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January Daily Devotions

Please enjoy the Daily Devotions for January.
Each day, a new devotion will be listed at the top of this page.

January 31
In Love With Jesus

Yu Wan is from China. Last spring, as an international student, she met Jesus and gave her life to Him. The amazing thing is she did not find Jesus here in America; instead, it was while she was studying in Japan! Japan is still one of the most difficult mission fields in the world, with less than one percent of the population identified as Christian. You would think such a small group of Christians would be just trying to survive. Yet, Yu Wan was invited to a church that had an international ministry, and God used that one percent to give a Chinese student the Good News.

Two months later, Yu Wan came to Oregon to study English. However, what she really wants to study now is the Bible. On Thursdays, she goes to the University Christian Fellowship Bible study---on Fridays, the Chinese church Bible study. Sundays, she attends a local American church, and Mondays, she joins the Bible Study Fellowship. This girl is totally in love with Jesus, and she is just soaking up all she can get of the Bible! Have her career plans changed? Of course---her life has changed. She is pondering continuing her English classes or the possibility of attending a Bible college. Right now, Yu Wan does not know what God has planned for her, but she would like to go back to Japan. She wants to help bring God’s love to other students like her.

Reflection:

What a blessing it is to see our new brothers and sisters in Christ so in love with the Lord and eagerly wanting to learn more about Him! May we allow their zeal to inspire us and re-energize our own faith.



Malachi 1:11

But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the
Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Submitted by: Dan, Oregon

January 30
A Brand New World

We had just run our first M:28 Exploratory Bible study of the semester and navigated through some great discussion on evolution and creation. The students had so many questions that we decided to continue the same topic the following week.

We sent them each home with an English Bible designed specifically for international students and encouraged them to read the available evidence there. We also threw out the following questions for them to ponder: Does science support evolution or creation? Are they both theories? If yes, based on the comparative evidence, which is more logical to trust in? How do Adam and Eve fit in? We told them we would talk about what we’ve been told and what we know to be true.

After only that first week, we received the following email from one of the young ladies who attended:

“Thank you for bringing me into a brand new world last night. It might be just a small step for you, yet... it would be a giant leap for my spiritual pursuit!

Question: I would also like to buy a cover for the Bible, so that I can put all the collections of songs in it, and my dear Bible can also be better protected. Would you please tell me where can I buy it? Thank you.

Thank you again for everything you've brought to my life.”

Needless to say, we felt energized and encouraged returning the following week to know that already the Holy Spirit had begun to work in the hearts of those He had called to our study.


Reflection:

For many, spending time away from home provides an opportunity to look at their lives, traditions and assumptions from an outside perspective. Let us make the most of every opportunity to help them explore outside the boundaries they are accustomed to.



Genesis 1:1-2

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.


Submitted by: John, California

January 29
A Warm Welcome

Our volunteer, Angela, took several Chinese to a Chinese Christian Camp in May. One was a scholar, Mrs. Chow. (Mrs. Chow brought her parents along to the camp.) Mrs. Chow had been in our Bible study that semester.

On the very first altar call at the first meeting, 3 of the 4 went to the altar and decided to accept Jesus but Mrs. Chow didn’t go, so I asked her later how she felt, she said she accepted in her heart but she was afraid because of the policy her school has.  But at the last day, when they asked all the people who have been saved to come to the altar, she did!  Praise God!  We plant the seeds and God makes it grow! 

I asked Mrs. Chow if she could write a short, simple testimony so our prayer partners could be encouraged. In her Asian way of thinking she thought it would be best if a professional writer would do it, so she asked her father, a professional writer, to send his impression of the experience. So, here it is translated into English:

“This is the first time I stepped on another side of the ocean, first time to walk near Chicago at the Mandarin Gospel Camp held in Cedar Lake, IN.  We had two days of spectacular and wonderful learning: listening to preaching, watching the video of believing experience of under-graduate Y. who was born in 80’s, singing heart-touching, soul-comforting worship songs, joining the friendly group sharing, all these led me, an old man coming from another country, to the Lord with the tears from my heart.  Since then, I read Bible and pray to the Lord every morning and evening, I thank God who sacrificed His life for my sins, I pray that the Lord will live in my heart and protect me from the evil.  It has been half month since I became a Christian, God has mercy on me.  Every night, I pray and somehow I feel the Lord come to me and comfort me to fall asleep. Now, I firmly believe that ‘there is God above you’, and that God is the only true God, Jesus Christ!”


Reflection:

When one person responds to an opportunity to reach out and minister to another in obedience to the Lord, it can change the lives of many. Success in ministry lies in God’s hands; He simply requires our obedience and faithfulness to His call.



Matthew 25:34-40
Then the Kind will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Submitted by: Larry, Michigan

January 28
Called

I met Mandy during her first semester in the United States. Originally from Hong Kong, she had also studied in Australia, so she came to California with some varied cultural experience. After attending ICF off and on a couple times, Mandy told me she would like to get involved with the Friday Night Fellowship. We got together for coffee, and she shared her story with me. She had already been introduced to and received Christ, so we began one-on-one discipleship. She also started singing and playing the keyboard with the ICF Friday night worship team. Also, she was an accounting major, so she began managing ICF’s finances.

Pretty soon, Mandy began attending classes about world evangelism and became very interested in reaching other cultures. She took a short-term mission trip with Operation Mobilization and attended the Urbana Conference with thousands of other students in Illinois. During the conference, she confirmed her desire to become a fulltime missionary.

After completing her accounting degree, Mandy’s parents recommended she work in her field to gain experience and make sure about her calling before making the big decision to become a missionary. After praying and considering missions for about a year, Mandy felt sure enough and joined Operation Mobilization as a full-time, long-term missionary, ministering in the 10-40 Window.

When I see a story like Mandy’s play out right in front of me, I get so excited about the many ways God uses international students to help fulfill the Great Commission.


