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The Upper Room Devotion for Monday, February 12, 2024, was written by John D. Bown of Minnesota.



1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Psalm 23:1-6 NRSV


Author's Thoughts

Many years ago, I was asked to go on a mission trip abroad. I declined because of numerous conflicts - family activities, work demands, and other commitments. I thought the next trip would fit my schedule better. But after a few more years and opportunities, I still had not participated. Then in 2005, I was invited to go on a mission trip to Guatemala. Even though many of the same conflicts existed, I felt God nudging me to go. As I prayed about the opportunity, I realized that my conflicts were really excuses to avoid stepping out of my comfort zone.

I did go on that trip, followed by seven more trips over the next eight years. As we offered our help to those we encountered, I also gained a better perspective on the meaning of "abundant life." The people we met possessed joy, peace, and love for God - the abundant life - that made a lasting impression on me. That first trip was a small investment of time, but a big step in my walk of faith because I was willing to leave the familiar and move forward in faith trusting God.


Pastor Anthony's Thoughts


As we stand at the threshold of the 2024 Lenten Season, I encourage you to reread John's reflection and ask yourself: How is God asking me to step outside my comfort zone to move to a deeper level of faith and trust?


Author's Prayer

God of second chances, open our hearts so that we will be ready to respond to your call. Help us to be obedient to you, to descern your will for our lives, and to go forward in faith. Amen.


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