Happy New Day 2022!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, friends!

I know it is not the first Monday of the month, however, I’m switching things up again. Since I am writing only one devotion each month, I felt it more fitting to post it on the first day of the month. So, whether you read this on the first day of the month, or the first Monday of the month, the last day of the month, or in another month altogether, Thank you for sharing this time with me!

God’s blessings to you and yours this Christmas and Epiphany Seasons!

In His love and mine,

Brenda Ryan

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:13-17

This past month, just prior to Christmas, good friends of ours announced that he has been diagnosed with aggressive advanced prostate cancer. They are in our group of fifty-somethings, with grown children and a gaggle of young grandchildren. They are active, successful, and full of life. And in a blink of an eye their life changed. Yes, their life as we see it has changed, yet, in Christ, they continue steadfast with their focus on the Lord and their family, as they face this journey head on. They have become beacons of His light to the rest of us.

Yes, in the same way, in a blink of an eye, the focus of all those who know and love them has changed. It has affected not just how we desire to support and love this family. But it makes us reflect on how we see our own lives, our mortality and the great gift that Jesus is in the midst of such situations. It increases our appreciation for the relationships of those we love: our parents, our children, our grandchildren, while diminishing the importance of our ‘stuff’, our activities, and our personal, and at times self-centred, endeavours.

All these emotions, thoughts, and opportunities to reflect were piled upon my recent desire to realign my own life’s focus, as was the theme for last month’s devotion. God seemed to be solidifying for me the importance of letting go of my own personal desires- a position I thought I wanted but would not have permitted me to enter this time of personal reflection and realignment. Through all this pain came an even greater blessing. I came to realize I was striving for my wants, not God’s, and I was choosing earthly treasures, while denying my heavenly treasures and God-given blessings.

Well, needless to say, December has been a month of letting go of my own schedule and saying ‘yes’ to the needs of my loved ones’ schedules in the form of special one-on-one time with each of my sons, babysitting my grandchildren or simply helping out my daughter with the little ones, taking time to take over meals to support neighbours in their loss, or singing christmas carols to and praying over our friend recently diagnosed with cancer. It’s meant learning to say ‘no’ to my own schedule and to say ‘yes’ to others in my life. It has also meant learning to let go of the need to have my days, weeks, months planned out, and is teaching me to live in the moment and to appreciate what today holds. I still have a lot to learn, but I am trying to let go of needing to control the reigns of my life, while letting God direct each day, and in so doing, I am experiencing greater appreciation for the blessings in my life- my precious family and friends, my church and my service to them, my work and my colleauges, my home and my community. I am experiencing greater gratitude for the simple things, the unplanned things, the God-planned things, and in so doing, experiencing greater peace.

As a result, I have come to realize that I have been denying myself the opportunity to be totally thankful for today however it unfolds. So as I enter 2022, I pray that the Holy Spirit help me to remain focussed on the reality that the only assurance I have for each day is my dependence on the grace of God through Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, and His promise to love, protect, and guide me through each day. I pray that he guides me to accomplish his will for my life as I keep seeking him, until the day He calls me home. May this be your prayer and realization for 2022 as well.

Here is a prayer I start each day with. May you find it beneficial as well:
Dear Lord, on this day when the work of my calling begins anew, I pray that you create its beginning, direct its continuance, and bless its end. That my doings may be preserved from sin, my life sanctified, and my work this day be well pleasing to you. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. AMEN! Thanks be to God! (Now go joyfully to your work.) (Taken from LCMS Morning Prayer)

Realigned Focus

Good day friends!

As you will learn from today’s devotion, I have been reflecting on all those things in my life which I give my time and attention, or lack of. One such activity is my CoffeeTime with you. I love our time together, and wish to continue. But, starting now, I will be posting only once a month. It is my intention that this change will provide me with the much needed time to attend more attentively to my growing family, my church family, and other writing and speaking opportunities to extend Christian encouragement. I truly hope you will continue to join me for CoffeeTime with Brenda Ryan on the first Monday of each month.

If you are looking for more regular daily/weekly devotions, please check out Lutheran Hour Ministries’ free daily devotions at https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?

Finally, please know that I am only a comment or email away if there is ever anything you wish to share.

God’s blessings to you this Advent and Christmas Season!