Reflection:

Did you face struggles or grief or loss over the past year? Find hope in a new day, where a loving, dependable God has created a fresh perspective. His heart toward you is good.



Matthew 9:37-38

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”


Submitted by:
Freddy, California

January 27
The Love of a Family

A Hungarian student shared an article he wrote for his scholarship program when asked to describe a memorable encounter while studying in America. He chose to write about the impact that ISI Friendship Partners made on his life. The following are his words:

"Picking a single one of the many encounters usually puts one in a tough situation, though I have no problem to make the decision this time.  As volunteers with ISI, this family has helped and supported foreign students at the university for many years.  They organize 5-7 activities each semester---anything from apple- picking to Christmas cookie baking, dinners to Bible studies. They also help students with airport pickups or room and board when the campus is closed for recesses. As a participant in many of these programs, I experienced the kindness and helpfulness of this family. Due to the way they treat us, I always had the feeling I was visiting my relatives, or my ‘American grandparents.’

“Before writing this essay, I visited them (the volunteers) to make sure I do not make up their opinions. They told me about their involvement with ISI and about their aims and conceptions. First, they would like to help international students who have needs in a foreign country. Furthermore, they want to provide access to an American family and give them an American home experience. They want to be sure that international students know that a different America exists than the one shown in movies or television stereotypes. They shared with me that they wanted to extend the love and blessings they had received from God with others. Though ISI is a Christian organization, they offer their services and hospitality to everyone.

“For me, visiting in this home always provides an enriching experience, not just for the activities themselves but also for the family environment. Anyway, who would mind having ‘grandparents’ when far away from home?"


Reflection:

What an encouragement to hear a first-hand account of how touched a student felt by a little hospitality and love! He experienced the warmth of family while far away from his own family because these volunteers reached out and made him feel valued.



I Peter 4:9
Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

Submitted by: Eleanor, New York

January 26
That Not One May Be Lost

“I still have dreams, but have no passion. If someone told me today is the last day of me being here, in this world – I wouldn't be upset; feels like I don't care. And that scares me.” This Facebook message came from our friend, Tigri, who had recently returned to Central Asia after completing a graduate degree in the United States.

He went on, “As you know, I am unemployed for last 5 months. I apply to the jobs… conduct tests, exams, and interviews successfully, but never get a job. I am depressed, I pray… I try to be better… and I feel like it doesn't work. Is God trialing me? So many people have almost everything; I have nothing. In Islam, it says that the one who is loved by God has a hard life, doesn't have many things in this world, [and] suffers persecution.  Within the last five months, I have been through so many things: lost job, owe money, was beaten, hospitalized, and my friends disappeared. Please give me some advice! And also, please, could you pray collectively; maybe God hears better when a lot of people pray. I feel like giving up!”

With that, my husband and I asked for guidance as we ministered to our dear friend and began a Facebook three-way conversation that lasted many months. We openly shared some deep struggles we had experienced, and Tigri felt relief. He began to trust us and continued to share his deep struggles.

“I had two dreams. I haven't told them before and honestly do not know what they might mean. In the first one, I was standing alone in the front yard of my house, the sky was gray, and I had a feeling there was no one in this world; I was so much afraid and calling for help, salvation. Suddenly, I could hear counting, 1,2,3,4...1,2,3,4... until I saw fire in the air in the shape of cross. I woke up.

In the second dream, after I accepted Islam, I was in the car driving out of a forest to the highway. The highway had two exits - 1st road to Islam, and the 2nd one to Christianity. I intended to take the Islamic one, but suddenly I lost control. It was not me driving; the car was twisting and swaying, and it took me to the other road. I got off the car, made few steps, and saw so many tall flowers around me of purple, pink, and blue colors. I was so calm and peaceful at that moment. I woke up.”

He admitted he had never had any dreams with that kind of content before. He wondered if God was prompting him. He asked, “Can dreams be a source of information? Can you pray for me on this? Please, ask God to send me signs, to whisper which way He wants me to go!”

Through much prayer and “conversation,” Tigri decided to follow Jesus. We continue to lift him in prayer as he lives out his young faith in a Central Asian culture that is hostile to Christianity. We rejoice not only that he walks forward in obedience, but that God has showered him with material and spiritual fulfillment beyond what he could have imagined!



Reflection:


God seeks to bring people to Himself from every tribe, tongue, and nation. The seeds for Christian faith take root all around us. We plant and water, but only God can cause the seeds to bloom. In His perfect timing, using a whole range of circumstances, He can bring one dear person to Himself. Praise God for His patience, creativity, and goodness.



Isaiah 43:5-6
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west… Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.

Submitted by: Caroline, California

January 25
A Heart to Serve
 

Recently, I traveled to India to attend the wedding of a former international student. Given that I would expend a lot of time and money for such a big trip, I decided to touch base with as many returnee students as possible while half-way around the world. What a privilege to follow up with students I had once befriended in California during their student days. I looked forward to seeing them immersed in their own cultures, living the lives they had prepared for when I knew them in the United States.

However, I had not prepared myself for the warmth of their welcome, nor the poignant delight I enjoyed as I met the parents and families of these students I had come to think of as friends. I felt so honored when many of them introduced me and referred to me as a “seva,” translated to mean “servant.” They went on to explain that I was available to them for many tasks, and they relied on me for airport pick-ups, rides, etc... Little did I realize how much meaning those relatively small acts of kindness had in the lives of these young men and women far away from their familiar homes and cultures. I felt humbled and valued in a way I had not previously experienced.

Reflection:

We often forget what a big impact the little things can have. Our willingness to serve, to do those “little thinkgs” can speak loudly to those we minister to. It could be “just a ride” or “just a cup of coffee,” but in that person’s life, it might make a big difference.



Matthew 20:26-27
But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.

