about it, something else poured out of her mouth. She had allowed scathing words spoken by a family member to torment her day and night. Shocked at the effect it had on her, she prayed with her friend and repented for not giving that hurt to God. The shingles on her head healed slowly over weeks. However, the excruciating pain in her eye disappeared immediately. She learned a valuable lesson about releasing her emotional hurts to God.

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees (Psalm 119:71).

People do not necessarily have sin in their lives when they are sick. However, dealing with sin and emotional issues can aid healing. James 5:16 tells believers to confess their sins to each other and pray for healing. Jesus said in Matthew 5:25 to settle matters quickly with your enemy so you don’t let sin and emotional baggage pile up and cause trouble.

Prayer Suggestion: Lord, reveal to me anything that hinders my relationship with You.

Center of Hope Devotion – July 9, 2020

Dear Friends,

READ PSALMS 110:1 THROUGH 118:29

Are you praying for someone whose heart seems as hard as a rock? Do you wonder if God can ever break through that hardness to bring forth healing, salvation or forgiveness?

Who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water (Psalm 114:8).

Who did that? God did, and Moses tells the stories of God bringing water from the rock in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20. In Scripture, the Lord repeatedly asks the godly to believe that nothing is too hard for Him.

Since nothing is too difficult for God, you can believe that He can call forth the waters of salvation from a heart that looks to others as if it is too hard. Saul of Tarsus is an example. His heart was rock hard as he traveled to Damascus to persecute Christians, but God used a dramatic encounter to reach him. Later, the same Saul took the gospel throughout much of the Middle East and Europe and wrote a large part of the New Testament. No one’s heart is too hard for God to break through.

Challenge for Today: Keep loving and praying for those who seem too hard to yield to the Father’s love.

Center of Hope Devotion – July 8, 2020

Dear Friends,

READ PSALMS 106:1 THROUGH 109:31

Sally searched through her grandmother’s trunk and discovered old photos and letters from her great-grandfather’s family after he left England in the late 1800s. She could only imagine what challenges he faced as he came to America alone.

The Jewish people made a practice of telling their stories from generation to generation. The Bible commanded it.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe (Psalm 107:2).

God is with His people in all life’s experiences—good and bad. He deserves the praise for bringing them through the tough times and leading them into times of celebration. By telling their stories, they help others avoid the pitfalls they experienced.

In generations past, families sat around the fire in the evenings. Parents and grandparents told stories about their experiences. In modern society, that practice has been largely lost. But Christians are called to create time to share stories of their salvation, their struggles, and how God provided for their needs.

Prayer Suggestion: Dear God, show me how best to share with others the life lessons You have taught me.

Center of Hope Devotion – July 7, 2020

Dear Friends,

Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

As a child we had a classroom experiment where we had chicken eggs in an incubator, everyday we watched them hoping today would be the day they would hatch, but alas. It takes several weeks for them to hatch. As an impatient child that was very difficult, I felt like every day was a let down.

Decades ago, author Catherine Marshall wrote, “Prayers, like eggs, don’t hatch as soon as we lay them.”

The prophet Habakkuk wrestled with waiting in prayer. Frustrated at God’s silence with Babylon’s brutal mistreatment of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, Habakkuk commits to “stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts,” to “look to see what he will say to me” (Habakkuk 2:1).

God replies that Habakkuk is to wait for the “appointed time” (v. 3) and directs Habakkuk to “write down the revelation” so the word can be spread as soon as it’s given (v. 2).

What God doesn’t mention is that the “appointed time” when Babylon falls is six decades away, creating a long gap between promise and fulfillment. Like eggs, prayers often don’t hatch immediately but rather incubate in God’s overarching purposes for our world and our lives.

Center of Hope Devotion – July 6, 2020

Dear Friends,READ PSALMS 93:1 THROUGH 101:8

Mark and his friends gathered for an informal worship service at a shady spot in a state park. As they began singing, the setting was quiet. When they continued singing praise choruses and hymns, they became aware of a choir of birds, high in the treetops. It was as though they were joining in praising God. When the song time ended, the birds ceased singing. The forest once again hushed. Mark and his friends continued their service, talking of God and the ways in which He shows His presence.

The writers of the psalms spoke about worshipping and singing praises to the Lord.

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation (Psalm 95:1).

Often, they wrote about the beauty and uniqueness of nature: thundering waterfalls, flaming sunsets, and colorful flowers and trees. Other times, they saw God’s presence and felt His blessings in the everyday things of life.

When Christians walk through the day with an awareness of God’s presence, they can see and hear creation praising God in a variety of ways.

Challenge for Today: Be alert to the ways God is present in your life and in your world.

Center of Hope Devotion – July 4, 2020

Dear Friends,

Happy 4th of July!!!!

READ PSALMS 74:1 THROUGH 78:72

Jason couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned, changed positions from one side to the other, and fluffed his pillow, but still sleep refused to come.

His anxiety was overwhelming. So many things in his life were going wrong, and he didn’t know what to do about it. He felt as though God had abandoned him.

When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted (Psalm 77:2).

Psalm 77 was written for people like Jason, who feel forgotten by God and remember better times. The Psalmist remembered times when his heart was filled with joy. Instead of tossing all night, he sang songs in the midnight hours. They were songs of praise and thankfulness for God’s mercy.

The author made a decision in verse 12 to remember all the Lord had done. He chose to focus on the blessings instead of dwelling on the problems.

Prayer Suggestion: When anxieties flood your mind and sleep will not come, release your worries and remember God’s faithfulness.

Center of Hope Devotion – July 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

READ PSALMS 74:1 THROUGH 78:72

Jason couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned, changed positions from one side to the other, and fluffed his pillow, but still sleep refused to come.

His anxiety was overwhelming. So many things in his life were going wrong, and he didn’t know what to do about it. He felt as though God had abandoned him.

When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted (Psalm 77:2).

Psalm 77 was written for people like Jason, who feel forgotten by God and remember better times. The Psalmist remembered times when his heart was filled with joy. Instead of tossing all night, he sang songs in the midnight hours. They were songs of praise and thankfulness for God’s mercy.

The author made a decision in verse 12 to remember all the Lord had done. He chose to focus on the blessings instead of dwelling on the problems.

Prayer Suggestion: When anxieties flood your mind and sleep will not come, release your worries and remember God’s faithfulness.

Center of Hope Devotion – July 2, 2020

Dear Friends,

READ PSALMS 69:1 THROUGH 73:28

George was in his eighties, and his only grandson was a drug addict. Wayne had started praying for his grandson, John, even before John was born. John was nearing forty and had been an addict for much of his life, yet Wayne never stopped praying for John and the other members of his family who were not yet Christians.

Wayne asked God to give him strength to proclaim salvation to his family. Wayne may be older, but he still had an assignment from the Lord for his life.

David might have been in the final stage of his life when he wrote Psalm 71. David pleaded with God not to forsake him. He still had important work to do. He wanted to tell the next generation about God and to encourage them to follow God.

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come” (Psalm 71:18).

Regardless of your age or situation in life, God can use you to share His good news with others. He has an assignment for you today.

Challenge for Today: Accept and fulfill God’s assignment for your day, praying for wayward family members, sharing your faith, or just offering kindness to someone.