In His love and mine,

Brenda Ryan

Photo by Steve Hruza on Unsplash

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. Isaiah 9:6

Have you ever been faced with the pain of having something you’ve put your hope in, worked towards, and dreamed of for a long time be squashed and stepped on, never to become a reality. It literally saps the energy and excitement out of you. You feel drained. You feel betrayed. You feel like an idiot.

Well, I have recently endured such internal turmoil and grief – emotional, physical, and psychological. I was informed that I was not the successful candidate for a position that I have been working towards for well over seven years. Despite my acceptance and understanding of the outcome, I still experienced the grievous feelings and emotions that the death of such a longing would have on anyone. I was not immune to any of it.

However, in the midst of working through these raging and swirling emotions, I was continually brought back to the reality that no matter what, God was in charge, and he was working through it all. Besides myself, I knew that an army of others were praying for God’s guidance through the whole process: for the management team interviewing, for peace and clarity for me while being interviewed, for all interviewees and God’s guidance to provide for all of us no matter the outcome, and that the best person for the position be hired for the good of the organization. Yes, I knew God was true to answering each and every one of those prayers. So it kept me returning to him on my knees praying, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Lord, I trust you. Help my distrust.” 

So, this most holy season of Advent has become a time of deep personal reflection. A time to ponder what truly is important. To refocus my priorities to align better with God’s will for my life. To be content with what I know he has given me: my family, my friends, my home, my current work, my church- and to focus my attention on those things that are worthwhile. And right now, those things that can be anticipated with sure and certain hope – the love of God in the form of a little baby. 

Yes, no matter what this world may hold for us, that little baby Jesus will come to us in the midst of the turmoil, the pain, and the grief. He doesn’t shy away from it. He doesn’t ignore our pain or try to avoid us because of the discomfort of our situations. Oh no, he comes in the thick of it all. He comes to be born in order to walk with us through the pain, to heal our sick hearts, to calm our racing minds, and to cleanse us from all those known and unknown sins and desires that keep us living contrary to his will.

So this December, no matter what you are living through- anxiety, grief, pain, or loss of any kind- focus your thoughts and attention on the Christ child and find your assurance, comfort, peace and joy in him. For he himself says to each of us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (John 14:27, 16:33b)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for coming as a little baby to bring me peace. Thank you for being my Lord and Saviour. Forgive me, cleanse me, and help me to walk according to your will for my life. In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

Go: Happy Thanksliving!

Good day friends! November is Thanksgiving month. Ready, Set, Go! Go! Last we were to Go and give thanks by telling our stories to others, sharing our salvation with others. This week we will GO even further.  

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Even more effective than telling people things, is showing them. There’s an old saying that goes something like, People don’t care what you know, until they know you care. In other words, people won’t necessarily take to heart what you have to say, until you have shown them that you truly care for them. Actions speak louder than words.

So, although we could shout from the rooftop all that Jesus has done for us, and how he continues to show his presence in our life, it may still come upon deaf ears. However, how we live can display our never ending gratitude to our Heavenly Father, and people will remember your actions. 

The Holy Spirit changes us from living for ourselves, to living a life in gratitude to God by gratifying others. We have the privilege to turn our thanksgiving into thanksliving. So let us not quench the Holy Spirit but by Him live a life of praise and thanksgiving. Happy Thanksliving!

Go: Give Thanks! Tell What the Lord Has Done

Good day friends! November is Thanksgiving month. Ready, Set, Go! Go! Over the past two weeks we readied and set our hearts and minds on giving thanks for the daily blessings in our lives and the blessing of being reunited with our Heavenly Father through all that Jesus accomplished on our behalf. As we continue to ponder and give thanks throughout this week, let us go and tell others of all the wonderful things he has done for us and for everyone!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Psalm 107

As God’s redeemed children, we know, through faith, that our heavenly home is waiting for us because of Jesus. Because of God’s love for us – you and me- we can rejoice in our salvation and give thanks to God, no matter what our day holds. But his love and grace doesn’t stop at the cross. Although he conquered our most serious enemies  through his death and resurrection, he continues to care for us, bless us, and answer our prayers. 