Submitted by: Andy, California

January 24
Miracle of a Changed Heart

Being the hands that assist the Lord in His harvest provides us with many blessings. We are very blessed when international students and scholars come to know the Lord and decide to live for Him!  We rejoice even more when we see God’s mercy and salvation go beyond the students to touch their families, as well.

Becky, an ISI field staff member in California, shared how she was blessed to witness a miracle in the life of a Korean scholar’s wife that was part of their international women’s fellowship.

Chun Hei was having significant problems in her marriage. She and her husband, Min-Jun, were not just arguing but fighting physically! Chun Hei was at the point where she wanted a divorce. She told Min-Jun that she did not want to forgive him but was asking God for help to do so. That night, Min-Jun had a dream; in his dream, he saw a sword with blood on it. God spoke to him and told him to protect his family. When he awoke, he was scared and felt ill. Then, a complete transformation took place.

Min-Jun asked Chun Hei for forgiveness. He began to tell her every day that he loved her, and he hugged her. Min-Jun started to take more of an interest in being a father to their son; Min-Jun took time to play with him. He went to church, sang the worship songs, and actually paid attention during the sermon. All of these things were “firsts” in the couple’s eight years of marriage!

Chun Hei’s prayers for her marriage and for her husband were answered in a way that will surely become a testimony of God’s work in their lives. What a blessing for Becky to witness this miracle! This story is also an encouragement for us to keep working “in the fields” to bring in the harvest as the Lord calls us to do, so that hearts may be changed by God.


Reflection:

We need to remember to pray for all marriages knowing that they are under attack by the enemy. Let’s pray for: blessings in exchange for curses, speaking the truth in love, and love to cast out all fear. Lastly, let us pray for the Holy Spirit's empowerment to forgive and to love others as He forgives and loves us!



Deuteronomy 30:6
The LORD your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!

Submitted by: Becky, California

January 23
The Ripple Effect

Kaori became a Christian when she was studying in Seattle in the 1990’s. She brought the Good News of the Gospel home to her family, and soon her mother, maternal grandfather, grandmother, and an uncle all became Christians. Each of their salvation stories is miraculous, but especially the story of how God changed Kaori’s uncle, “Asato.”

Asato had been the worst kind of son to his parents, Kaori’s grandparents. He rarely ever helped his parents out at home. Nobody thought Asato would ever make it to heaven, and in fact they’d wished he’d go to hell! All that changed after Asato’s father died. His father had been a Christian, and Asato was so moved and impressed by the celebratory nature of his father’s funeral that without knowing anything about Jesus or Christianity, he decided that becoming a Christian was the only way to heaven. And that’s when the family started to see the change in him. Now, Asato started helping his mother out more at home. He would do all the laundry and even cooked dinner for his mother. The change in him was unbelievable. Kaori and the rest of the family knew that God had performed this miracle in her uncle.

Kaori’s influence did not stop with her family. After she received her degree in the United States, she got her teacher’s license in her hometown in Japan. Kaori taught in the public schools for eight years. At first, she was eager to share her testimony, and she would tell everyone why and how she became a Christian. But as time passed, her eagerness to spread the Gospel faded. So she decided to write a personal letter to every graduating student. She would enclose with that letter some loving message from the Bible or at least the phrase, “God bless you.” The students were happy to receive these letters and shared with Kaori that they would keep them forever. Kaori wrote these letters to over 150 students each of her eight years as a public school teacher.

God places returnees in places of influence and gives them countless opportunities to share the hope of the Gospel in a culturally appropriate way. The ripple effects of returnee’s lives continue to bear fruit for God’s glory.


Reflection:

It is indeed miraculous to see a life so changed by God. God can change hearts when nothing and no one else can. It can all begin when we choose to befriend someone and share with the hope that is in Jesus.




1 Thessalonians 1:8
And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go, we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.

Submitted by: Valerie, New York


January 22
A Brilliant Faith

Reflection:

The world may try to shut Christians out of the scientific spotlight, but the rank of trailblazing geniuses is populated with minds thoroughly under the authority and influence of Jesus Christ. God is not only true, but also the source of all truth. He is the truth around which learning revolves. Does your reflection about life—and your response to others—begin and end with Him?

January 21
“The reason I came to America…”

It’s amazing to see how God’s call is so strong on some of the international students that come here! While it might take years and years for some students to heed the call, some are calling out to God. One such student, Bruce from China, was seeking God before he even arrived in the United States. As he shared his journey of faith with us, he told us, “The reason I came to America was to know Jesus because God chose to adopt me as His child.”

Bruce’s journey began when he learned that he was accepted at a school in Texas. As soon as he knew he would be coming to the United States, he googled, “God.” He said he did this because he knew God was very important in American culture. The next day, while waiting at the train station, someone handed him a leaflet about Jesus. After his arrival at the university, he got involved with a college group at a local Chinese church and began learning more about Jesus. He eventually trusted Him as his savior and was baptized.

I continue to meet with Bruce and a mutual friend each week for discipleship. The guys are growing and learning how to walk with Jesus and share him with others. I was so blessed recently when Bruce told me, “I have learned so much from you and grown so much since I met you. Thank you for teaching me so much from God’s word.” I was so encouraged by Bruce’s words, and he affirmed the mission work God has called me to with international students.



Reflection:

If only everyone wanted to know and pursue God like Bruce. But we must reach out to those who might not be aware of their need for the Lord too. Our actions might help them recognize their emptiness. We trust God’s perfect timing.



Isaiah 65:24
I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

Submitted by: Jeff, Texas

January 20
A kind heart and a movie


Reflection:

“A warm, kind heart” can change not only the life they come into contact with, but the lives that life touches. Continue to show Christ’s love “to the least of these.” You never know how much God can multiply the effects of even the smallest of gestures.



Matthew 25:37-40
 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we
ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'
 

Submitted by: source withheld


January 19
That Was Easy

My wife and I joined ISI after serving with another ministry in China and Hong Kong for a number of years, so we have always had a special place in our hearts for Chinese international students.

