ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY

Encouragement for Today 9th January 2023 – Divine Fingerprints Everywhere

Encouragement for Today 9th January 2023
Encouragement for Today 9th January 2023 Devotional, Monday Message (Proverbs31 Ministries). As you study today’s devotional, remember this; “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT)

Divine Fingerprints Everywhere
by Shauna Niequist

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:7-12 (NIV)

Encouragement for Today 9th January 2023 MESSAGE

Last fall, our younger son, William, started middle school, and that meant I needed to walk him to school and from school every day, about a 30-minute walk each way.

It’s a good thing, really — it’s great one-on-one time, and it’s good exercise.

But for the first month, getting used to it was embarrassingly hard — after more than two years of William walking with friends to his school just one block over, this new schedule felt like a lot … I was always late and dressed wrong for the weather, and my legs were mortifyingly sore, as though I were training for a marathon, not just walking to the West Village.

Something shifted, though, about six weeks into this new routine: I found that I’d started to look forward to it. My legs weren’t constantly tired anymore, and the part of the walk I did alone — after dropping him off or on the way to meet him in the afternoons — started to become one of my favorite times of the day.

I started what I call “delight hunting,” being on the lookout for beautiful, interesting or funny things: an ivy-covered building; the sun glinting off the Hudson River; a dog in a backpack, his front paw slung over his owner’s shoulder in such a human way that I still giggle when I think about it. I found a little secret garden near the school and sometimes left home early to sit there in the quiet. The walk became a source of delight, and I began to see God’s divine fingerprints everywhere. The psalmist of Psalm 139 seems to have felt the same way:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:7-12).

We see what we’re looking for. You know the phenomenon: You buy a Jeep Wrangler, and all of a sudden it seems like every third car on the road is a Wrangler. When you get a puppy, everywhere you go, there are puppies! Were there always this many puppies?

The opposite is true, too, of course. When you wonder if a friend is mad at you, every text from that friend supports your sneaking suspicion. After a series of delayed or canceled flights, when you look at the “arrivals and departures” board, all you see are the delays.

We see what we’re looking for, and what I’m looking for these days is delight. Beauty. Evidence of God’s sacred presence all around us and within us, in the face of every person on the sidewalk, in the intricacy of the flowers in that secret garden, in the sky as the sun rises and sets everything ablaze.

Theologian Eugene Peterson has said that “to eyes that see, every bush is a burning bush.”

That’s how I want to live: a witness to the glory of God all around us. Even — especially — on the school-pickup walk, on plain old streets and sidewalks, in the daily moments of life.

PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty and vibrancy of the world You created. Please give me eyes to see what’s beautiful all around me and a heart that bends toward delight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

OUR FAVORITE THINGS

Shauna Niequist’s latest book, I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet, is a journey of unlearning what is no longer helpful; embracing curiosity; and accepting the unknowns of midlife, heartbreak and chronic pain. In this five-session video study, follow Shauna on her journey to understand grief, to reshape her faith, to practice courage when all she wanted to do was hide. This video study is about learning how to live in a new city, learning how to get back up, and learning how to trust God’s goodness in a deeper way.

This bundle has everything you need for a Bible study: the study guide itself — with discussion and reflection questions, activities, video notes and a leader’s guide — and an individual access code to stream all five video sessions online (DVD not required). Buy your study guide and streaming video bundle today!

ENGAGE

Follow Shauna Niequist on Instagram @sniequist or connect with her on her website.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet (study guide and streaming video) by Shauna Niequist. To celebrate this book, Shauna’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Tuesday, January 17, 2023.}

FOR DEEPER STUDY

Psalm 121:5-8, “The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (NIV)

When was the last time you felt a sense of God’s presence? What could you do today to remind yourself of the beauty of the world God created?

© 2023 by Shauna Niequist. All rights reserved.

Chibuzor Nwaobasi

A lover of God. Passionate about evangelism. A Web designer and a digital marketer. I love spreading God's Word.

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