Over the past few weeks, You have consciously made note of the ways he blesses you throughout each and every day. You may have stories of how God answered your prayers. God is active in your life. God is present in your life. So share your stories with others. Let others join in rejoicing and giving thanks. Your stories may open their eyes to seeing God working in their lives too. And above all, share with others the peace and joy as a forgiven sinner, redeemed by Jesus’ blood, so that they too can rejoice in Christ’s redeeming love for themselves.

God’s continued blessings be yours this week, my friend! Brenda

Get Set to Give Thanks Now and For Eternity

Good day friends! November is Thanksgiving month. Ready, Set, Go! Last week we pondered God’s blessings in our life and took time to give Him thanks and praise each day for them. Let us continue to ponder this week as well. Also, let us set our hearts on the one from whom we’ve received the greatest blessing and deserves our unending thanks. 

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.The Lord has done it this very day;  let us rejoice today and be glad. Psalm 118: 19-24

“Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5

Everything this world has will pass away. We came into this world with nothing and we will leave everything of this world behind. But this world is not the be all and end all. Thanks be to God for his love for us – you and me – that brought us back into his presence, now and for eternity.

Our sin separates us from Him and there is nothing we can do about it. On our own, we are destined to Hell – our eternal separation from God Almighty. But praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. (Ephesians 1:3-8)

In Christ all of humankind’s sin has been redeemed. God has done it because of his love for us – for you and me. In faith and gratitude, give all glory, praise and thanksgiving to our most Gracious God. Thank you Lord for Jesus! God’s continued blessings be yours this week, my friend! Brenda

Get Ready to Give Thanks

Good day friends! November is Thanksgiving month. Ready, Set, Go! This week, let us ready our hearts and minds to see God’s blessings in our lives and give our gracious God proper thanks.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11

Together, let us ready our hearts and minds to see God’s creation and blessings in our lives, and give Him proper thanks.

Look around at our own life and at all of creation. Ponder what you are thankful for. Consider what strikes awe in your heart.

Each day this week, think of  five (5) things to give thanks for. Then take time to thank your Heavenly Father for each of them. Begin each prayer with the above verse. By the end of the week you should have a list of at least 35 things you are thankful for. If you wish, attach a picture or word of one or many of your blessings to the comment field of the devotion.

May God open your heart and mind this week to see and acknowledge just how much he has blessed you, and how worthy he is of your honour, praise and thanksgiving in all things.

God’s continued blessings be yours this week, my friend! Brenda

Thanksgiving

David’s Prayer

David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, 

“Praise be to you, Lord, . . . from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to. Now, [my] God, [I] give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”  1 Chronicles 29:10-14

Canadians recently celebrated their national day of Thanksgiving, and Americans will be preparing for theirs in a few short weeks. Therefore, it only seems fitting that November be our month of Thanksgiving. 

How did you, or how are you, or how do you celebrate Thanksgiving Day? 

Of course, it goes without saying that there will be a feast of goodies, especially recently harvested foods. The table will be filled with colours and textures and all sorts of fabulous things. Then there is family and friends. Lots of family and friends laughing, playing, and talking. Times are spent reminiscing, and sharing, and walking through the paths of colourful fallen leaves under a canopy of reds and golds, (at least in the northern regions).

Does this sound at all like your Thanksgiving Day?

Well what about those who don’t have food in abundance or those with no family or friends to share in the honoured day? Is their Thanksgiving a dud? Are they exempt from such joyous celebrations?

Well, if our observance of Thanksgiving Day is merely a focus on the food and people we can bring together, then perhaps for those who cannot gather in such a setting, it may seem a dreary day. However, if we stop and consider who we are to be thanking, and spending time with -our Most Gracious and Awesome God and Saviour- then it doesn’t matter what else fills our day. He is the One with whom we need to spend our time, to whom we need to lift our praises to and sing our hearts out in grateful praises and thanksgiving. Especially on Thanksgiving day, first and foremost, we need to stop and consider all His blessings, starting first with His blessing of redemption. Thanks be to God for his love shown to us through his Son, our Saviour, Jesus, who won the victory over sin and death. So even those who are at the end of their earthly path, they to can proclaim with assurance and thanksgiving God’s glorious majesty and give him honour and praise.

No in the grand scheme of things, it’s not the stuff and the people that is to be our focus of thanksgiving, but God our Lord, the giver of all good things, and we can put our family and all our good stuff in their proper place.

