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The Upper Room Devotion for Friday, December 1, 2023, was written by Deb Vellines of Missouri.



31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Mark 8:31-33 NRSV


Author's Thoughts

My mother adjusted to her blindness so well that her sight-loss support group asked her to visit new members who needed help. Eventually, we wrote a pamphlet with information for those with low vision. The trouble was that no one wanted to publish it. An editor suggested that I write a blog instead because the information changes so fast. No. I can't do that, I thought. Forget it. How could those with low vision even find a blog? I repeated those negative words and believed them for two years. I did not have the courage to step out of my comfort zone.

When I read the words in 1 Peter, I wondered, is this the way the devil works? Is the devil blocking me from serving God and helping those with vision problems? Negative thoughts can determine our actions or, in my case, inaction. Instead of dwelling on negative thoughts, we can repeat God's words of affirmation and love: "Peace be still." "I am with you." "I will help you." "Come unto me." Six years and 64 blogs later, I'm glad I listened to these positive words. God's promises can strenthen our faith and give us courage to act.


Pastor Anthony's Thoughts


It's not easy to step outside our comfort zones. Routines and familiar rituals offers us comfort amidst a rapidly changing world. Yet, in our desire to maintain the status quo, we often miss out on opportunities to allow God to broaden our impact. Yes, stepping outside our familiar routines will require us to learn new skills, but in so doing, we also expose ourselves to more enriching experiences. Deb's reflection reminds us to hold to God's words of affirmation and encouragement to step outside our comfort zones. What is God asking you to do, that you have hestitated to do, because it requires you to step outside your comfort zone?


Author's Prayer

Guiding Father, help us to be attentive to your voice. Give us courage to act when we hear your call. Amen.

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