8 MAY: ALWAYS REMEMBERED

 I will not forget you! Isaiah 49:15

READ ISAIAH 49:13-21

At her mother’s 50th birthday celebration with hundreds of people present, firstborn daughter Kukua recounted what her mother had done for her. The times were hard, Kukua remembered, and funds were scarce in the home. But her single mother deprived herself of personal comfort, selling her precious jewelry and other possessions in order to put Kukua through high school. With tears in her eyes, Kukua said that no matter how difficult things were, her mother never abandoned her or her siblings.

God compared His love for His people with a mother’s love for her child. When the people of Israel felt abandoned by God during their exile, they complained: “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14). But God said, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (verse 15).

When we are distressed or disillusioned, we may feel abandoned by society, family, and friends, but God does not abandon us. It is a great encouragement that the Lord says, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (verse 16) to indicate how much He knows and protects us. Even if people forsake us, God will never forsake His own. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Thank You, Lord, that I am Yours forever. I’m thankful that I won’t have to walk through any experience alone.

God never forgets us.

7 MAY: HIS SPIRIT WITHIN US

“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. 2 Kings 2:9

READ 2 Kings 2:5-12

Tenacity and audacity—Elisha had heaps of both. Having spent time with Elijah, he witnessed the Lord working through the prophet by performing miracles and by speaking truth in an age of lies. 2 Kings 2:1 tells us that Elijah is about to be taken “up to heaven,” and Elisha doesn’t want him to leave.

The time came for the dreaded separation, and Elisha knew he needed what Elijah had if he was going to successfully continue the ministry. So he made a daring demand: “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit” (2 Kings 2:9). His bold request was a reference to the double portion given the firstborn son or heir under the law (Deuteronomy 21:17). Elisha wanted to be recognized as the heir of Elijah. And God said yes.

Recently one of my mentors—a woman who spread the good news of Jesus—died. Having battled ill health for years, she was ready to enjoy her eternal feast with the Lord. Those of us who loved her were grateful at the thought of her newfound freedom from pain and that she could enjoy God’s presence, but we grieved the loss of her love and example. Despite her departure, she did not leave us alone. We too had God’s presence.

Elisha gained a double portion of Elijah’s spirit—a tremendous privilege and blessing. We who live after the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus have the promised Holy Spirit. The triune God makes His home with us! 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Dear Lord, we want to be more like You. Help us to be witnesses of Your Spirit within us.

When Jesus ascended to His Father, He sent His Spirit.

6 MAY: NO GREATER JOY

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

READ 3 JOHN 1:1-8

Bob and Evon Potter were a fun-loving couple with three young sons when their life took a wonderful new direction. In 1956 they attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Oklahoma City and gave their lives to Christ. Before long, they wanted to reach out to others to share their faith and the truth about Christ, so they opened their home every Saturday night to high school and college students who had a desire to study the Bible. A friend invited David and he became a regular at the Potters’ house.

This was a serious Bible study that included lesson preparation and memorizing Scripture. Surrounded by an atmosphere of friendship, joy, and laughter, they challenged each other and the Lord changed their lives during those days.

David stayed in touch with the Potters over the years and received many cards and letters from Bob who always signed them with these words: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). Like John writing to his “dear friend Gaius” (verse 1), Bob encouraged everyone who crossed his path to keep walking with the Lord.

A few years ago David attended Bob’s memorial service. It was a joyful occasion filled with people still walking the road of faith—all because of a young couple who opened their home and their hearts to help others find the Lord. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Thank You, Lord, for the people who have encouraged me to keep walking in Your truth. May I honor them by helping someone along that road today.

Be a voice of encouragement to someone today.

5 MAY: NEED TO PRAY

 Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

READ 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-28

Do you struggle to maintain a consistent prayer life? Many of us do. We know that prayer is important, but it can also be downright difficult. We have moments of deep communion with God and then we have times when it feels like we’re just going through the motions. Why do we struggle so in our prayers?

The life of faith is a marathon. The ups, the downs, and the plateaus in our prayer life are a reflection of this race. And just as in a marathon we need to keep running, so we keep praying. The point is: Don’t give up!