During one of our first fall semesters of ministry with ISI, we learned of two young Chinese men. These young men were living in a graduate student apartment with nothing but bare walls. Feeling God’s nudge, we gathered up a lamp, card table, two folding chairs, spare dishes, silverware, pots and pans, towels, and some bedding and marched over to their apartment.

I will never forget how their faces lit up with surprise and gratitude when they opened the door and saw the things we had brought for them. After we exchanged names, one of them took me aside and told me, “I have come to your country to learn the name of God. In my country, we cannot learn His name. But, I think He is the God of the Bible.”

What a joy and privilege to introduce this student to the Bible and Jesus just a few weeks later. As soon as he gave his heart to Jesus, he told me, “My wife comes this Christmas. She will become Christian, too.” And…she did, followed by their five-year-old daughter.

 Of course, introducing someone to Jesus is usually not this easy, but you never know what will result from small steps of obedience.



Reflection:

May my mind be so open to Jesus’ voice that I hear and respond to each whisper, even when it does not make obvious sense. What an incredible gift it is to be able to bless someone else because I followed Jesus when He asked me to trust and obey Him. I do not have to understand or see what He is doing, but what fun it is when I get to!




Deuteronomy 26:17
You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you.
 
Submitted by: Howard, California

January 18
Privileged to Serve

 Kai, an international scholar from China, facilitates the M:28 discipleship training. Kai had some intellectual questions about Christianity and China. I introduced him to a professor of debate who answered many of his questions. Kai asked the professor, “Is it okay for me to introduce other people to Jesus even if I still have some questions?” (At ISI, a non-believer may facilitate the M:28 discipleship discussions, leading other students through the list of questions and discussing them.)

Kai’s enthusiasm about the M:28 training is infectious. He is so excited about asking people to the training. I am overjoyed!

We had such excellent conversations on a recent trip we took. He told me about a pivotal experience he had when his car was totaled in an accident in which he could easily have been killed. It was a good opportunity for me to talk to him about how he needed to decide about Jesus, because we never know when we will die. He’s very close to believing; but at this point, he is counting the cost. If Kai is baptized, he will be giving up his entire career in China. He has been talking to his father about God. His father is a Buddhist and open to these discussions. However, his mother is a hardcore atheist and will not engage in any discussion. This young man will be a true leader going forward. I am in awe when I think about how God could use him in the future.


Reflection:

We must take advantage of the great opportunities we have! Think about the potential for those we reach to return to their homes and reach others for Christ. What a privilege to serve the Lord this way! span>



John 12:26

Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

Submitted by: Judy, Texas

January 17
Part of the Family

One Sunday, our family hosted a dinner and “game night” for two international students and a visiting scholar (and family) from China. They brought us fine tea as a gift.

As is our custom, we invited our guests to join hands as we thanked God in Jesus’ name for our food and friendship. During dinner, we swapped stories about our favorite foods and the strangest foods we have ever eaten. (A pig’s snout and fried bees won the prize for the weirdest foods---eaten by our son and daughter in China!)

After dinner, we enjoyed cookies and tea. Then, we taught our distinguished guests two silly American games: “Spoons” and “Slap Jack.” Laughter filled the house and spilled through the open windows—especially after we caught the professor in a “sleight of hand” card trick!

Later, as we bade them good night at the door, I handed them a DVD and said, “We have a gift for you. We are followers of Jesus Christ, and this is a story of Jesus in your language. We hope you like it.”

The next day, we received a text thanking us for our hospitality and closing with the words, “We love all your family.” It is our prayer that the precious times we shared with these new friends may draw them to Christ’s love and quicken a desire to be part of His family in their hearts.


Reflection:

For those far from family---may our homes, conversations, and friendships fill their hearts with the love and warmth they crave. May what they see and experience in our midst draw them to the love of our Heavenly Father. span>



I Peter 4:8-9
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

Submitted by: Gayle, California

January 16
It Isn’t Over Til It’s Over

The basic idea behind ISI ministry lies in inviting international students to join us in our activities, thus addressing their feelings of loneliness and helping them observe American culture up close and personal. Many friendships start this way. For example, when we lived in Oregon, our city hosted a Class-A baseball team. As a lower-level pro team, the roster had mostly youngsters hoping to prove themselves and work their way up to the major leagues. The level of play was uneven but entertaining and we had attended about a dozen games during our years there. One of the games really stands out in my memory—and you’ll soon see why.

We had organized a family outing comprising of my wife, our teenage son, our twin daughters and an international student, Peter. Recently arrived from Hong Kong, Peter had never seen a game of baseball before. It was a warm night, and a fairly decent-sized crowd filed into the stands. Peter showed polite interest as I began to explain the special vocabulary and less-than-intuitive rules of the sport. He did fairly well in understanding, but really seemed more interested in watching the people in the stands than the game itself. It didn’t take him long to realize that our team wasn’t doing very well. Fifth-inning hot dogs cheered us up a bit, but as our team fell further behind, Peter appeared to catch the gloom of the local fans.

By the bottom of the ninth inning, the outcome looked grim. We trailed by a score of 3 to 8, and the stands had already started to empty. I had explained to Peter that baseball, unlike many sports, does not have a clock running to mark the end of the competition. I turned to him now and pointed out that the chances of our team winning this game were small. But, I reminded him that in baseball, the game isn’t over until the last out.

And sure enough, a flurry of hits resulted in a couple runs for our team. Now, down by just 3 runs, we loaded the bases! Down to the last out, we still had a glimmer of hope, until we saw who was up to bat next! Oh dear, the first-baseman. The unfortunate young man had failed to hit the ball all evening, and looked like he hadn’t really grown into his body yet. When his batting average flashed on the board, I groaned. So, when he missed the first two pitches, it didn’t surprise us. But when he hit the next pitch over the left field fence for a towering home run, I think he looked more surprised than we did.

