4 short devotionals, all for free, to get you through your week

April 3, 2018 | Easter, Encouragement, Tell His Story | 18 comments

Today, I am posting four short, themed devotionals that are just right for the days following Resurrection Day. Feel free to read all at once, or pick the one that speaks to your heart, or return here daily over the next few days to read each one. May you find the hope of Jesus in these words today. (Feel free to share with friends on social media, or print & share!)

1.
For those dealing with disappointment or fear

Easter has come, but do you secretly feel like it’s a little dark around you? Are you still carrying the weight of disappointment and the burden of fear?

I’ve been there, too, friend.

In those dark moments, I try to remember this little gem in the Easter story.

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb” (John 20:1). The stone had been rolled away, and Jesus was gone. A couple of disciples investigated, and then, … they went home.

But Mary stayed.

That’s when the light broke into the darkness.

That light was Jesus. Alive. Risen! Just as He said.

Sometimes, it will look like the darkness is winning all around us. But in the ultimate plot twist, Easter happened. Jesus rose, bringing light to all of our darkness. And because Mary was brave enough to stand there in the darkness, Mary became (as my pastor says) “the world’s first evangelist.”

When life feels dark, let’s wait like Mary Magdalene at the tomb. Let’s not be afraid of the dark. Because the darkness has not overcome the light.

That light is Jesus, who illuminates the path before us and shows us how to live.

Arise, shine, our light has come.

Let’s get out there, friend … and tell our world.

2.
For those questioning their purpose

Now what?

Those were the two words racing through my head last night, after Easter Sunday, my favorite day of the year.

I love Easter. I love the celebration, the music, the hands raised, the empty tomb, the story. But the story didn’t end at the tomb. Jesus was just getting started.

Now what?

Now what are we gonna do with the greatest story to hit the world? Now what are we gonna do about the minutes, hours, days, and years that God has given to us? Now what we are gonna do about that “nudge” to step out of our comfort zone? Now what we are gonna do about our excuses, our grudges, our bitterness, our pain? Now what are gonna do about working toward true unity in the church? Now what are we gonna do about injustice in the world?

Now what?

We are not a powerless people. We have more power than we can even fathom.

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you” (Romans 8:11).

Remember how Paul encountered believers in Ephesus? Yeah, so they believed Jesus rose from the dead. But when pressed by Paul about the Holy Spirit, they were all like: “We’ve never even heard of that—the Holy Spirit? God within us?” (See Acts 19).

GOD. WITHIN. US. Whoa.

Check it out: God was working so powerfully that people would touch Paul’s handkerchiefs and be healed! People started bringing their sick people along the roadsides, on the chance that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by, so they would be healed!

It’s our turn. We are the generation of people called to do more than stand in awe at the empty tomb. We are called to move, to run, to preach, to serve, to dance, to minister, to pray, to take risks, to believe this truth: The SAME POWER that raised Jesus from the DEAD lives in us.

So … now what?

3.
For those who are living in the past

I visited a place recently from my past. When I walked through the door, memories flooded my mind. I immediately felt a sense of shame and condemnation, even though the faded memories were from half a lifetime ago!

Shame wrapped itself around me, like an icy blanket. And for a moment, I forgot that I am not who I was. I am not my past. I am not my mistakes. I am not my sin.

The enemy would have loved to hold me hostage to my past. But God doesn’t consult with the enemy about my past when He is mapping out my future.

That day, I felt God whisper into my heart, “Girl. I already rescued you from that pit. There’s no good reason to go back.” His words were warm enough to melt the icy blanket that had wrapped itself around me.

Where are you today?

Are you in a pit? Are you in need of a rescue? Maybe your pit is shaped like mine — in the form of your past mistakes. Or maybe you’ve fallen into a pit on account of what happened to you. Maybe you are in that pit right now, overwhelmed by the circumstances of your life.

No matter the shape of your pit, you probably know that it’s impossible to climb out on your own. Most of us reach a point in our lives where we’ve fallen into a pit so deep that we think we’re beyond rescue. No matter how deep we have fallen, God’s love is deeper still.