Ultimately, the people with nothing except the Lord on their mind to whom they give their thanksgiving and praise, have celebrated with a higher honour, than the richest person with their house filled with people and a table overflowing with tasty foods, but who did not acknowledge the Lord at all. Therefore, in plenty or in want, praise and honour to God is what makes our Thanksgiving  day, and every day, the most glorious of celebrations. So, in closing, please proclaim with me the words of David, as stated above.

Go Regret Free as You Trust in the Lord

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalms 62:1-2 

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,which cannot be shaken but endures forever. Psalms 125:11 

October is TRUST month. Ready, Set, Go!

Last week I shared the importance of setting our sights on Trusting Jesus, no matter what. This is our final week focusing our hearts on what it means to trust our Lord. So, let’s look at what it means to our lives when we fully Trust in Him.

 When we take all our concerns and requests to the Lord in humble repentance and submission, we know God will guide us according to his good and perfect will. It doesn’t mean everything will go the way we think it will. But no matter the outcome, we can rest assured that the outcome is the best possible outcome. 

It doesn’t then become something we need to question down the road. It remains the God given answer always, and whatever happens down the road, we can lift our lives up to the Lord as we are guided elsewhere. 

No, you may not understand the outcome at times. You may even question if God heard your prayer. But in all things, as you truly take them to the Lord, you can live a life built on the solid assurance that God is guiding you, as you follow his lead. You are exactly where he desires you to be. There is no question. There is no shaky ground. You are standing on the solid assurance of God’s loving guidance and you will not be shaken. In this confidence, you can go through each day and each decision regret free, standing strong and tall, on solid ground.

Set Your Eyes on Trusting Him

Good day friends!

October is TRUST month. Ready, Set, Go!

Last week I shared the importance of a regular prayer life with your Lord and Saviour as you readied yourself to Trust in Him for your needs and answer to prayer. This week we will look at the importance of SETTING our sights on Trusting Him, no matter what.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

As mentioned last week, God’s ways are the best ways for our lives and our loved ones. So, as you continue to grow in your personal prayer time with Him, take all your situations, your concerns, and your choices to the Lord and trust him to guide you. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

Then trust the outcome of the situation. It may not be what you had expected, but trust it to be what is best for your life and the lives of your loved ones, at that point in time. Trust God and his plan for you as you seek him in your life and he will remove the stumbling blocks that have been barriers for you. He will make your path straight. It may mean submitting to another outcome, but even in that, you can trust that it is the right outcome, and he will get you through it, as you continue to depend and trust in Him and his saving love through your Saviour, Jesus!. Then, be prepared to see miracles along the way.

Is there something you’re struggling with: a job, a health issue, a relationship? This week and following, seek the Lord in prayer and in his Word. Ask Him for his guidance for those specific concerns. Then listen and be alert as you live for him. Do not give into your fears, or the unknowns, but trust him for the best outcome, always.  As we live with our eyes focussed on him, seeking him, he will be faithful to answer our pleas, and we can proclaim with David: “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” Psalm 25:15

God be with you this week, my friend. Brenda

Ready Yourself to Trust Him

Good day friends! October is TRUST month. Ready, Set, Go!

This week we will be looking at what we can do to ready ourselves as we come to trust in our awesome God’s faithfulness to answer our requests. If you haven’t yet, read last week’s devotion A Voice You Can Trust which kicked off our month of focussing and preparing ourselves to TRUST in God’s faithfulness and love for each of us and all that is going on in our lives. Let’s begin…

Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalms 20:6-7

Our Heavenly Father desires to bless us, and his ways are the best ways for our lives and our loved ones. But God, with his blessings, is not meant to be viewed like a good luck charm. We don’t go to him just when we want something, trusting that we are going to get exactly what we ask. 

No, we go to him because we know that he loves us. Think about it. He willingly died for us, and there is nothing we could ask that would cost him as much. We go to him like a child to a parent, in the good and the not so good times; when we need help but also when we want to rejoice. 

Infact, in order to begin being assured without a doubt that God is for you and that he is trustworthy, you need to begin a habit of calling on him. Taking everything to God in prayer, and then watch, listen, and experience as he answers you. He is faithful. Therefore, to begin this monthly journey of trusting God with your life and your situations, commit to spending time in prayer each day this week, if you do not already do so. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

God be with you this week, my friend! Brenda

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