Don’t Give Up! (A Mini-Devotional) | Guest Post By Sarah Rhomberg

My grandparents have this “roller” tool for picking up fallen fruit, primarily apples and nuts. When I first saw it, I was fascinated! I loved the way it worked. And, I, along with my siblings, loved using it. Usually we didn’t like picking up fallen fruit, but the new device made it fun.

IMAGE CREDIT

Fun, that it is, until we’d used it for a few days, until we’d each picked up 150+ apples and nuts. Then it became a chore. It was tiring. It was exhausting. Why? Because the “newness” and the excitement had worn off. 

Sometimes it’s the same thing with our faith. We have moments in which we are so “on fire” for God. We love reading the Bible, prayer is the highlight of our day, and we can’t wait to tell others about God.

person holding book

But sometimes, we get tired of praying without answers. Sometimes we just don’t want to pick up our Bibles. And Sometimes we fear telling others about what we believe.

When you feel like that, remember this verse!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
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Keep on spreading your faith, even if people make fun of you! Continue to pray, even if you don’t have an answer yet! And go read your Bible (Even when you’d rather do something else!) So that we, with Paul can say:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2. Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

Trust me – it’s worth it!

Sarah Susanna Rhomberg is a sixteen-year-old child of God, who lives in Europe, and is fluent in both English and German. Besides writing she spends most of her free time reading, practicing her instruments or doing crafts. She wants to live her life for Christ and writes to glorify Him. 

This guest post by Sara Rhomberg is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for guest posting, Sara! You did an awesome job, and this devotional is super encouraging! 😀

Your turn! What did you think of Sara’s guest post? Were you encouraged? Are you going to submit a guest post like Sara here? Did anyone else Google “apple/nut/fruit roller thingy”? (No? Just me? :P)

PS. Before you go, we’d love it if you would reblog or submit your guest post! Don’t forget to send us your prayer requests, too!

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Step-By-Step Guide: How To Write A Devotional

Hey guys! A couple of weeks ago, I posted 5 Tools Every Christian Blogger Needs, which listed some great resources for Christian bloggers that hopefully helped make Christian blogging a little easier for you!

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This post is also in the ‘for Christian bloggers’ category. Today, I’m going to be teaching you guys how to write a devotional! It really helps me to blog about what I’m working on or struggling with, and lately, I’ve been trying to give my devotionals a clear, concise style and a solid format and message, so in this post, I’m going to help you do that in your devotionals!

I hope this post helps you, and whether you’ve written hundreds of devotionals or are about to write your first one, you can learn something from these tips! So, let’s get started!


Step 1: Finding Inspiration

You can get inspiration for a devotional from anywhere! Just take a look around you – what are you thankful for? Is there something in the room that you’ve had an experience with? Do you see the birds chirping through the window and think about God’s creation? Do you notice a book that taught you a really great lesson about life or faith or showed you something new?

Whenever you get stuck, try thinking about your life right now. What are you struggling with or going through? Sometimes, I don’t always like talking about how to stand firm during a struggle I’m going through, since I’m still trying to figure that out for myself. Other times, writing about a struggle is like encouraging yourself and others who are going through the same thing.

Take a look at your daily life. Usually, my devotionals are inspired by conversations with my family or my friends, or maybe the topic of a sermon or lesson I learned in church. Think about your favorite parts of the day. What makes mornings so special for you? Is it because you get to relax in the silence while spending time with God? Or maybe you love evenings because that’s when you read your Bible plan? You can take those moments, conversations, and lessons, and use that as inspiration for your next devotional!

I also get a TON of ideas from my daily devotionals. Each of the topics in my daily devotionals always inspires something that I want to write about! It’s wrong to take the devotional and copy it word for word on your blog or write a post REALLY similar to it – that’s called plagiarism and it’s illegal. But, it’s always okay to use the devotional as inspiration! If the devotional was about God’s love, then you could take inspiration from that concept and write a post on that same topic in your own words and ideas.

