August 2024 Devotional: Meditating on God’s Word

By Captain Jan Pemberton
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary Cascade Division

When we look at the word meditation, we think of someone on a yoga mat with their legs crossed in the lotus position chanting or something similar to that type of scenario. That is not the case when we look at meditating on the word of God. When we look at ways to take the time to meditate on the word of the Lord, we can set ourselves up for success in reading scripture. This time is also be seen as a time of contemplation. Some of us look to steal away to a quiet retreat, such as our offices with the door closed, some of us thrive and flourish in our alone time in a bustling coffee shop, and some of us like to listen to instrumental Christian or Classical music in our headphones to drown out the world around us. No matter how you recharge your spiritual batteries and meditate on the word of God, that moment in time is sacred and special.

When we are in Christian meditation, we can take our time reading the scripture God laid on our hearts at that moment or one our daily devotions have suggested. We can take the time to pray and meditate upon God’s word in a way that gives us time alone with the Holy Spirit to guide us into a deeper relationship with Christ. When we are in the midst of our meditative time with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, we are taking the time to think deeply, to prepare our hearts and our minds for the time we are about to have with the blessed Trinity and to prepare ourselves for how they will speak into our lives through our prayer time.

God’s Holy Spirit is there to help us when we are looking for guidance to learn more about Christ and His word and how He lived His life here on earth. There are many Scriptures that invoke meditative rest while in the presence of the Lord. A few are

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm19:14

“Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.” Psalms 48:9-10

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

When we take the time to ponder the word and take the time to listen to what the Holy Spirit wants us to learn from scripture, we cannot rush this precious time. Take time to practice deep, slow breaths, and this will cause your body and mind to become calm and focused on what God wants to learn from your studies. This is a time of quiet, receptive prayer without words, and during this time, we can experience and enjoy the presence of God.

When we take the time to meditate on the Lord and His word, we not only can experience true peace, but through the Holy Spirit, we can experience perfect peace! When we have times of anxiety, frustration, and depression, there is nothing that can match the perfect peace we can receive from God’s word.

As we prepare to take the time to meditate on God’s word and rest in His presence and perfect peace while waiting for an answer in his time, this is a time when we can ask ourselves some questions to seek God’s answer.

When we look at meditating on God’s word, we must also look at the verses that speak into our lives and keep those scriptures close to us and have them written on our hearts. This is where memorization comes into our time with God. When we pray to the Lord, the Holy Spirit is there to bring those verses that have impacted our lives in times of great stress, worry, doubt, and great joy. This is why reading our Bible is essential and goes hand in hand with a productive prayer life. This act of memorization of scripture is not to stress us out more it is a time to reflect on passages that spoke into our lives.

Father God, I pray that I take the time for the rest, renewal, and refreshment that I need for my soul. Lord, when I can take time to myself to seek comfort in your word, let me do so with an intentional heart. Allow me the time of refreshment and time with you to comfort me while I am comforting others. As I pour into others, let me take the time to allow you to pour into me. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

We can ask ourselves the following questions as we prepare for our time with God.

  1. How can I prepare and focus my heart and mind to be fully committed to this time of contemplation with God?
  2. Is my space conducive to making this time with God intentional?
  3. How has God spoken to me through events in my life?
  4. What scriptures has God placed on my heart that I know by memory? How can I use them in my life and in my ministry to others?

Below are some tips for author Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s book “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us” (page 194) on memorization, and we can use these tips to kick start our time of meditating on God’s word and writing those words on our hearts.

DESIRE: To always carry the life-shaping words of God in me and in all places.

DEFINITION: Memorization is the process of continually remembering the words, truths, and images God uses to shape us. Memorization provides us with a store of learning, which can be accessed anywhere and anytime.


