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Upper Room Devotionals

Daily Devotions for May 1 through June 30, 2020

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

CONTENT WHERE I AM

Read 2 Samuel 7:18-29


Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” — 2 Samuel 7:18 (NIV)


Thought for the Day When I’m feeling discontented, I can turn to scripture for encouragement.


I’m thankful for the lovely part of the world I live in. Lakes, rivers, ocean beaches, and mountains are all just a short drive away. I often go out to photograph wildlife like sea lions, bald eagles, and white-tailed deer.

But one morning, I struggled with envy of others who’ve traveled to exotic places that I haven’t been to. I decided to spend extra time reading my Bible because I knew God would encourage me to be content with my corner of the world. I brushed aside my craving for places I have not been, and I opened the word of God instead.

  As I was reading David’s prayer about being humbled that his family would be remembered by the Lord forever, I realized my foolishness in coveting anything earthly. Just like David, all those who trust in the Lord will be established for eternity in God’s kingdom. I was reminded of how much more important heaven is compared to earthly things. Heaven’s shores will forever be more breathtaking than all the exotic places the world has to offer.

 


Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the beauty of the world we live in. Help us to remember that heaven’s joys will far surpass earthly ones. Amen.

 

Wendy L. Macdonald (British Columbia, Canada)

 

Prayer Focus: CHRISTIANS IN CANADA

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A CHANGE OF HEART

Read 1 Corinthians 9:20-23


There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

— Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

Thought for the Day Every day, God strengthens me for ministry to others.


At our farewell luncheon celebrating my first five years of ministry in the United States, the group was surprised when George spoke. He was a retired businessman who had always sat quietly with his wife in the very last pew of the church building. That day, in a shaky voice, George said something that touched every heart there: “Pastor Koo, in five years you have made us cry twice. The first time was five years ago, when we received news that we were getting a Korean pastor. The second time is today, the day that you and your family leave us. The first were tears of worryand disappointment about getting our first cross-cultural/ cross-racial pastor; now they are tears of love and sadness as we see you and your family go.” Not long after we left, George passed away.

His words became great motivation and encouragement for me in my ministry. As is written in today’s quoted verse from Galatians — despite our prejudice, differences, and anxiety, we are all one in Christ Jesus. Still today, George reminds me that God’s ministry is not fulfilled by words but rather when we meet heart to heart in Christ’s love.

 

Prayer: Dear Father, remind us that through your power we can overcome all worldly hurdles to minister to others. Amen.

 

KyungMo Koo (Maryland, USA)

 

Prayer Focus: CROSS-CULTURAL CHURCHES

Thursday, May 28, 2020

GOD’S LOVE ENDURES

Read Romans 5:1-11


Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us. — Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV)

Thought for the Day God fills me with hope and helps me endure.

  It started with a twinge of pain in my leg, but the little twinges soon became greater and steadily intensified. Two years later, while I was sitting in my seventh-grade math class, I was told to go to the front office. I could feel my heart pounding as I walked toward the office and felt it sink when I saw my parents sitting with the principal. They told me that my doctor had diagnosed me with chronic osteomyelitis and said they needed to take me to the hospital for an emergency biopsy. I was filled with fear. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me or why God allowed so much pain to enter my life. However, five years later, I know that without this experience I would not have become the person I am today.

Although the pain still takes over at times, I look to God to fill my spirit with

hope and endurance. I know there is suffering in the world that far surpasses anything I will ever experience, and I continue to pray for those who are afflicted. Jesus suffered on the cross, and he understands our pain. Regardless of our earthly suffering, we can trust that God’s love will outlast it all.

 

Prayer: Dear God, comfort us when we face illness and pain. Give us a renewed sense of hope and faith in your love. Amen.


Candyce Sturgeon (North Carolina, USA)

 

Prayer Focus: SOMEONE AWAITING BIOPSY RESULTS

Friday, May 29, 2020

DISTRACTING PRIDE

Read Philippians 4:10-19

 

Paul wrote, “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Thought for the Day Today I will set down my burdens so I can welcome God’s strength.



During my first backpacking trip, I wasn’t far into the trek up the mountain before I realized that I had grossly overpacked. As I struggled, I saw a member from our group, whom I had yet to meet, coming back down the path toward me. “Please, Lord, just let him wave and pass by.” Nope.

  He stopped dead in front of me with his hand out- stretched, saying, “Hello, I’m Jay. Would you like me to carry your pack?” My mind screamed yes, but my lips uttered, “No, thanks. I’ve got this.” My pride was totally opposed to accepting help. He turned, and we climbed together. When Jay continued to ask if he could carry my load, I finally relented.

I had prayed for strength, but God had something else in mind. Sometimes receiving God’s provision requires a sacrifice on our part like giving up our pride in self-reliance. This sacrifice is not for God’s benefit but for our own. When we are no longer distracted, burdened with guilt, or full of pride, our ears and hearts are more open to God. Then we are free to sense God’s message in the words of a song, see God’s plan in the order of nature, or feel an unexplained peace deep within us during a crisis.


Prayer: Dear God, help us to release our pride so that we may trust in your provision rather than our own. Amen.

 

A. Mattingly (Texas, USA)

 

Prayer Focus: THOSE STRUGGLING WITH PRIDE

Saturday, May 30, 2020

BEST FOR US

Read Hebrews 12:4-11


Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

— Hebrews 12:7 (NIV)

Thought for the Day God sees beyond what I want to what is best for me.



Drinking soft drinks or juice in my young nephew’s presence will likely cause him to cry because he wants the drink and is not allowed to consume too much sugar. One day as he was crying for juice, it occurred to me that while children may cry for something that will harm them, adults who know better will allow them to cry rather than to satisfy them with what is harmful. God called my attention to the same thing about myself.

  At times when I would ask God for something and not get it within my time frame, I would start crying. Still, my tears didn’t make God give me what I cried for. Eventually I realized the truth of Hebrews 12:7: As a good father, God will discipline me so that I can grow. God was not denying me love by withholding certain things from me. By not giving me what I wanted, God may have been protecting me or helping me to grow and mature.

When our desires and tears are for what isn’t the best, God will help us not to destroy ourselves with these misguided desires but instead to make better choices. God loves us and wants only the very best for us.


Prayer: Dear Father, when we cry for unnecessary or harmful things, teach us to understand your discipline and embrace a love for your correction. Amen.

 

Oluwasola Jegede (Lagos, Nigeria)


Prayer Focus: THOSE SUFFERING THROUGH TRIALS