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I’m also really inspired by my The Message Bible because it helps me look at Bible verses in a totally different way! Since it’s worded very modernly, it’s easy to understand and grasp the concept of each verse. Once, by just flipping through it, I came up with four ideas for blog posts! I always quote the verse I was inspired by in the devotional, so that way my concepts and ideas are backed up by the Bible.

As you can see, there’s a TON of different ways that you can get inspiration! All it takes is flipping through a book of devotionals, looking around the room, or thinking back to a conversation. And once you’ve found inspiration for what you’re writing about, you’re ready for the next step!

Step 2: Creating an Outline

Everyone’s minds work differently – especially the minds of writers and bloggers. There’s a constant debate in the noveling world between plotters, those who keep their story on track using an outline, and ‘pantsers’, those who write by the ‘seat of their pants’ and discover their story as they go along.

Even if you may be a ‘pantser’, it’s really important that you write an outline beforehand. It helps keep you on track, and it will save you a ton of time editing in the end if you have the message of your devotional already identified and incorporated beforehand.

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There are tons of different ways to write an outline. It’s going to take a little bit of experimenting to find one that works for you, and that’s okay! You want to find an outline that fits your style, personality, and writing and is most comfortable for you.

When I’m writing a typical blog post, like this one, my outline is way different from what I’m starting to use in my actual devotionals. Here’s how I outlined the first step of this post:

  • Step 1: Finding Inspiration
    • QUESTION: Where can you find inspiration and ideas for devotionals?
      • The setting
      • Your life
      • Conversations
      • Devotional books
      • The Bible

Since in this post I’m teaching you guys something, instead of a topic sentence, I had a question written down in my outline that I wanted to answer through those paragraphs. But, let’s say I’m doing a blog post on my experience at camp. Here’s what the outline for one of my paragraphs could look like: (This could probably be a post in the future!)

  • Section 3: How I Grew Closer To God
    • TOPIC SENTENCE: At camp, I grew closer to God in so many different ways.
      • Batter’s Box Devotionals
      • Ropes Course
      • Team Meeting at the Sanctuary
      • Gospel Presentation
      • Stargazing
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But for devotionals, your outline is probably going to be a lot different from this. Before you start your devotional, even if you don’t really use an outline, make sure to answer these questions:

  • What is the main topic of your devotional? What is the message or theme?
  • What Bible verses and scripture can you use to back up your points?
  • How do you want your readers to feel after reading your devotional? Empowered? Loved? Empathetic? Generous? Encouraged? Happy? Comforted?

Once you have these questions, you’re ready to start either outlining or writing your devotional! If you don’t really like outlining and it’s not your style, you can always skip to Step Three! But for those who want to learn a little more about outlining devotionals, stick around!

After you’ve answered the questions, all that’s left is to map out where the main points of your devotional will go! For example, an outline for a devotional could look like this:

  • Intro
    • Greet readers
    • Update them with a little bit of what’s happening in your lifeIntroduce the topic
  • Point 1
  • TOPIC SENTENCE
    • Paragraph
    • Paragraph
    • Paragraph
    • Verse
  • Point 2
  • TOPIC SENTENCE
    • Paragraph
    • Paragraph
    • Paragraph
    • Verse
  • Point 3
  • TOPIC SENTENCE
    • Paragraph
    • Paragraph
    • Paragraph
    • Verse
  • Outro
    • Thanks for reading
    • Other resources
    • Encouraging message
    • Final sentence
    • Comment prompts
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But, of course, just like every writer/blogger is different, your outline will be different from this too! Like I said before, it takes a lot of experimenting, changing, and playing around to find the outline that works for you. The outline that works could be detailed descriptions of every paragraph, a simple map like this one, just the main questions, or no outline at all! (Although, an outline is always recommended!)


Step 3: Write!

Now that you have inspiration, the main questions answered, and an outline of your devotional, it’s finally time to actually write the devotional! Use your outline as a map of your devotional to help keep you on track. Don’t let your outline restrict your creativity – use it as a guide to help you create the best devotional possible!