  • “Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long.” Psalm 119:97
  • “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
  • Then they remembered his words.” (Luke 24:8) “I think it is right to refresh your memory. . . . And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.” 2 Peter 1:13, 15

PRACTICE INCLUDES: Memorizing Scripture, hymns, poems, quotes, etc., rereading portions of Scripture until they are committed to memory, memorizing Scripture verses that clearly reveal God’s plan of salvation, memorizing the books of the Bible, particular dates and times as well as where various verses are found learning by heart portions of Scripture that encourage you when you are tempted.

GOD-GIVEN FRUIT: Keeping company with Jesus by hiding his Word in your heart, recollecting God-given encouragement and exhortation, developing a habit of remembering that anchors your life in biblical truth, committing to memory Scripture, hymns, poems, and quotes that God is using in your life, knowing where well-loved portions of Scripture are located.

Download a printable version of this devotional:

July 2024 Devotional: Hospitality

By Major Tina Bottjen
Mat-Su Valley, AK Corps – Alaska Division

Growing up, I had always viewed hospitality as throwing elegant parties with the best foods that took all day to prepare. Hospitality, in my understanding, took valuable time, money, and effort. It was a gift for those that were extroverts that had lots of time and money on their hands. However, in the summer of 2005, my understanding of hospitality would be forever changed in a wonderful and powerful way.

Any officer in The Salvation Army can tell you, we move…. sometimes a lot, and almost always in the summer. In our officership here in the USA Western Territory, many of our moves have always happened around my youngest daughter’s birthday (Mid July). The timing of these moves often made it, so her birthdays were often a “family only” affair with no friends or even children her age there to celebrate with her.

We had just experienced such a move, one that took us from New Mexico to Alaska (thousands of miles away). Soon after moving, I was working alongside a volunteer, sorting items for the little thrift store attached to the back of the corps building. I shared how bad I felt for my daughter that so often her birthday was a small, family only event. She promptly told me, “Get me some invitations, I’ll give them out to some of the families I know with children her age. I can’t promise that anyone will show up, but I can promise to give out the invitations.” I went home and put the invitations together and gave them to her. I honestly didn’t expect anything to come from it though, who would want to come to a birthday party for someone they didn’t even know?

The day of my daughter’s birthday arrived, and we told her it was going to be a family birthday party (again, not much hope that anyone would show up.) We decorated for her party, as we always did. Just in case people did show up, I had hidden games, prizes, and goodie bags in my room. We took it slow that morning, wasting time with poor excuses for delaying the opening of gifts and eating goodies until the time I had put on the invitations arrived. It would be an understatement to say she was a little frustrated thinking we were just being ornery by making her wait.

As the time drew near, a car pulled up our driveway and out jumped a couple of girls her age, then another car pulled up, more kids, and then another! That day, 12 young girls came to celebrate the birthday of a young girl they had never met. As I took out the hidden games (including a piñata!), gift bags, and prizes, there were happy tears, laughter, and joy. They played games, ate too much food, and they gave her birthday gifts! We met several parents that day, people we would soon call friends. This gift of hospitality was so amazing, and soon we would call this place our hometown.

Scripture makes it very clear that hospitality is not only a gift and an expectation, but it is a requirement for believers. Romans 12:10-13 (NIV) tells us, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines hospitality as, “generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests or hospitable treatment.” Hospitality is a way of living, a way of interacting with and sharing our life and time with those around us, all the time. Hospitality is letting people know they belong, not only in our homes, but also in our lives, and our community.

That day, my whole family felt welcomed and included in a community that we all still call home. Our lives were changed, because one woman shared her gift of hospitality by passing out birthday invitations, bringing twelve young girls and their families into our lives to celebrate our child and to welcome a new family to town.

June 2024 Devotional: Forgiveness

By Major Gaylene Yardley
Divisional Women’s Ministries SecretarySouthwest Division

Note: This devotional coordinates with this month’s craft, Soap Carving, and this month’s Bible Study.

Can you say that you have not sinned today? Listen to this prayer.

Dear Lord,
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossiped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.
I’m really glad about that.

But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I’m going to need a lot more help.

