My husband and I enjoy reading The Upper Room daily devotional almost every morning. It is amazing to read stories of people—of different ages and from different places—who all experience God's presence for them in times of joy, sadness, or challenge. It is so encouraging to know that we all worship the same God who loves all people.
While continuing to read The Upper Room, a few years ago I also started doing a personal study of the Gospels. Using only my Bible, I started taking a few minutes each day to study passages in the Gospels and to write down my thoughts in a journal. My goal was to continue this study of the Gospels every day. However, I have found that circumstances sometimes prevent me from being able to do this in-depth study each day. Being in full-time ministry, my husband and I are sometimes on the road for a few days, and other times we travel overseas for a few weeks. In those times, my daily routine becomes inconsistent. Sometimes after a trip, I just want to rest. God knows my struggle with being consistent in my walk. Sometimes the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I thank God for understanding my struggles, and for offering mercy and grace.
Whenever I can, I try to have my quiet time with the Lord—praying and being in God's word. When I read or study the Bible, I try to look for what God is saying to me at that particular time. Recently in my study of the Gospels, I felt led to look at the character of God. Through the stories of the life of Jesus in the Gospels, I am learning about the character of God—one of love, mercy, grace, and goodness. God is also gracious, compassionate, tender-hearted, patient, loving, holy, righteous, sovereign, and powerful.
Through the study of the word, as I get to know more about God's character and heart for people, I have noticed that my faith is growing and my attitudes are being changed. The word of God has also given me hope and peace amid the chaos and turmoil in the world. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (NRSV).
The word of God has changed my life, and it is still changing my heart, attitudes, and character. That is how powerful it is. And while reading the testimonies and stories in The Upper Room, I get to know how God and the word has changed countless others from all walks of life, in different nations, cultures, and languages. Truly we all have the same God—the God of all.
"I lead a small group of about 12 women, and we were looking for a great Advent study. I had used While We Wait years ago and remembered how beautifully written it was.
I love focusing on the women in the genealogy in Matthew and our church’s Advent sermon series include the songs of Elizabeth, Mary, and Zechariah. So this study seemed just perfect for our 2019 Advent study.
Everyone is enjoying it so much and loving the insights that Mary Lou Redding offers for each character in her study. While We Wait has been a great study for us!"