Peter joined us and the few other remaining fans as we yelled and cheered for the improbable comeback. Against all odds, our team had won the game! And a new friendship had begun! As we drove him back to his campus apartment, Peter announced, “What a wonderful game!”


Reflection:

Don’t make things too complicated. The first step should always be friendship; inviting other into your life. Once they know you and see you living out the Christian life, they will be more likely to hear your words about the Christian life.



Matthew 25:35
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you invited me into your home.

Submitted by: Howard, California

January 15
Trust and Obey

We had sent out about 150 flyers inviting international students to a Friday night “rally” in our home. We thought maybe 30-50 students would come, so we had cleaned house, arranged for transportation and put together a program. Everything was ready except for one “small” detail. The invitations clearly stated that we would provide dinner, but we had prepared no food. God said to me, “I will send thousands to your home, but you are not responsible for the food. I will provide. Are you willing?”

With great excitement, I had answered affirmatively, “Yes, I am willing. This home is yours.” But by the time I put the baby down for a nap at 3:30, I still had no idea where the food would come from. Doubt set in and quickly turned to anger. I knew the baby would wake up soon and students would begin arriving about 5:00. Huffing and puffing, I started cooking—nothing fancy, just jello, spaghetti sauce, noodles and a large green salad, with chocolate cake for dessert.

Both the back doorbell and the baby chimed at the same time. I felt furious at God. Scooping up my daughter, I opened the back door expecting students—but no, there stood a collection of friends from a local church, each carrying a dish of food ready to set on the table! God did have a plan! What incredible generosity!

God had clearly told me He would provide, but because I didn’t understand how, I failed to trust. I arranged the “surprise food” on the table with my “disobedient food.” As the students began to arrive I smiled and welcomed everyone, but inside I fumed, and tried to justify my disobedience for not trusting. After everyone finished, I began to clear the table and noticed that all the “surprise food” had been eaten, but no one had touched my “disobedient food!” I got the point.

God tenderly reminded me that when He says He will provide, I need to trust Him. I went to my bedroom and cried and repented. He saw my willingness to share my life, my family and my home—He wanted to provide the food. And He did.

Since that day so many years ago, we have opened our hearts and home to thousands of international students. God still provides the food. We now have a group of more than 100 ladies who take turns organizing and bringing food to our home on Friday nights on a rotating basis throughout the year. I never know who will bring what is needed to feed the 50-90 students who show up, but I never worry about it anymore. I usually contribute a big pot of rice, or a curry and we always have plenty, and a little left over for students to take home.

Reflection:

We want to see the road ahead—to know what lives around the bend. But God asks us to trust Him even when we can’t see what He has in store. We don’t have to understand how He will keep His promises to us, we just have to trust that He will.



Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Submitted by: Miriam, California

January 14
Refreshing Evangelism

What a blessing it is when we see that new believers, Christian international students, are excitedly sharing their faith with other internationals who are seeking! Mark, a student in our fellowship, attended the Vision conference last winter where he learned how to share his faith, present a simplified gospel message, and answer questions he might be asked.

Last Thursday night, I was able to see Mark apply what he had learned. It was such a blessing to see him and a fellow student, Taner, from Turkey engaged in a deep spiritual conversation. The following week, Taner came back to our Bible discussion group for the second time. After the discussion ended, he turned to his friend Mark and began to ask all kinds of questions about God, about evil and about spiritual realities. The two young men sat talking for over an hour about Taner’s questions.

I look forward to seeing God work in Taner’s life. And I also look forward to watching Mark continue to grow as a vibrant Christian sharing his faith with even more students.


Reflection:

Growth occurs in our spiritual lives when we are actively involved in the ministry cycle which includes,: 1. Loving and obeying God. 2. Loving our neighbors as ourselves, and finally, 3. Making disciples. Our goal as Christians is to reach out to others, sharing Jesus for His sake as well as our own.



Proverbs 11:25
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

Submitted by: Hannah, Virginia

January 13
The Results of Impulsive Prayer
Reflection:

God’s overwhelming affection for King David shows that He is moved by those who approach Him with love, exuberance, and emotion. When combined with reverential awe and worshipful “fear of the Lord,” our abandon can actually make a difference in how God responds to us. After all, intense prayerful emotion can be a real expression of how completely we embrace our helplessness without Him.



Psalm 27:7
Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me!

January 12
He Knows My Name

ISI staff use an intra-staff email list to share ideas and pick each other’s brains when they would like input or feedback about some area of their ministry. Recently, a newer staff person posted this:

We are planning our very first ICF. We have some very low-level English speakers in the group. What songs have you found worked well? I'm looking for something with not too many words and not a lot of “Christianese.” Suggestions appreciated.

The post generated some good ideas and discussion, including several “veteran” staff recommending Tommy Walker’s He Knows My Name, as not only a popular song, but as a lighthearted joke with the students.

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call
CCLI License #: 369135

If you’re wondering what about that song makes it funny, imagine the challenge staff often face when learning to pronounce and remember all the foreign and exotic names of the international students from all around the world! The teasing and banter about not being able to pronounce and/or remember each other’s names is common, so students far from familiar homes and people, are drawn to the thought that God knows their names, and cares for them personally.


Reflection:

What a wonderful reminder that each of us matters to God! Not only does He know our name (and how to pronounce it!), but the details of our lives, the condition of our hearts and what lies around the corner. Rest in His intimate care for you.



Isaiah 40:26
Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.

Submitted by: source withheld

January 11
Relentless Pursuit

Ruby came from a strict Buddhist background and harbored a strong drive for success. Competition in her chosen field was cut-throat, and she had to work extremely hard for the A’s she had always managed in her undergrad years. Her confidence waned as she feared disappointing her parents, as they had high expectations for her graduate work.