I feel this way many times. I’m doing great God and then…My dinner burns, I drop the milk on the floor, someone almost hit me at the left turn, my boss told me I am getting extra work for my plate, my kids played hide and seek in the clean laundry, and on and on.

When things like this happen, I get mad, I say things in my head that I can’t say out loud, I resent people for their actions that I have no power over. Life happens and we must realize that we do sin daily in our actions or in our thoughts.

1 John 1:8 tells us, “If we say we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” The passage goes on to say (v. 9), “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The soap we will use in our craft is a great reminder of this verse. We can be cleansed from our sins only through Jesus Christ, but we have to confess those sins to Him. Sometimes it is hard to admit our wrongs, our mistakes, our actions that we have done. I don’t like to admit when I am wrong. I want it just to all go away, but it doesn’t until I confess it to the Lord. Then it is all gone. What a great promise to us that he is faithful in forgiveness. I pray that you are grateful that Jesus loves you enough to wash your sins away and to do it anytime and anyplace you come to Him with your sins. It can be while you are working, vacuuming, eating dinner, going to bed, Jesus meets you where you are.

Maybe someone has been unkind to you. Maybe you have been hurt by someone close to you. Maybe you feel you can’t forgive them. C. S. Lewis said this, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.” It’s a great concept until it’s you who must forgive someone you do not feel deserves it. In Matthew 18:21 and 22 we read some very difficult information. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times”? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” NIV

So, do you deserve forgiveness? Perhaps you might think a bit differently after reading this verse. None of us deserve the forgiveness we have in Christ Jesus, but it is a gift from Him for the sins of the world that He took upon Himself. Jesus extended this forgiveness to you, so why don’t you extend it to another person who has wronged you? Remember Ephesians 4:32 NLT says, “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God through Christ Jesus has forgiven you. “

The plan for our lives as followers of Jesus is to ask for forgiveness and to extend that to others as well.

May our prayer be:

Thank you Lord for helping me through the day and forgiving me for my sins and for helping me to forgive those who wronged or hurt me today. I am glad to receive your forgiveness and to extend it to others. Amen

September 2024 Devotional: 11 Powerful Daily Prayers to Help You Start Your Morning Off Right

By Captain Irene Castro
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary – Del Oro Division

Some people of faith might not want to admit it, but most can probably remember a time when reciting a daily prayer or two was not exactly a part of their everyday routine. For many, daily prayer is something they turn to when life becomes stressful, difficult, or saddening. It can be easy to forget about the habit when life is busy or when everything is going well. But having a daily habit of healing through prayer is a great way to stay grounded in your faith on a day-to-day basis and prioritize reflective time between you and God. Reading a prayer for today will not only help you feel closer to God but can also relieve daily stress and anxiety. But if it’s been a while since you read Bible scripture, finding a place to start can feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s helpful to have some short go-to Bible verses and prayers that can provide guidance and strength through every season of your life, whether you pray every day, week, month, or barely at all. The most important thing to remember, though, is that no matter how often you pray, God is always ready to listen. Here are some helpful tips on how to get started.

Prayer 1: Prayer for Mornings
Good morning, Lord! Today’s a new day, a chance for a new start. Yesterday is gone and with it all regrets, mistakes, or failures I may have experienced. It’s a good day to be glad and give thanks, and I do, Lord. Thank you for today, a new opportunity to love, give, and be all that you want me to be. Amen. — Rebecca Barlow Jordan

Prayer 2: Prayer for Strength
Father in heaven, I stand before You today in Your omnipotent presence to ask that You grant me strength. I want You to give me the strength to power through all of the tasks today — whether little or big. It is by Your will that I live oh Lord. And I know it is also by Your will I will not go weak today. I will not go lazy nor I will fail to do all things set before me because You strengthen me. Thank You for Your everlasting presence, Lord and in Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer 3: Prayer for Strength to Endure
Lord, I am weary and don’t know when this “race” will end in my life. I feel like I’ve been running forever, trying to outrun this trial. Help me to stop trying to outrun my pain but rather run with endurance the race you have set before me. I know that because of you I am ultimately a victor over the trials in my life. I know that nothing in this world can separate me from your steadfast love. Please give me a measure of your love today; give me the strength to endure this trial. Thank you for your love for me that never ends! And thank you for the crown of joy that awaits me forever in your Kingdom! — Adrian Rogers