That is God’s encouragement too. The apostle Paul said, “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), “keep on praying” (Romans 12:12), and “devote yourselves to prayer” (Colossians 4:2). All of these statements carry the idea of remaining steadfast and continuing in the work of prayer.

And because God, our heavenly Father, is a personal being, we can develop a time of close communion with Him, just as we do with our close human relationships. A. W. Tozer writes that as we learn to pray, our prayer life can grow “from the initial most casual brush to the fullest, most intimate communion of which the human soul is capable.” And that’s what we really want—deep communication with God. It happens when we keep praying. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Dear Father, we often struggle to spend time with You. Help us to make the time, and help us sense Your goodness and presence.

There is never a day when we don’t need to pray.

4 MAY: HEART MATTERS

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. — Proverbs 4:23

READ PROVERBS 4:20-27

Our hearts pump at a rate of 70-75 beats per minute. Though weighing only 11 ounces on average, a healthy heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels each day. Every day, the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. In a lifetime, that is equivalent to driving to the moon and back. A healthy heart can do amazing things. Conversely, if our heart malfunctions, our whole body shuts down.

The same could be said of our “spiritual heart.” In Scripture, the word heart represents the center of our emotions, thinking, and reasoning. It is the “command center” of our life.

So when we read, “Keep your heart with all diligence” (Proverbs 4:23), it makes a lot of sense. But it’s difficult advice to keep. Life will always make demands upon our time and energy that cry out for immediate attention. By comparison, taking time to hear God’s Word and to do what it says may not shout quite so loudly. We may not notice the consequences of neglect right away, but over time it may give way to a spiritual heart attack.

I’m thankful God has given us His Word. We need His help not to neglect it, but to use it to align our hearts with His every day. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Dear Jesus, take my heart and hand, And grant me this, I pray: That I through Your sweet love may grow More like You day by day. —Garrison

To keep spiritually fit, consult the Great Physician.

3 MAY: SHINING YOUR LIGHT

Let your light shine before others. Matthew 5:16

READ MATTHEW 5:13-16

A little girl wondered what a saint might be. One day her mother took her to a great cathedral to see the gorgeous stained-glass windows with scenes from the Bible. When she saw the beauty of it all she cried out loud, “Now I know what saints are. They are people who let the light shine through!”

Some of us might think that saints are people of the past who lived perfect lives and did Jesus-like miracles. But when a translation of Scripture uses the word saint, it is actually referring to anyone who belongs to God through faith in Christ. In other words, saints are people like us who have the high calling of serving God while reflecting our relationship with Him wherever we are and in whatever we do. That is why the apostle Paul prayed that the eyes and understanding of his readers would be opened to think of themselves as the treasured inheritance of Christ and saints of God (Ephesians 1:18).

So what then do we see in the mirror? No halos or stained glass. But if we are fulfilling our calling, we will look like people who, maybe even without realizing it, are letting the rich colors of the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control of God shine through. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Lord, You are the light of the world. Thank You for wanting to shine that light in our lives. Cleanse me today so that I may let Your light shine through.

Saints are people through whom God’s light shines.

2 MAY: LIFE PAID FOR

I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. -Philippians 3:8

READ PHILIPPIANS 3:1-8

Adam Minter is in the junk business. The son of a junkyard owner, he circles the globe researching junk. In his book Junkyard Planet, he chronicles the multibillion-dollar industry of waste recycling. He notes that entrepreneurs around the world devote themselves to locating discarded materials such as copper wire, dirty rags, and plastics and repurposing them to make something new and useful.

After the apostle Paul turned his life over to the Savior, he realized his own achievements and abilities amounted to little more than trash. But Jesus transformed it all into something new and useful. Paul said, “Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8). Having been trained in Jewish religious law, he had been an angry and violent man toward those who followed Christ (Acts 9:1-2). After being transformed by Christ, the tangled wreckage of his angry past was transformed into the love of Christ for others (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).

If you feel that your life is just an accumulation of junk, remember that God has always been in the restoration business. When we turn our lives over to Him, He makes us into something new and useful for Him and others. 

REFLECT & PRAY 

Are you wondering how to become a new person? Romans 3:23 and 6:23 tell us that when we admit we are sinners and ask for God’s forgiveness, He gives us the free gift of eternal life that was paid for by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Talk to Him now about your need.

Christ makes all things new.