God’s arm is “not too short to save” you from wherever you are right now (Isaiah 59:1).

No matter how deep your shame, He is deeper still.
No matter how deep your grief, He is deeper still.
No matter how deep your debt, He is deeper still.
No matter how deep your loneliness, He is deeper still.
No matter how deep your trouble, He is deeper still.
No matter how deep your personal hell, He is deeper still. 

4.
For those who are suffering

One of the most comforting truths of our faith is this: that God does not abandon us in our suffering.

And one of the biggest misconceptions is this: That God caused the suffering and brought evil upon you.

Yes, we all suffer. Some of the most faithful Christians I know have endured great pain and suffering. And yes, I know that because God is Redeemer, He can bring great good out of great suffering. But the God I know did not give you cancer, harm your kid, tempt the gunman, or send the hurricane to your city. (If that were the case, imagine how this would feel: the God you really needed to comfort you during your time of trial … has been identified as the one who brought this hell upon you.)

If you are in emotional or physical pain today, know that God is not the source of your suffering. He is the source of your comfort.

I recently read a stunningly beautiful new book about grief written by my friend Adriel Booker. It hasn’t been released yet, but you might want to preorder a copy, especially if you’ve experienced miscarriage. (Details below).

Adriel knows suffering. She experienced three consecutive miscarriages. From that place of brokenness and pain, she writes words that whisper hope and healing:

“God did not lead you into this present suffering, but he has promised he’ll stay with you there. He’s promised to mend every broken thing. This is the hope of resurrection.”

Thank You, Jesus.

Book Recommendation

Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss by Adriel Booker

To order Adriel’s book, click here.

To take advantage of her preorder incentives, click here. 

post contains affilate link

#TellHisStory

Each week, I host an encouraging community of bloggers who are telling their stories around the web and across the world. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT) on my blog. If you are a blogger who loves to encourage others with stories of faith and hope, you are welcome to link up with us.

Each week, I feature one of the writers in our #TellHisStory community. Our featured writer this week is Tammy Mashburn. I love the title of Tammy’s post… Light in The Darkness: Hope In Your Weary Days of Heavy. If that’s you, I encourage you to click over and read her words. Find Tammy here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. That badge can be found here. xo Jennifer


18 Comments

  1. Susan

    Great encouragement here, Jennifer. And, to see my dear friend Tammy as your featured writer makes my heart feel all fuzzy and warm!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks Susan. And yes … I love Tammy!

      Reply
  2. Michele Morin

    Thanks for words of hope and a heads up about a great resource to pass on to grieving mums.
    Blessings to you, Jennifer, as you persevere in this business of resurrection living!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      It’s a great read, Michele. I was able to read an advance copy and offer my endorsement.

      Reply
  3. Carol

    Jennifer—I’m sure you receive numerous communications thanking you for sharing your thoughts. These 4 devotionals are written especially for me.
    I’m humbled by the thought the infinite, omnipotent God of everything cares about me though I feel no personal worth, even having a suicide plan. Still trying to comprehend and fully embrace that thought.
    I read the 1st devotional and thought “this is for me”. Thinking it was coincidence I curiously scrolled to the 2nd, the 3rd and finally the last. Each one touched on specific issues with which I’ve been battling.
    I’m certain I will read each of them again and again—they are powerful! Thank you for allowing yourself to be an instrument used by God to convey a ray of hope through the smudged, darkened windows of my dungeon!

    Reply
    • Lynn Morrissey

      Carol, I just wanted to thank you for your beautiful transparency in sharing such raw, personal pain. That’s hardly an easy thing to do. I also just wanted you to know you are not alone. I was suicidally depressed, and the Lord mercifully, powerfully, miraculously delivered me. One thing that helped me tremendously was to pour out my soul in a journal. By reading His Word and journaling daily, God set me free from the deep depression that Satan used to threaten my very life. This is obviously not my blog 🙂 and I offer no medical advice (and counselors and pastors are so important), but I simply wanted you to know what helped me, personally, and to encourage you to know (to use Jennifer’s light example) that surely there is light at the end of your dark tunnel, and that Jesus goes before you to winnow your path and lead the way, behind you to protect you, alongside you to encourage and sustain you, and waits up ahead to give you hope that He will get you through!!