However, during her time as an international student, Ruby discovered new fellowship that gave her hope. She developed a friendship with Jenny, a Christian who brought Ruby to fellowship meetings for international students. There, Ruby learned about Jesus and gradually came to realize how He could change her life. She approached the Bible with the same tenacity she had approached everything in her life: read, study, learn, and memorize it. Within a few months, she had already read through the entire Bible once!

God was working on Ruby’s heart mightily. One day her fellowship leader asked her openly, “Ruby, since you’ve learned so much, do you want to follow Jesus now?” While the question took Ruby by surprise, her answer surprised the leader even more. “Yes!” Ruby said. Ruby knew she would face challenges from her family and that concerned her greatly. But, in spite of those concerns, Ruby chose to get baptized.

Returning home after finishing two degrees, she broke the news of her conversion to her parents; as she feared, they did express great disappointment. Socially- prominent people, her parents worried about what others would say. They tried to convince her to renounce her new faith, but she responded by telling them that she loved them very much. Also, she shared that as a Christian, she could now love them even more.

Back home, Ruby passed the national test for interpreters and continued advancing through the interviews. She received referrals for several jobs from “upperclassmen” and honed her interpreting skills. Then, at age twenty-seven, Ruby was selected to do a trial interpretation for the President of her nation! Then, following a major disaster in her country, the President (not a Christian) asked Ruby to write a prayer for the nation that he delivered on national television. As a Christian believer, Ruby had gained his respect, even though they lived in a mostly non-believing nation.

After serving many years as a high-level interpreter for her President, Ruby got sideswiped by a competitive fellow interpreter; one day she told Ruby directly, “I will have your job.” The woman went after it with a vengeance. Ruby, now a married mother of two young girls, shared, “These were very dark years for me. I felt like I lost almost all I had worked for. At the time, I couldn’t see the gifts right before me – a faithful husband and two lively young girls. I was depressed and discouraged.”

However, God spoke into Ruby’s darkest hours. Ruby’s father was diagnosed with cancer, opening a spiritual dialogue among her family members. Although her father did not accept Christ before his death, family relations were restored, and the overall mood of the family improved. This experience drew the family closer in new ways, and one of Ruby’s brothers decided to follow Christ!

Ruby did ultimately lose the top interpreter job, but subsequently became the official interpreter for the Speaker of the House in her nation. Ruby retains that position today. While her job requires quite a bit of travel and logistical juggling, Ruby’s husband, mother, and brother all provide great support. This enables Ruby to serve well while being in a position of great influence in the world around her.

Reflection:

God pursues each of us relentlessly. May we respond like Ruby and relentlessly Him as well. The more we get to know the Bible and the God of the Bible, the stronger our foundation becomes. Then, when attacks come, we can trust Him completely to work through and in us for His glory, no matter what the circumstances.



2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.


Submitted by: Caroline, California

January 10
Try This Resolution: Give Up!

So, in urging you to “give up on yourself,” I would recommend a complete reliance on God’s strength instead. This is the secret to a new beginning in this New Year (or any other year)––rely on divinely aided willpower instead of the frail human version.


Reflection:

Change begins from the inside out. We all know this on casual, superficial levels, but it is also true of the deepest core of our being. Genuine change involves much more than nutrition, stress-management, or even physical health. It all starts with have the Spirit of Almighty God at work within us, sanctifying and building us, conforming us into the very image of Jesus Christ.



Colossians 2:6
As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. (AMP)

Submitted by: source withheld

January 9
So…What is M:28 Anyway?


You’ve probably heard of ISI’s M:28 Global Discipleship Initiative. Our goal and vision for M:28 is to transform nations by multiplying life-changing communities in every sector of society. We are pleased that this new, relevant, and reproducible Bible study strategy has reaped great results in a short amount of time as more and more ISI staff and volunteers implement it in their ministries.

Designed to find and identify international students with a spiritual hunger, and then guide them to explore and discover truth, and equip them to be disciple-makers in their own spheres of impact, M:28 can work in every culture and strata of society. It introduces students to an authentic biblical community experience while allowing them to explore God’s life-changing truth for themselves.

M:28 relies on God’s Word as the ultimate authority (blueprint) for life and ministry, and on the Holy Spirit as the ultimate guide. Engaging with those we identify as spiritually seeking, we enter into authentic community with them and their sphere through friendship, blessing them by our words and actions. Then we invite them to explore God’s life-changing truth through a “discovery bible study” (M:28 Passages Series: 1-Discovering God, 2-Following Jesus, 3-Growing in Maturity).

Focusing on only one passage at a time, and without using outside references, we invite everyone to participate and discuss as directed in the Facilitator’s Guide. The key concepts are to Connect, Discover and Apply (obey). Once students discover God’s truths for themselves, we equip those who have become believers to become disciple-makers through the follow-up PTO (Passing Truths On) bible study series, thus multiplying the process over and over throughout the world.



Reflection:

Sometimes we make Bible study too complex and complicated. In M:28, everyone participated and contributes to analyzing the scripture and then applies what they discover to their real life by walking it out in community together. God is using M:28 to reach into the hearts of those who hunger for truth. Check it out – www.isim28.org.



Matthew 28:19-20
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Submitted by: Gordy, Colorado


January 8
Their Hearts Will Rejoice!

As international student ministry workers, we often reach out to students with friendship, food, and fun. We recognize that students are often lonely and homesick, so we provide for human needs. We also recognize their need for salvation; thus, our prayers and efforts are to share Christ and His amazing redemption with our friends.  

What we need to remember, however, is that we can rest in the knowledge that God is doing the work that we cannot. How do we get students to want to know the Lord? We can introduce them to Him through Bible studies and our own testimonies. However, as we do the work on the “outside,” we can trust that the Lord will do the work on the “inside”---in their hearts.