Make sure to incorporate Bible verses along the way that clearly state your point and back up your message. Don’t forget to cite where you found the verse in the Bible (e.g. John 3:16) and the translation you’re quoting (e.g. MSG). Bible verses are an awesome way to connect the Bible to your devotional!

Make sure to use clear, easy-to-read sentences in your devotional. You don’t need to jazz it up with melodramatic metaphors or big words – I admit, I’m guilty of doing that in the past, haha. 😉 But, I’ve learned that simply stating the powerful message of your devotional has greater impact. Take a look at this: which paragraph is easier to understand?

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Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior, the Holy One, the Prince of Peace, dwindled on a cross so perhaps we could become emancipated of our transgressions and have perpetual life with Him forever.

Or: Jesus, our Savior, died on a cross so that we could be free of our sins and live with him eternally in Heaven.

The first one is a super exaggerated example – hopefully, nobody’s written a devotional like that, haha. But there’s a huge difference between the two sentences – the first one leaves you looking at the dictionary, and the other one reminds you why God died for you and leaves a little sense of peace. Keep in mind that simple is better!

After reading all of this post, you might feel a little overwhelmed – but writing a devotional is easier than you think! If you get stuck, use your outline and pray that God will use you to write something that will impact others. Remembering who you’re doing this for will help you keep going even at the toughest of writer’s block moments!


Step 4: Revise & Edit

You’ve found inspiration for what you’re writing about. You’ve answered questions and created an outline. You’ve written out the entire devotional, and even maybe added some graphics or a featured image. So, surely you’re done, right?

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Unfortunately, there is one last step. But don’t worry – this doesn’t take too long! Revising and editing are kind of like a double check to make sure everything is perfect. You correct mistakes, spelling, and grammar, strengthen your points, polish your sentences, and make sure everything is clear and concise.

To help with all of that, it’s nice to have an extra set of eyes look over your devotional and give you feedback. A great person for this is your mom, who will hopefully give you honest feedback! You can always ask your friends, blogging friends, or people on an online group such as The Young Writer’s Workshop Community.

The more people that read your devotional before you post it, the more opinions you’ll have – which can be a blessing AND a curse! Having too many different opinions and feedback will completely backfire, since you won’t know what to think! People will always disagree with you or other feedback, and you can’t please everybody. But, having a few people read over your post is a great way to revise and edit!

After you’ve gotten feedback from others, use their feedback to help edit! You don’t have to use other’s feedback if you’re on a crunch for time – for example, if I’m just writing a little blog post, I might not edit very much at all. But, if I’m submitting an article to a magazine, I would have several weeks’ worth of editing and rewriting to polish my devotional.

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Step 5: Publish!

All that’s left is to add tags, categories, and maybe some images, and you’re ready to hit publish!

Writing devotionals is a lot of hard work, but it’s super rewarding in the end. Not only will you help share a positive message and show Jesus to others through your writing, but you’ll also grow closer to Him through writing your devotionals!


Thank you so much for reading! I really hope you learned something new from this post, and that you were inspired to try writing a devotional of your own.

Did you learn anything from this post? Have you ever written a devotional? What’s YOUR number-one devotional-writing tip? Did you read the whole thing? 😛

PS. Before you go, we’d love it if you would reblog or sign up to be an author! Don’t forget to send us your prayer requests, too!

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Going Deep Into God’s Word | Guest Post By Ariana Evans (From Ariana’s Archives)

In today’s Christian culture, we see a lot of preaching, but not a lot of practicing what you preach. In fact, we’ve seen this throughout Biblical history. in Matthew 23:3, Jesus himself says,

“So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

Matthew 23:3

They were talkers, but not walkers. The Pharisees, (who Jesus was talking to in the verse above), preached many good things, but of course they also taught wrong things, like Jesus was not God, or the Oral Law (a man-made add-on to the Torah). We can see that throughout the Bible.

And just like the Pharisees, sometimes Christians can fall into the habit of talking, and not walking. As Christians, we are examples for non-believers. So, what are non-believers supposed to think? It’s fair for them to be very confused.

