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The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, January 31, 2023, was written by Connie Paulson of Delaware.

18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Matthew 4:18-22 NRSV


I live near the ocean, and I love to walk on the beach. Experiencing the changing seasons and feeling the sand go from frozen and snowy to scorching hot causes me to reflect on the seasons of life. When my granddaughter Kacey visits on summer weekends, we often go to the beach. We load our items into a beach cart and eagerly begin our journey. Pulling the cart downhill to the water is no problem for Kacey. But on the way back, the cart feels heavier, and the sun and sand seem hotter. She struggles to walk in the shifting sand and pull the cart uphill. I advise her to step in the existing footprints in the sand because someone has previously packed that sand and created a foundation for her to follow.

Just as Jesus called his disciples as he walked along the beach, he also calls us to follow in his footsteps. Jesus guides us through challenges and situations because he has already been there. He knows what we’re experiencing and wants to lighten our burden. Even when we don’t know exactly where we’re going or how we’ll get there, we can trust that Jesus knows and will love us every step of the way.



We all face challenges at some point in our lives. How we navigate and respond to the challenges of our lives is a key indicator of our maturity and integrity. As people of faith, we recognize we do not face challenges alone. Indeed, we have a comforter, counselor and cheerleader that helps us peer past the problems in our path to see the potential blessings that await. When we attune our hearts and minds to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves walking in the footsteps of the one who has cleared our path so that we may move forward with confidence and peace.

-Pastor Anthony


- Connie Paulson


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