Prayer 4: Prayer for Peace
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, forgive; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. — The Prayer of St. Francis

Prayer 5: Prayer for Forgiveness
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. — The Lord’s Prayer

Prayer 6: Prayer for Comfort
The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters; he keeps me alive. He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff — they protect me. You set a table for me right in front of my enemies. You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over! Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the LORD’s house as long as I live. — Psalms 23: 1-6

Prayer 7: Prayer for Gratitude
Lord, thank you for your abundant, abounding grace. Thank you that we don’t have to earn a drop of the mighty river of grace that flows freely for us today. Thank you for the unexpected, unmerited favor you’ve showered on my life. Help me put myself in the path of your love and grace. Help me not neglect the disciplines I need to meet with you regularly and to drink from the water of life. Thank you for your rich love. Amen.— David Mathis

Prayer 8: Prayer for Serenity
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen. — The Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr

Prayer 9: Prayer for Counsel
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. — Lead Me, Thomas Merton

Prayer 10: Stand Strong in You
Dear Lord, I don’t know who or what will cross my path today. But I do know that You are my Rock and my Fortress. You are my Shield and my Strong Tower. Help me to anchor myself to You today. Teach me how to stand strong in You and choose only Your way today. Help me walk by Your truth and not my feelings. Help me to embrace anything that comes my way as an opportunity to see You at work and as an opportunity to point others to You. Thank You that You love me, and nothing can ever take that away from me! Even if I fail today and fall short, you whisper Your unconditional love deep into my soul and remind me that Your mercies are new every morning. That truly amazes me, Lord. Thank You for meeting with me today. Would You wake me again tomorrow with the same sweet whisper of Your love? I can’t wait to meet with You again. In Jesus’ name, Amen. — Wendy Blight

Prayer 11: A Powerful Prayer
Today is a new day and it’s filled with different possibilities. I pray that You oh Lord in above perform miracles in the life of “insert name.” He/she shall not lack, and any mountain set before him/her today shall be reduced to a steppingstone. As today ends, let songs of praises be sung in Your Holy Name. Miracles, blessings, and divine protection will “name” have in each and every one of his/her days. I exalt You Lord and I thank You for the grace. Amen.

Download a printable version of this devotional:

May 2024 Devotional: Taming the Tongue in Prayer

By Captain Charlene Morrow
Monterey Peninsula, CA Corps – Golden State Division

Have you ever heard the phrase “Pics or it didn’t happen?” This term originated in the early 2000’s in chat rooms. The phrase means “show us photographic evidence of your adventures or we are forced to assume you are lying about the whole thing!” Now that social media has turned into so much more than chat rooms, it is a standard marketing tool for companies, celebrities, and the average Joe. Most of those using social media platforms post the “pic” without even being prompted. So many users cannot just say they are having an amazing adventure, they feel as though they must prove it as well.

How does this concept relate to our prayer lives? Matthew 6:5-8 says:

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

When Jesus is preaching the sermon on the mount in Matthew chapter 6, one of the topics he addresses is prayer. Some of the key components of how to pray and how not to pray are: DO NOT pray like the hypocrites, who love to pray standing so they can be seen by others. DO, go into the room, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. DO NOT keep babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard for their many words. YOUR Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Questions we can ask ourselves and reflect upon our prayer life:

  • How do you pray? Is it a quiet time of petition?
  • Do you offer praises to our God of thanksgiving?
  • Are you keeping others around you in your prayers, or are your prayers to the Lord mostly requesting intervention for your own benefit?
  • Do you pray alone or with others?
  • Do you offer your petitions out loud in the Bible study group or Sunday school class?
  • What is the motive behind the prayer? Are you “babbling” to be seen and heard?