If I wasn’t a Christian, I would be confused if I saw some of the Christians I see today! I know a lot of “Christians” but I don’t know a lot of true Christians, who practice what they preach, who walk and not just talk.

I have this one friend who is extremely close to God and she truly searches out for the truth. She is a prayer warrior, an amazing friend, and she loves like crazy. That’s God in her life! I’ve rarely seen a Christian such as her.

My friend, who’s name shall remain unknown for her privacy’s sake, even differs on her beliefs than her parents because she has different beliefs, (it’s on a few small things, it’s not much), but I used to say, “My parents believe it so it’s right.” Of course, that’s when I was about seven-years-old, because I read the Bible, I had faith that was boundless, but I didn’t know the words theology, doctrine, or supernatural being.

Of course, my mother talked to me about these things, she always pushed me to be better and think deeper. I loved to think about motives of actions, since I was seven. I had probably heard those words, yet I didn’t know exactly what they meant. Now, as I’ve grown older, I’ve grown as a Christian.

Unfortunately, many people stay at a state where they aren’t growing as Christians. Then, when they get older, those people stray from the faith and trust in God and possibly all religions because they were never rooted in their own faith, they were holding their parents hands. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” If we do not have conviction, a firmly held belief, then we do not have true faith.

We hear a lot of sermons on doing good but we never make an effort to. We read a lot of quotes on being kinder but don’t try to be kinder. We see a lot of people that we admire but we don’t model ourselves after them.

Where’s the disconnect? I’ll tell you. It is this: Holding onto someone else’s faith, like your parent’s, instead of your own.Not looking out for answers for yourself. Not caring enough. “I will go to Heaven anyway…” or “It doesn’t matter. I’m not dead yet!”

Those are wrong attitudes/beliefs to have as a child of God. My challenge to you is this: Practice what you preach and believe in it to the fullest.

How to Start:

  • Read the Bible for yourself.
  • Look up root words and know their meanings instead of just reading them.
  • Ask questions!
  • And finally, just pray like you mean it!

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye. shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Matthew 7:7

And with that I leave you. Good bye and good luck! Thanks, Emmie, for letting me guest post. ❤

Meet The Guest Blogger:

Ariana Evans is a Christian teenager, who very much loves her family and friends. I she wants to be a lawyer and counselor when she grows up, and loves to write and practice photography. She was saved when she was four years old, and blogs at Ariana’s Archives.

Blog: https://arianasflyinglife.wordpress.com

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/ariana-i-evans

Pinterest:https://www.pinterest.com/arianaisabella1023/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/78127957-ariana-classified

Hey guys. It’s Emmie here. Thank you so much for reading! This was such an amazing guest post by Ariana, and I’m so amazed at how it turned out!

If you would like your guest post featured like this one, I am opening guest post submissions are now open! You can submit your guest post here, and I’m looking forward to seeing your guest posts!

Are you planning on submitting a guest post? What do you think about this topic?

PS. Before you go, we’d love it if you would reblog or sign up to be an author! Don’t forget to send us your prayer requests, too!

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5 Tools Every Christian Blogger Needs

Christian blogging is HARD.

Blogging in general isn’t easy, but Christian blogging especially can be really challenging. There’s so many different elements to it, difficult topics, and can be too close to home or really difficult to write – and then you have to worry about citing every Bible reference, making sure nothing conflicts with the Truth, proving your point in a clear and concise way that people can understand. And, of course, there are always going to be people who don’t agree with your views or don’t get it.

If blogging is so hard, then why do we do it? Because we have a voice that needs to be heard and a story that needs to be told. If you’re getting uninspired or discouraged with Christian blogging, think about who you’re doing this for. Spoiler alert: The whole purpose of this is to honor God and share his message.

So, I’ve put together a list of tools for Christian bloggers that will help make that blogging journey a little bit easier! So, let’s get right into it! (These aren’t in any particular order, and this post is not sponsored.)

keep reading

Hope in the Brokenness: A Mini Devotional

This world is broken.