Here is one example of how God has worked in a student’s life. Becky shared with a Japanese student, Rumiko, who was a seeker. The more that Rumiko studied the Bible with Becky, the more she looked forward to this time.  “We have had sweet times studying the Bible,” Becky said. “[Rumiko] has been paying attention to the motivations of her heart and is attracted to Jesus. She said the other day, ‘My heart has begun to rejoice with learning about Jesus.’ She wants to start going to church and also wants to continue her Bible studies when she returns to Tokyo.”

What a blessing to see Jesus work, drawing seekers to Himself! What a privilege to be a part of this harvest!



Reflection:

Let us keep the ultimate goal in mind as we interact with others. We express love to them as they begin to seek Him, and we allow Christ’s love to do the work in their hearts.

 
 

1 Corinthians 3:7
It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.  

Submitted by: Becky, California

January 7
A Lifelong Bond

A native of the “panda area” in China, Sarah jumped right into ISI activities when she arrived in Colorado. For her first adventure, she joined our group on a hike near the Continental Divide. Married, but studying in the United States alone, she had made the sacrifice to obtain her graduate degree far away while her husband climbed the corporate ladder back home.

Sarah began to attend numerous other activities, including weekly Bible study fellowships.  Her genuineness, open heart, and open mind led to her great curiosity about the idea of a loving Creator God who had come to earth to save her!  She felt drawn to Jesus but struggled with the enormity of the decision.  She thought about the career ahead of her, as well as her husband back in China. How would this decision affect their life together?

When Sarah needed a temporary place to stay over the three-week Christmas break, she came to our home.  That was really the beginning of what has become a life-long friendship with Sarah that we continue to treasure. 

As the school year came to a close and Sarah prepared to return home, I challenged her to “take the leap” and put her faith and trust in God.  I felt she was "so close" but also knew she struggled with big decisions like this.  She just did not feel ready.

In the middle of that summer, I got an email from Sarah saying, "I have decided to follow Jesus."  Whoopee! I wondered what had made her “take the leap.” She explained that she had gotten pregnant right after returning home, and she had endured some scary weeks when she feared losing the baby.  In and out of the hospital several times, she cried out to God, and her crying out brought her to the point of faith. 

Still pregnant, she returned to Colorado for her second year of study and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Valentine’s Day. Sarah had gone through much trauma and adventure, but God had won her heart. (In the midst of it all, she also completed her Masters degree!)

After her second year in America, Sarah returned home; she began teaching at her alma mater (a very large university) as the only non-PhD faculty. What an honor!  Sarah knew, though, that she would have to begin working on her PhD.  Four years later, she returned to Colorado to take up that challenge.  What a pleasure to have her nearby again, along with her little girl. Another daughter came along to round out the trio in December! Sarah’s mother came from China to help again, just as she had four years before.

Upon returning home with her PhD, Sarah found a family (underground) church and began attending regularly.  Her faith has grown and she participates actively in her church, even as she continues teaching a full load of university classes.  We have enjoyed several visits from Sarah and her daughters over the last years. What a joy to watch her mature and grow in her relationship with Jesus, as she mothers two girls who have both enjoyed attending camps with our granddaughters when they visit.


Reflection:

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by pressures and choices. Big decisions have big consequences, and we want to do all things well. God walks through it all with us, hearing our prayers and guiding our steps as He navigates the path before us. We need to keep our eyes and ears open for His guidance.



Proverbs 18:15
Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.

Submitted by: Gene, Colorado

January 6
Sharing God’s Peace

Ruth, a student with whom I’d been friends with for several years returned to her home country recently. I was happy that we could keep in touch via email and continue our talks about God. Soon after returning home, Ruth emailed me and told me that she had discovered a lump. It was cancer. In Ruth’s country, people often don’t divulge that they have cancer. There are taboos surrounding such a diagnosis. So, I was the only person Ruth felt comfortable telling about it. I was overwhelmed. How could she endure this news by herself?

Ruth desired to wait until further testing could be done before telling her family how far along it had progressed. The tests revealed that it was extremely serious. Ruth is a very quiet woman, and so this is hard for her. She said no one in her home country talks about cancer.

During the years that Ruth was here in the US, she was becoming a seeker asking more questions about God. Now, she and I continue to talk, and she has become very open. She asked me in her last email, “Is Jesus God?” I’ve been sending her regular Scripture verses and prayers.

If Ruth has no one to turn to in her home country, perhaps she will take that final step and turn to God. That’s my prayer.


Reflection:

The stories of people like Ruth remind us of the urgency to see our friends and neighbors saved. We desire that they turn to God for His peace to guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.



Philippians 4:7
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Submitted by: source withheld

January 5
Compassion for the Lost

On a recent New Year’s Day, I felt industrious after taking down the Christmas tree and decorations, so I began cleaning up a bookshelf haphazardly stuffed with all manner of books. I came across a variety of Bible translations I use and refer to from time to time when looking for a better way to quote or interpret something from God’s Word. It made me so thankful to live in a time when we have access to so many Bible resources. It also made me stop to wonder about the people in the Old Testament who survived with very little of God’s written Word.

 So many times throughout the day, the Spirit brings to mind concepts, perspectives, warnings, and promises from God’s Word that help guide and protect us, chasten us, and give us insight for issues we face. Without that insight and guidance, our lives would not be so different from the international students we serve! Without God’s Word, we would get tossed back and forth, never knowing the best route to take when making decisions. We would go back to and rely on the traditions and teachings of our ancestors and families. We would be limited to what our senses and intellects perceived and learned. Apart from Christ, life is really tough and offers little peace.

This awareness filled me with a renewed compassion for the international students we serve, for they need Christ so drastically. Without Him, they will wander through life like sheep without a shepherd. 


Reflection:

May we be filled with compassion for those we serve. May we never give up praying for them and serving their needs to demonstrate God’s love and care for them.