God already knows our prayers and the desires and woes of our hearts. It is okay that we should want to share our victories and struggles with our fellow believers. That encourages the godly fellowship we should have in our church community. However, we should be careful we are not falling into a “photographic evidence required” lifestyle. We do not need to carry on, to each other or to God, to “prove” that our prayer is valuable enough, real enough, or of the highest priority. God knows! Our Father sees what is done in secret. The challenge we have is to tame the tongue in our prayer lives! Let us not get too carried away with the babbling on to God or the sharing of prayer requests with each other, that we forget who the prayer is intended for!

1 John 5:14-15 says:

 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

April 2024 Devotional: Sinful

By Major Beth Desplancke

Recently, while stopped at a stoplight I noticed the vehicle’s license plate in front of me. It was a personalized one – people pay extra to have a personalized plate that says something about them. Well, this one was kind of shocking. The license read: SNFUL (sinful).

Why would someone pay for that? And then to add to the sinful state of the person in the vehicle ahead of me, the tabs expired 2 1/2 years ago!

I chewed on the message of the license plate all the way to work that morning. I guess it is good that the person who owned that vehicle acknowledges the fact that he or she is sinful. But how many of us like to acknowledge the fact we sin. It isn’t a label we like to claim.

If we have received Christ as our Savior, we are saved from our sins. We love to wear the label that we have been saved by His grace, and we are. But we need to remember that we are still sinners, we are still sinful. The Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to Timothy, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst” (1Timothy 1:15).

The Apostle Paul had an amazing encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus (Acts 9), and he was forever changed. He knew that God’s grace saved him from the sin he committed (before his conversion with Christ he was helping to round up followers of Jesus and take them to prison).

Yes, Jesus does save us from our sins. We have gone from being dead to alive and become new creations in Him (see Ephesians 2:1-5, 2 Corinthians 5:17), but we are still sinners. We are still capable of and will continue to struggle with sin this side of heaven. We must never think that we are beyond the lure and grasp of sin. Yes, I am a sinner saved by grace – Hallelujah! Yes, I have been freed from the power of sin, but the struggle with sin is still there. I can never take for granted that I am still sinful. As I have grown in my walk with Jesus (for the past 46 years – yes, I am old), my desire to sin lessens. Those sinful things that I thought were fun when I was younger, no longer have an appeal or pull to me. I am not sinless, but I desire to sin less.

Seeing the license plate and the word “SINFUL” emblazed in front of me that morning was a great reminder to check myself and examine my own heart for where sin is present in my life. In her book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun writes this about the discipline of confession and self-examination, “Self-examination is a process whereby the Holy Spirit opens my heart to what is true about me. This is not the same thing as a neurotic shame-inducing inventory. Instead it is a way of opening myself to God within the safety of divine love so I can authentically seek transformation. Confession embraces Christ’s gift of forgiveness and restoration while setting us on the path to renewal and change (p. 101).”

I need to not run away from that label. I am a sinner and I sin. 1 John 1:8 states, If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. I need to acknowledge that I sin. I need to admit my sin to God. Admission is not all that I must do. I need to then confess my sin to Him. In 1 John 1:9 we read of this beautiful promise that comes with our confessing our sins to the Lord: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. The confession isn’t just admitting the sin. True confession includes a sorrowfulness for sin, and a desire to not do it again.

I don’t know why a person chose that license plate, but it was a great reminder for me.

March 2024 Devotional: Christ Truly Understands Our Suffering

By Major Harryette Raihl
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary
Southern California Division

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Isaiah 53:3

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Philippians 3:10

Christ offers us comfort because He truly understands suffering. We can find support from friends, loved ones and others but only the Lord can truly comfort each one of us as someone who completely understands all of our suffering. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus came to strengthen and support us in our hour of need. One way to look at this is to realize that Chris, by His suffering on the cross, restored our relationship with our Creator.