That fact is so painfully true. That fact describes the people living on the streets, those suffering, sinning, hating, crying, breaking, all because sin entered the world.

Sometimes that makes you wonder: what was life like before this world was broken? Will it ever be healed again?

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

Genesis 1:31 | NIV |

God originally created this world perfectly. And God saw that it was good. That phrase pulses through Genesis 1, repeating over and over to give a point: The world was good.

There was no brokenness; no suffering; no sin; no hate; no tears; no pain. There was no night, there was no sickness. The world was whole, and God walked side-by-side with man.

But then came the fall. Sin entered the world, and God no longer dwelled with man because He cannot be around sin. And that perfect world was gone.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

1 John 2:16 | NIV |

But then Jesus came.

When Jesus sacrificed everything, took the form of an imperfect human, and died on the cross to take the punishment of our sins, we could finally enter Heaven. Someday we will be with God again. Someday we will belong to a perfect world.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 | NIV |

In Revelations 21, the Bible talks about the new Heaven and the new Earth being like a new Eden. A perfect, amazing world where God dwells with the people and everyone is happy.

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

1 John 5:4 | NIV |

So in your pain, in this broken world, know that there is hope. Someday the world will be made new.

Dear God, please help me to have hope. Help me to know that you are always there for me. I can’t wait for when the world is made new and when I will see You someday in Heaven. I know You are coming back someday. In the meantime, help me to do all I can to help make this world a better place. I love you, God, and I know you love me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed today’s devotional. Look at me being on time and actually posting this on Wednesday, haha. This topic is really important to me, and I believe that everyone needs a reminder that everything is going to be okay and that there is hope in this broken world.

On Saturday, guest post submissions will be open, so keep an eye out for that! Bye guys!

I encourage all of you to take the challenge! I would absolutely love it if you shared this post with anyone you think would like to do this challenge, so that way we can spread the word! Have a fantastic day, and don’t forget to hold the door! (Day 1’s challenge :P)

Are you excited for the day when we will get to meet Jesus (and each other!) in Heaven? Can you wait for the day when Jesus is coming? Did you like this devotional?

PS. Before you go, we’d love it if you would reblog or sign up to be an author! Don’t forget to send us your prayer requests, too!

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What Christians Forget About Their Identity: Finding YOU Behind Life’s Labels (Guest Post by Julia)

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Hey there people, my name is Julia.  I’m a writer, blogger, bookdragon, Ice cream lover, and a kazillion other things. (Annoying being one of those.)

You know what else I am? A Christian.

Now, if you’ve been around the blogosphere a time or two you may have noticed something.  Many bloggers, in their bios, mention a handful of things that define them – such as a writer, reader, entrepreneur, etc.  And in the same way, they will also include things like “Christian”, “Child of God”, “Believer”, and “Jesus follower” to let people know about their Faith in God.  This is all perfectly fine, I firmly believe that we who are saved should make it clear Who it is that we serve.  

HOWEVER.  

Christians have fallen into the incredibly deep pit of LABELS.  And this habit is starting to not only dampen our lives — but it’s also the very source of our IDENTITY PROBLEMS.

Do you call yourself a “writer”? — that tells people that you write (obviously) and gives them a picture of one of the things you spend your time doing. But, what if I was to take away that title – that label of a “writer” from you.  Guess what? You would still be you! Me taking away that label does absolutely nothing to change you.

Are you a “reader” or a “bookworm”? That tells us you like to read — a lot.  But if that label of a “reader” was taken away, you’d still be the same book-loving person as before.

The same is with an artist, or a plumber, or a chef – you strip them of their labels and they remain the same people.

Labels help define you, but they are not you.

-Colin Wright

This is because, like Colin Wright once said, these labels — they are an easy and fast way to let people know what sort of things you like to do or are interested in.  But they are still just labels – and no matter how well a label may describe you, it is still not truly who you are.

This is why people have such a hard time with their identity and knowing who they are.

Because we put so much on labels.  We want to be able to grasp a title and say “THIS IS WHO I AM” – but its not that easy, and often, even once you’ve found a title that fits you really well, you’ll still feel discontented because that’s not who you are – things that define something can never be that thing themselves.  