Matthew 9:36
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Submitted by: Derrah, Texas

January 4
God’s Plans, Arranged from the Beginning

When international students become friends with ISI staff or volunteers and form relationships with them, they don’t know how much goes into making that friendship happen. They don’t know of the people working lovingly behind the scenes to offer students the chance to meet and know Jesus. They might not know about the people who have prepared the food, coordinated the activities, prayed for the students, given money to support the work, helped with transportation, and much more--and all without expecting anything in return. Following is a letter that our staff Jesse received from a former student.

Hey dear Jesse,

Long time, no see! How have you been? Thank you for thinking of me. Yes, I became a Christian; January 2, 2013 is my spiritual birthday. I want to thank you for your attention, for your physical and emotional solicitude, for the countless fancy foods and everything. If not for everything you did from the very beginning, I am sure I would not have experienced God's love or seen His grace and glory. God bless you!

When I think back to my experiences, as I recall and connect the dots of the things that have happened, I believe God had His plan for me arranged from the beginning. He brought me to where I am today, step-by-step according to His Plan.

I grew up in a very poor family. My parents did not receive so much education in their youths, and so they did not require much in education for me. To get a passing score on a test was enough. My study habits became worse and worse until I was at the bottom of my class, serving as an example of the worst student! At that time, I was really OK with this, I thought at least I had made my own contribution to the class, just kidding! But during this time, God was doing something for me. It was July, 2002 and I remember that computers were used to record and keep our scores. One day the computer malfunctioned, and the technician did not fix it very well. Unbelievably, some of our scores had been shuffled and swapped. Somebody else’s scores were put in my record. For the first time in my life, I ranked in the upper middle of my class. It was also the first time that I received the admiration and compliments from my peers and teachers. It felt very good! This one mistake changed my life! I became a diligent, hardworking student, something I could never imagine or dream of. As a result, I got admitted into college! This is just one example of a story that reveals God’s work in me. And when I looked for more recent occurrences where God has worked in my life, I was amazed to see that He has helped me in so many ways! He definitely has a plan for me. God has changed my life! I hope my story encourages you. I have also tried to share God's messages with my friend who still lives in China. I wish they could receive God's love as well. Wish you a great day tomorrow!

Affectionately, your brother in Christ,
Chang



Reflection:

In ministry to others, you give and work with the hope that someone who doesn’t yet know Jesus will one day trust in Him. And you trust that God will do the work in that person’s heart. What might not be considered is how God has been doing His part in preparing the ground for what will happen when someone finally plants the seed and tells that individual how they can be saved.



Acts 17:24-28
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Submitted by: Jesse, North Carolina

January 3
Practical Help

Several years ago, I decided to face my fears and offer driving instruction to international students. I knew that this practical skill could make a difference in life management and independence for these students while they were in the United States. I hoped that it would create opportunities for conversation beyond driving laws and expectations. Sure enough, my first driving student came from the Middle East, and by the end of the lesson, he asked me for a Bible in English. That happened faster than I expected, and fortunately, I had some English Bibles in the trunk of the car.

Then, I got a request to teach the wife of one of the international students. My heart skipped a beat when I realized I was being entrusted with riding in a car with a Muslim woman—alone! However, my friend expressed his trust in me, and away I went to teach his wife. Over our many practice sessions, his wife and I had several opportunities to share about each other’s beliefs. Not only did she appreciate the respect and interest, she passed her driving test! Next, I taught her husband to drive, and he obtained his own driver’s license. I gained a reputation as a driving instructor and ended up coaching several of this same couple’s fellow countrymen. Despite frustrations they experienced for picky little injunctions (like failing to signal when changing lanes or driving 27 in a 25 mph speed zone), these students all got their licenses. What was truly amazing, as well, was that they allowed me to pray with and for them.

Now able to commute freely and legally, these students are completing their graduate degrees and know so many things that are way over my head. Just like the Queen of Sheba and the Ethiopian eunuch, they will return to their homelands to serve as leaders in universities, professional organizations, and governments. My prayer is that they learned not only the rules of the road here but perhaps insights for life during their detour with me.



Reflection:

Sometimes the best way to speak into an unbeliever’s life is to offer practical help. Perhaps in our service, we do not directly share the gospel with unbelievers, but our actions can soften and open the hearts of those who might not accept any traditional exposure to Jesus.



Matthew 25:35-36
“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited.”

Submitted by: Dan, Iowa

January 2
Why We Do What We Do

Sam has just arrived at the local university; fresh off the airplane in a country he has only seen in pictures and movies before. He faces many challenges in adapting to an unfamiliar culture, a strange language, and an altered environment with different expectations. Sam will get assigned to a Friendship Partner to walk alongside him in a position of loving strength. Sam views his new friend as an expert, someone he learns to trust who can help him practically as he makes his way in this new world. 

At some point, Sam will likely ask his American friend the question, “Why are you doing this?” He will hear the answer, “I am a follower of Jesus. Jesus gave us two commands. The first is to love God. The second is to love others. That is why I do what I do.”

Since 1953, ISI has been “sharing Christ’s love with international students and equipping them for effective service in cooperation with the local church and others.” 

When we befriend and walk alongside international students, we live out the commands of Jesus. We hope and pray that the difference we make in their lives today will have eternal consequences forever.

That is why we do what we do.


Reflection:

Do not lose the vision and calling for what God has called you to do. You fulfill Jesus’ greatest commandments when you share your love for God with those He places in your path.



Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Submitted by: Gayle, California

January 1



Lamentations 3:22-26

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
    His mercies begin afresh each morning.
                        therefore, I will hope in Him!”

The Lord is good to those who depend on Him,
    to those who search for Him.
So it is good to wait quietly
    for salvation from the Lord.


Reflection:

Did you face struggles or grief or loss over the past year? Find hope in a new day, where a loving, dependable God has created a fresh perspective. His heart toward you is good.

So wait.

Pray.

And trust.

As you move forward in this new year, know you can depend on Him.




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