All throughout the Bible we read how He understands that we are a people who often feel hurt, bruised, or broken. Jesus alone can bring the healing that we need…because Jesus understands our personal pain. We are completely known! What a Blessing!

Christ realizes that you will suffer—sometimes because we live on a broken planet filled with broken people, sometimes as a result of our own poor choices, and still other times simply because we are a follower of Christ. But amidst all of this we can hold onto some simple truths or promises:

  1. Jesus understands pain.
  2. Jesus won’t crush you in times of brokenness.
  3. Jesus came to bring you freedom through His suffering.

We all can trust in God’s comfort because He sent Jesus on our behalf. Our suffering doesn’t mean the Lord doesn’t Love us. Instead of us trying to avoid suffering, we can look towards Jesus and then realize…He can use the good and the bad in our lives to draw us nearer to Him each and every day. Oh, what love He has for us!

The Lord told the people in Isaiah’s time that he would send someone (a Servant) to save them. We know that His name is Jesus and we can benefit from knowing that this Jesus understands what we are and will be going through. Jesus himself suffered more than we could ever imagine in our human minds and in this suffering we have such a good example. Christ never turned his back on God nor cursed the Lord for all of the things that he knew he would suffer at the hands of the people who condemned him and hung him on the cross. Christ simply trusted in His Father.

And so we now can worship the Holy One in EVERY season. WE can sing even on dark days because Jesus is the Servant of the Lord who will not crush us but He will free us. We can be comforted because we have such a tender and loving Christ. He is our hope when life is dark and difficult and our companion when things are going more smoothly.

We simply need to pray and ask Jesus to help us to have a biblical view of suffering so that we can understand when we feel broken, on the verge of burn-out, alone, discouraged, or hopeless, that our Lord Jesus Christ truly understands all of these feelings and can comfort us no matter what we are facing.

Charles Spurgeon (Known as the Prince of Preachers) explained it as this: “Jesus was a man not of sorrow only, but of sorrows. All the sufferings of the body and of the soul were know to him; the sorrows of the man who actively struggles to obey; the sorrows of the man who sits still, and passively endures. Affliction made Jesus heart the target for all conceivable woes.

Sometimes we think that we have it so very bad, don’t we. We think that our struggles and problems…or sufferings….are unlike anything or what anybody else has ever been through. I think in our mind we know that this is simply not true, but at that point we are hurting so badly that our thoughts tend to think along that line.

Aren’t you so very grateful that Jesus understands and knows us through and through. We do not even need words. And the most important thing to remember is that…..because of this understanding—Christ Comforts us!

I am sure that we cannot fully understand all of the suffering of Christ that he had to endure here on earth, but it can ease our minds to know that Christ understands true suffering and thus is so compassionate with all of us who call upon His name.

Download a printable version of this devotion:

February 2024 Devotional: Let’s Unplug

By Captain Amelia Mott
Olympia, WA Corps
Northwest Division

“If my phone dies, I die.”

“I was lost this week without my phone, I am not sure how I survived.”

“I bet my phone has exploded with all the texts I missed while away at camp.”

“I wonder if my phone missed me?”

“The first thing I am going to do when I get home is turn on my phone and see what I missed.”

All of those quotes are from campers heading to and from camp this past year, as campers are not allowed to bring their phones to summer camp. The goal is to allow them to spend time with each other, in nature and have fun, and not be glued to their phones, texting, scrolling and watching videos 24/7. As we read those quotes, it might at first glance seem like these campers are being very dramatic and we might brush it off, as kids being kids. But if we paused to reflect, could we as women, as adults be away from our phones for a week? A day? An hour? Would we be able to unplug? Would we be able to relax our minds and enjoy a week without cell service or Wi-Fi? And the answer to this for many of us, that it might be difficult to truly unplug.