      Sending much love and praying for you today,
      Lynn

      Reply
  4. JeanneTakenaka

    Jennifer, these devotions are speaking to my heart. I’ve read the first two, and I’m coming back later to finish up. I so need the reminders that I don’t need to live in fear. Because the God who raises from the dead lives within me. He empowers me to share Him with the world around me—be it through spoken word, written word, or in some other way.

    And the second one, about purpose . . . Thanks for the reminder to not stop at being in awe of the empty tomb. Rather, we can move forward from there. Jesus is alive, and living in His followers. Amazing.

    Thanks for these thoughts!

    Reply
  5. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jennifer,
    What beautiful devotions!! I love the thought that no matter how deep our shame, fear, doubt, troubles, etc. go…..God goes deeper still. The everlasting arms are always underneath…Praise!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Reply
  6. Lynn Morrissey

    Well, Jennifer, really…. How could I stop with #1?! But I will come back in subsequent days to soak in the wisdom you’ve shared in all four devotionals. God broke a powerful fear stronghold (a lifetime one!) in me on a spiritual pilgrimage to Iona Scotland last year, but just today, I felt Satan’s fiery fear dart about something. I think your analogy of darkness connected with fear is spot-on, because we tend to fear the unknown and what we cannot see. Thank you for reminding me to wait through darkness, because the light is coming. I love all your devotionals, but the one about Jesus’ power to fulfill His purposes for my life is heaven-sent! I literally just read in an old journal this morning about how the Lord was speaking to me about realizing that because of *His* power in me, He would give me all I needed to do His bidding (when I have been feeling like I can’t)! Your devotional is a wonderful reminder. I’m also suffering a painful, broken relationship right now, and I also love your Romans 8:28 reminder. God showed me early on in this several-month-long pain the good He is already bringing out of it. We serve a powerful, compassionate, rescuing redeemer! As always, I’m indebted for your willingness to serve and the wise and powerful way in which your words minister!! Happy Easter, dearest Jennifer!
    Love
    Lynn

    Reply
  7. Theresa Boedeker

    Each of these devotionals kept me wanting to read more. Such truths. They really spoke to me after Easter. Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Anita

    Yep, I read all four, too :). I love how you point out that God doesn’t care about our past–he’s already taken care of it, no matter how dirty, wicked, evil, or…uninspired. What he cares about is our future and all we can be WITH him leading us.

    Reply
  9. Debbie Kitterman

    Thank you Jennifer for not 1 but 4 different encouraging devotional posts all in one place. I love that you did this and blessed so many of us right where we are at. Thanks for hosting and for encouraging. I have been absent in linking up for a while, life and writing/editing on book got a little overwhelming. It’s nice to be back and reading your words again. Blessings

    Reply
  10. Sherry Thecharmofhome

    He is within us and he never leaves us! It’s awesome! Thanks for hosting!

    Reply
  11. Diana Abe

    I love how you mentioned and reminded me once again that God doesn’t consult with anyone regarding our past while mapping our great future . Blessings

    Reply
  12. Maree Dee

    Absolutely beautiful! Thank you.

    Reply
  13. Tara Ulrich

    So beautiful! Thank You for these devotions! So much THIS: “We are the generation of people called to do more than stand in awe at the empty tomb. We are called to move, to run, to preach, to serve, to dance, to minister, to pray, to take risks, to believe this truth: The SAME POWER that raised Jesus from the DEAD lives in us.” Amen!!!

    Reply
  14. Lynne Cole

    Oh how I needed to read this. Every. Single. Point. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  15. Crystal

    Jennifer, I absolutely love the devotion about living in our past. It is so easy to go back there and camp out in shame and regret, but God is continually redeeming and using our past to build our future. Such encouragement here today!!

    Reply

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