So how do you discover your true identity?

Speaking specifically to Christians, the answer to this is the same thing we forget while telling the world “I’m a Christian”.

We’re so busy using the title or label of a Christian, that we forget what that actually means.  We start to view it as this thing, something we put on as our identity – like clothes.

The key to truly finding our identities is in remembering that Christianity is NOT a label – Christianity is WHO WE ARE.  

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

Galatians 3:26 NIV

You are a child of the Great I AM. Once you were the child of Sin, but now you have been adopted into God’s family.  Which means, that old identity, that old name, that old person you used to be is GONE. Now you are a Christian and that’s not just some title or label that describes you.

THAT IS WHO YOU ARE – Inside – The REAL YOU.  

When you’re saved, that Sinful person dies and a new person is born – not on the outside, but on the inside – your identity – your very being is made new.  

A Christian is not WHAT I am, a Christian is WHO I am.

You can strip away my claims of being a “writer”, “reader”, or “blogger” –you can tear away all the labels I’ve ever used to describe myself — but you can NEVER, NEVER, take away my identity.

All those labels, they can be lost, after all, they’re only temporal – but my position as a child of GOD is ETERNAL.  

Because that’s the deepest part of who I am.

And behind all the labels – that’s who you are too.

So let’s not forget it.

Meet the Blogger:

Julia Skinner is a lover of fantasies, cleanliness, and sarcasm with a rather concerning fondness of sharp things. She dwells in the reclusive Texas countryside with her parents and 4 siblings where she bemourns her ruthless nemesis: MATH, fumes at her computer’s unresponsiveness whenever she attempts to do her college and buries herself between pages of words. Her existence solely relies on the constant, never-ending mercy of her Savior Jesus Christ and she lives to bring Him glory in all things.

Julia writes about all things inspiring, from books to hobbies, every week over at LITAFLAME.BLOG

FIND ME:

BLOG

INSTAGRAM

PINTEREST

GOODREADS


Hey guys. It’s Emmie here. I’m honestly at loss for words at how wonderful this post is and how incredible the message is. Thank you so much to Julia for writing it and congratulations to her on winning the giveaway!

If you would like your guest post featured like this one, I am opening guest post submission in a few weeks! (Think March 6). I’m looking forward to seeing your submissions!

Are you planning on submitting a guest post when submissions open? Did you like this post as much as I did? Do you find your identity in God, not labels?

PS. Before you go, we’d love it if you would reblog or sign up to be an author! Don’t forget to send us your prayer requests, too!

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Blessed.

I worked super hard on the new site design! I’d love it if you read this post on the website by clicking here.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and be thankful for all that God has done for us.

Today I heard my dad tell my mom to not worry about wasting because he found out that our insulin was free. Our insurance covers it.

Why am I telling you this? Because when I heard that I realized how incredibly blessed we are. How so many families struggle to get insulin and other basic needs for diabetics. How I need to be more thankful!

There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

You’ve seen this on signs, Bibles, home decor, posters. For me, just looking at this phrase conjures up images of a wooden sign with a brush font. But despite how common or cliche this saying might be, it really is true.

There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Because even if somehow you’re in the worst situation even possible, you’re trapped in the darkness and you’re broken inside, God still loves you. And that is something to be thankful for!

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

So today, I want you to take a look around you. At the food on your table, the roof over your head, and the clothes on your back. Because these are things that too many people don’t have. Be thankful, for you are blessed!

Thank you, Lord, for all of my blessings. Thank you for the little things. Thank you for the big things. Thank you, God, for running clean water and light and food and a home and a family. Thank you for all you do for me. Please help me to be thankful. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

(I’m ending my devotionals with prayer now, so you can follow along and pray with me or just read the prayer while you think about the devotional. What do you think?)

What do you think of the new design? The prayer at the end? What are you thankful for?

PS. Before you go, we’d love it if you would reblog or sign up to be an author! Don’t forget to send us your prayer requests, too!

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