John Mark Comer, in his book the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, states, “the average iPhone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times a day.” And from the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun reminds us that we live “in a world where people use the Internet an average of thirty hours a week and keep the TV or radio on 7.9 hours a day, we need to get unplugged from virtual reality and address our addiction to technology and the toxins it brings into our lives.” And all these distractions can keep us from carving out time to spend with God, in quiet and in solitude with no distractions around us.

Again, in the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook helps us remember that “unplugging recognizes that personal beings are created for personal interaction by a personal God. We need to be touched. We need non verbal signals. We need uninterrupted spaces in our lives for the presence of God and the presence of others.” So where do we go from here? Well, we go back to the basics, as Psalm 46: 10a: “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

First, we are made to spend time with God, and when we are still he provides peace, comfort, love, wisdom and support. He supplies everything we could ever need. Technology can make us feel isolated at times, but we have access to God 24/7 and He will always be there for us.

And even Jesus, went away and spent time with God when he was here on earth to be refreshed and renewed. Jesus knew that time with the Father is priceless, and nothing can take its place. Sometimes we can be tricked into thinking a form of technology can provide that for us, but only God can.

This coming week, the challenge is to carve out more time with God and less time on our phones, tablets etc. Guaranteed, you will notice the difference.

Second, take time to spend time in fellowship with others. The Passion translation of Proverbs 27:9 states, “Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like anointing oil, that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.” We were built to be in community and friendship with others and when we do that our souls are refreshed and renewed. A hug from a friend can make a big difference. There is nothing like the sound of laughter filling a room that can turn our day around. And technology can’t replace that.

The second challenge for this week is to spend time in friendship and community with others, filling living rooms and coffee shops with joy and laughter. Spend time listening and praying with one another and leaning on each other for support.

Let’s carve out time carving out time for God and others, forgetting about our phones and tablets and be refreshed and renewed. Let’s unplug!

January 2024 Devotional: What’s All This About Journaling

By Major Millie Bearchell, Retired

Growing up in a rather large family, 7 kids and two parents, we lived a life that was by today’s standards, “lower middle class.” We didn’t have a lot of material items, my 3 sisters and I shared one bedroom, and we had just one station wagon to get us places. I look back and the memories I have are good ones. We may not have had many worldly possessions, but what we had was enough.

When my parents were promoted to glory and it was time to clean out their small apartment, one of the items I desired the most was one or two of my mother’s journals. I enjoy from time to time, randomly picking up one of her journals and reading what she wrote on a specific day. Even to this day, my eyes tear up when I see her beautiful handwriting, making my heart ache for her. I love to read what she had to share, a special scripture on her heart, a hymn she was thinking about, commenting on one of her children or grandchildren. There was nothing philosophical or deep theological thoughts, just sweet musings of her blessed life and her gratitude for all she had.

I believe I have inherited her love of journaling. I journal almost every day and much of my journaling takes place in the early morning, with my cup of coffee, my favorite pen, my current journal, and my Bible. So much of what I journal has to do with Scripture verses that have spoken to me, what God is doing in my life, and just random thoughts. My journal is also where I keep my prayer lists. I love to put names, situations, that have been given to me to pray for, but also those things that come to mind. I love to refer to past prayer lists and see how God has been so faithful in his answering those requests according to His will and time.

Last year as Brian and I were planning for retirement, I was grieving over losing “my” flock. One morning in prayer and journaling, I asked God where my new flock in retirement would be? The answer I received so clearly was, “your grandchildren.” I have 7 amazing grandchildren ranging from 16 years to 3 months, and each one of them precious to me. God told me to get them their own journal and to begin journaling to them in their book. January 2022, I began to write in 6 of those journals, adding the newest one in February of this year. I do not write every day, but I do write in their journal on their birthday, when they have done well in school, or excelled on their sport team. I always write that I pray for them constantly, that I’m proud of them, and that I love them.

