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Strengthened by Connection


Second Sunday After Epiphany

SUNDAY, January 15
1 Corinthians 1:1-9

We all hate poor cell phone connection. In one second an entire conversation can be lost when the signal drops. We check the phone, making sure we didn’t cause the disconnection, then we go on a mission, lifting our phone high in the air to somehow catch a signal from a nearby tower. We know we have to get connected to the tower to keep our signal strong.

Our strength in Christ is found in our connection with him in our journey. The strength of testimony of Christ in our life is defined by our connection with him. We are in partnership with Jesus to carry his message of hope into the world around us. May you find strength in his message by being connected with him today.

Father, help me to connect with you deeply today so your message of hope can be shared with those around me. AMEN.

PRAYER FOCUS: CHRISTIAN UNITY

Lifted with Purpose


MONDAY, January 16
Psalm 40:1-3

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set
my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (vv. 1-2). 

I became a follower of Jesus when I was 16 years old. But after
I became a Christian, I continued to live a selfish life. It took me a
couple years to grasp what he was truly calling me to be as a follower. When I was 18, I hit a pretty low moment and found myself on my
knees begging God to use me and truly transform my life for his glory. When I arose, I found myself stepping into a new direction that led me into ministry. 

God knows our purpose and sees through our brokenness. He can lift us up and put us on the right trajectory to serve for his purpose and glory. Our darkest moments can be restored and used to share his good news with the world around us. Rest in that truth today.

Lord God, remind me of your love and your restorative work in my life. AMEN.

Master Influencer


TUESDAY, January 17
Psalm 40:4-5

“Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to
the proud, to those who go astray after false gods” (v. 4). 

In this age of social media we can find ourselves defining our value by likes and follows. We may even make the mistake of reading comments! Our hearts and minds are influenced by influencers. But if we aren’t careful, our identity can begin to be shaped by an algorithm.

We find our true comfort in the words of our Creator. His work of salvation through his son Jesus because of his great love for us is what defines our true image. When we put our trust in him, our self-esteem will not be determined by whether we get a thumbs up or a heart on a post. Rather we rest in his truth and work in our lives. He is the master influencer we place our hope in. His algorithm never changes.

Our Father in heaven, may I rest in your words about who I am and what
I mean to you as your beautiful creation.
AMEN.

PRAYER FOCUS:  RACIAL RECONCILIATION AWARENESS

No Tools Required


WEDNESDAY, January 18
Psalm 40:6-8

“Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required” (v. 6). 

I am not a huge fan of putting things together. I like it when I can just pull the item out of the box and see the words “No Tools Required.” Everything is done for me and I am able to rest in the product. It may sound lazy, but I find satisfaction in not having to work to enjoy something.

God has made it easy for us to step into relationship with him. He does not require anything of us, especially when his words are implanted on our heart. He does not require extra work—his works are sufficient. 

As you go through your day, remember God’s work is enough for you. Rest in his promises.

O my God, may your law be on my heart and may I remember you have done all the work necessary to bring me back to you. AMEN.

Sharing Is Caring


THURSDAY, January 19
Psalm 40:9-10

“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord” (v. 9).

My two-year-old son got a triceratops tattoo on his forearm. (Don’t worry, it was fake.) He loved the tattoo so much he showed everyone the art on his arm. I saw it at least 50 times in a period of five minutes, but he couldn’t wait to show the people in our church his masterpiece. Of course people were excited for him and he wore it with pride.

This is our call to respond to the grace we have received. We delight in the great work God has done in our lives and the mark he has left on our hearts. Sharing this message of love, hope, mercy, kindness, peace, and more is first on our lips daily. People need to hear it and our community of faith celebrates it with us always. Share it proudly.

Father, give me the boldness to share the joy and life I have received in you today. AMEN.

PRAYER FOCUS: A HUNGER FOR RIGHTEOUNESS

 

Never Alone


FRIDAY, January 20
Psalm 40:11-12

“Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever” (v. 11). 

One day I took my kids to play at the park, and they were having a great time. Suddenly I heard my son yell, “Daddy! Help me!” His foot had gotten stuck in a bridge crossing from one playset to the other. The fear on his face when his foot wouldn’t come free was hard to see, but he found relief when he saw me coming. He knew he could count on me to be there for him in his moment of fear. 

This is how our heavenly Father wants us to be with him. Cry out to him in your fear and struggles. He wants you to trust him with your needs and concerns. It may seem as if there is no hope to be found or the trials are too numerous, but we have a God who sees us and knows what we need. He is our rescuer.

Our Father in heaven, may I remember your promise to be my rescuer in time of need. AMEN.

Great Is the Lord


SATURDAY, January 21
Psalm 40:13-17

“May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’” (v. 16). 

When people say hurtful things about us it can be hard. When we lose a friendship due to another’s anger or jealousy, it can be disheartening. It is never easy to deal with that type of pain. We often try to take matters into our own hands by responding with our own anger, blocking them on social media, or even trying to explain and justify ourselves. But all that does is cause more frustration and stress because the cycle will never end.

When we place our trust in God and allow him to humble us and
keep us focused on who he is, we find peace. He is our helper. He is
our deliverer. He brings us comfort when we are in distress. Great is
our Lord and his faithfulness.

Our Father in Heaven, when my friends or enemies hurt me, may I remember your truth and know you protect me. AMEN.

PRAYER FOCUS: HUNGER FOR OUR LEADERS

About the Author

  • Bobby Benavides

    I was raised in Southern California, and moved to Philippi, West Virginia, in 2003 to work with World Vision-Appalachia. I met my wife, Natasha, during my undergraduate work at Alderson-Broaddus College (now University). We now live in Elkins and have four wonderful children. We planted One Hope Covenant Church (formerly New Community Elkins) in 2017, which has been an adventure. I enjoy reading, writing, playing with my children, and sharing the message of hope and restoration I carry for the glory of God. I am also a standup comedian, author, and podcaster. I have written several books, and my first children’s book was released in 2021 and has won several awards. My hope is to see people understand the truth of Jesus Christ for their lives and to love peoples he called us to love for his glory to be shown.

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