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The Upper Room Devotion for Thursday, February 29, 2024, was written by Brenda Brooks of Virginia.



8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

Hebrews 11:8-12 NRSV


Author's Thoughts

In late December, while I was walking our dog, I noticed the trees had lost their leaves and looked dead. I felt like those trees because I could see no evidence in my life of answered prayers. Later on, at the end of March, I observed the trees again. This time I noticed tiny buds poking out at the tips of the limbs. By the end of May the trees were covered with green leaves, ready to shade us from the summer sun.

When we don't see evidence of God at work in our lives, we may begin to doubt God and to think nothing will ever change. In Genesis, God tells Abraham at least four times that he would give him and Sarah a son. Years go by, but the child hasn't come. The last time God promises Abraham and Sarah a son, Sarah laughs because of the impossibility of the idea, especially at their ages. Despite their lack of faith, God reassures them: "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Gen. 18:14). Sure enough, at God's appointed time Sarah gave birth to Isaac, and they got to witness God's running an impossibility into a reality. Those barren trees reassured me that God can bring renewal to what may seem dead. If God will take care of the trees, surely God will take care of our concerns as well.


Pastor Anthony's Thoughts


Brenda's reflection reminds us how God is at work in our lives, even when we don't perceive it. The internal work of transformation, healing and deliverance takes time before visible changes can be noticed. As United Methodists, we recognize and celebrate the inward work God performs ahead of the outward signs. Prayer, personal devotional time, reflective writing, therapy, and meditation are some of the components God uses to transform us from the inside out. It is the internal work that helps renew our minds as the Apostle Paul commends us. I invite you to commit to feeding the spirit of God within you, that it may begin to transform the way you look at and interact in the world.


Author's Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise that if we wait for you, we won't be disappointed. Amen.


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