The legacy that was left to me by my mother has been the impetus behind this new endeavor for my new flock. My desire is that when my grandchildren read their personal journal, see my handwriting, they will treasure the words and sentiments I have given to them. I have not decided when or what age I will give it to them, or if it will go to them upon my promotion to glory. But for now, I will write to each of my flock, making sure they know how special they are to me and more importantly how special they are to Jesus.
Spiritual writer Henri Nouwen said, “writing can untangle thoughts, express our emotions, and give artistic expression to life.” Writing is a spiritual habit: Writing can be a true spiritual discipline.

“Writing can untangle thoughts, express our emotions, and give artistic expression to life.”

Henri Nouwen

Journaling helps you declutter your mind, which leads to better thinking. Writing in a journal also sharpens your memory and improves your learning capability. There’s a reason why when you take the time to pen your thoughts, plans, and experiences, you remember them better, while also feeling more focused.

I love what Psalm 5:1-3 states, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, My king and my God, for to you I pray. My voice You shall her in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.”

Journaling is a way of slowing life down for even a few moments. Covered in prayer, and saturated with God’s Word, journaling can be a powerful way of hearing God’s voice in the Scriptures and making known to Him our requests.

I came across this anonymous quote which adds value to the idea of journaling. “One of the more effective acts of self-care is also, happily, one of the cheapest.”

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

Download a printable version of this devotional

December 2023 Devotional: Celebration of God’s Promises

By Captain Felicia LeMar
Hilo Temple, HI
Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

In the book of Zephaniah, we find beautiful promises that are worth celebrating who we are in Christ. These beautiful promises are so needed for us today, especially in the world we live in. With the demands of our daily lives, we can become easily overwhelmed. We find ourselves juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, which leads us to find validation and love from the world around us. This leads us down a path filled with insecurities and hurt. But in Zephaniah 3:17, we can celebrate the promise of knowing God is with us, He takes delight in us, He no longer rebukes us, and He rejoices over us with singing.

The Lord God is With You

As we celebrate the birth of our loving Savior, we can be assured that God is with us every day of our lives. Matthew 1:23 says, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). God’s presence is always with us and is a reminder of His love for us through the birth of His Son Jesus Christ. This means no matter where we go, God’s presence is with us always. In fact, God is already there and waiting for us! We learn this through Psalm 139:7-10.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

Knowing God is always present, provides us with comfort through our joys and sorrows. Through these times, He is celebrating us in our joys and comforting us in our sorrows. As Christians, we can be confident in knowing we are always in the presence of God.

God Delights in You

The Creator of the Universe takes delight in us. What an amazing thought! Our Heavenly Father sees us as His beloved daughters and takes delight in us. We are all unique in our own ways. No one in the whole entire world is exactly alike! Psalm 139:14 says, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Sisters in Christ, when we are feeling unworthy, celebrate the promise of how God takes delight in each of us individually!

He Will No Longer Rebuke You

Our God is a gracious, loving Father. We see this through the birth and death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was born to redeem us from the sin and brokenness in this world. Isaiah 9:6 says, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We no longer live in the darkness of our past mistakes, failures, and sins. These no longer define us, and we can celebrate the freedom we have in Christ. We are daughters of God who are forgiven, redeemed, and made new.

Rejoice Over You with Singing
Our God rejoices over us with singing! The meaning of the phrase “rejoice over you” literally means “dance, skip, leap and spin around in joy.” He loves us so much, that it brings Him all the joy that we are His daughters. I imagine God rejoicing over us, just as the angels rejoiced over the birth of Jesus in the book of Luke. The angels sang praises to God, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14) Today, let’s celebrate God’s rejoicing over us as His beloved daughters.

Dear sisters in Christ, let this verse be celebrated and remain forever in our hearts as a beautiful reminder of God’s promises!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Dear gracious heavenly Father, we thank you for your Word. We are so humbled by your love for us and how you take delight in us. We praise you for how amazing your love for us is, that you will no longer look at our past mistakes and failures, instead you rejoice over us with singing! Lord, we ask in our times of doubts, feelings of unworthiness, and uncertainties that we continue to praise you as our Mighty Warrior who comes to save us! We love you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen